Title: 'Action Alert: Does Your State Require Insurance Coverage of Children’s Hearing Aids?'
Track: 9-Policy, Advocacy, and Legislative Issues
Audience: Primary Audience: Family of a child with hearing loss
Secondary Audience: Advocacy Group
Tertiary Audeince: Non-Profit Agency
Keyword(s): legislation, hearing aids, rules and regulations
Learning Objectives: • Identify the coverage requirements of States who have passed legislation • Formulate a plan for their state to pass hearing aid legislation based on specific strategies presented based on the actual experiences of the presenters


A majority of the states in the U.S. have been successful in passing universal newborn hearing screening legislation. As a result, the average age of identification of children with hearing loss has dropped from 2 ½ to 3 years of age to an average age of 1 month. Research has shown that children diagnosed with hearing loss and provided amplification within the first 6 months of life will develop the language foundation necessary for literacy and academic success by the time they start kindergarten. Unfortunately, too many of the infants and toddlers who have been diagnosed do not have access to hearing technology once they have been identified. Major insurance carriers do not provide hearing aid coverage, State early intervention programs do not have the financial resources to supply hearing aids, and the cost of hearing aids is prohibitive for many families. The average educational cost for a child with hearing loss who is not provided the necessary intervention, including hearing technology, is estimated to require special education services of $417,000 to $500,000 during the educational years, and an additional $500,000 in public support after leaving the educational setting. Thus, it is imperative that States pass legislation requiring insurance coverage of children’s hearing aids. Passing legislation though can be a very difficult process. The purpose of this presentation is to • Review the coverage requirements of States who have passed legislation; • Discuss what it “really” takes to pass a law; • Provide specific strategies based on actual experiences of the presenters. There is a lot of information available on “what” to do but we will share with you “how” to do it.
Presentation(s): Not Available
Handouts: Not Available
Joni Alberg - Oberkotter Foundation
     Credentials: Ph.D.
     Other Affiliations: Adjunct Faculty, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Speech and Hearing Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill
      Joni Alberg. Joni joined the Oberkotter Foundation as Family Support Programs Officer on October 1, 2014. Previously, she served as Executive Director of BEGINNINGS For Parents of Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. in NC from 1999 until October 2014. BEGINNINGS provides emotional support, information, and technical assistance to parents throughout North Carolina who have children from birth through age 21 with a hearing loss. Joni holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Special Education from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Alberg has more than 30 years professional experience as a special education teacher, administrator, researcher and business executive.
Tamala Bradham - Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
     Credentials: Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of South Carolina, 1998 CCC-A, ASHA since 1995
     Other Affiliations: NCHAM Consultant for Special Projects
      Tamala S. Bradham, Ph.D., CCC-A is a Assistant Professor at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center in Nashville, TN and the Associate Director of Quality, Protocols, and Risk Management. She is the Coordinator for the Steering Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Division 9: Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood. She is the former director of the MUSC Cochlear Implant Center in Charleston, S.C. and the past President of the South Carolina Academy of Audiology and the South Carolina Chapter of A.G. Bell. Dr. Bradham also served as the Vice-Chairman of the First Sound Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program in South Carolina. She received her doctorate in Speech and Hearing Sciences and her Master in Audiology at the University of South Carolina.