Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Child Hearing Aid Coverage Facts

· Hearing loss is among the most prevalent sensory defects screened for at birth in America affecting 1.4 per 1000 babies each year.[1] According to 2017 EHDI-M data, approximately 54 infants born in Mississippi were documented as being diagnosed with permanent hearing loss. [2]
· While Medicaid covers the cost of hearing aids for children who qualify, many families who make slightly over the federal poverty level fall through the cracks of the system.
· Hearing aids can cost upwards of $6,000 per pair and typically must be replaced every 3-5 years. This is an expense of over $40K by the time a child reaches age 21. Only 16% of parents surveyed were able to secure some level of hearing aid coverage through private health insurance.[3]
· If a child required bilateral hearing aids every 3-5 years, and insurance provided coverage at the current MS Medicaid reimbursement rate through the age of 21, the estimated total cost to insurance would be approximately $16,000-$25,600 per child.
· Without access to clear sound, these children fall behind drastically in terms of literacy and language development, academics, and ultimately the ability to contribute as productive citizens. [4]
· Children who do not receive early intervention for hearing loss cost schools an additional $420K and are faced with overall lifetime costs of $1 million in special education, lost wages, and health complications.[5]
· However, with appropriate early intervention, children with hearing loss can be mainstreamed in regular elementary and secondary education classrooms offsetting the above costs.
· There is a documented correlation between untreated hearing loss and unemployment.[6]
· Untreated hearing loss results in a loss of household income of up to $30K per year, and this has a negative economic impact due to unrealized taxes.[7]
[1] CDC Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) 2009 Survey. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/research.html.
[3] AG Bell Volta Voices March/April 2002.
[4] Kochkin S, et al. Are 1 Million Dependents with Hearing Loss in America Being Left Behind? Hearing Review. September 2007: pp. 1-2, 4-6, 9-11.
[5] White, Karl R and Maxon, Antonia B. Universal screening for infant hearing impairment: simple, beneficial, and presently justified.
[6] Kochkin S, et al. The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss on Household Income May 2007: p2, 6, 11.
[7] Better Hearing Institute. Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit

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