The Florida Academy of Audiology recently announced the introduction of “Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids for Children” in the Senate (SB 890) and the Florida House (HB 1427). These bills would require private insurance policies to offer a hearing care benefit for children ages 0-21 years.
This is HUGE! Several states have already passed this bill and we are hoping that Florida will be next.
As an individual diagnosed with hearing loss at a young age, I know first-hand how this bill would change lives! Some families aren’t expecting the additional expenses that come with hearing loss and aren’t in a position to take that expense on. This results in opting out of hearing aids for their child or going into debt.
Opting out of hearing aids for a child can have dire effects on their development and ultimately, their life. Social interaction, educational attainment, and future success are all affected by untreated hearing loss in children. With 30% of children in Polk living in poverty and 1,000 children with hearing loss, it is critical that legislature like this one is passed.
In addition, when a child is diagnosed with a permanent hearing loss, there are tremendous adjustments that have to happen – not only for the child, but for their family, as well. My parents had to suddenly change how they communicated as a family, educate themselves, me, family, and friends, and plan for the additional expense of hearing aids.
This bill would help lift some of the stress from the sudden and increased financial commitment that parents would receive when their child is diagnosed with a hearing loss. Every child deserves access to hearing aids and the passing of this bill will help grant that access.
More information can be found at:
How can you help?
- Send a letter or call the office of your State Representative and State Senator to ask them to co-sponsor and support these bills. A simple phone call to the office or an email asking for support can go a long way.
- Tell families of children with hearing loss to also call their members of the State Legislature to support House Bill HB 1427 and in the Senate Bill SB 890.