House Bill Seeks Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids
Editor: Here's an article from the October 19 edition of NVRC News
(Thanks Cheryl!) about a House bill that seeks Medicare coverage for
hearing aids. It sounds like it's probably not going to happen this
year. But maybe soon???
Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL), who serves on the House Ways and Means
Committee, recently introduced H.R. 2934 in the U.S. House of
Representatives. Called the Medicare Aural Rehabilitation and Hearing
Aid Coverage Act of 2001, it would provide Medicare coverage for aural
rehabilitation services by audiologists and hearing aids for seniors
with hearing loss.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has worked with Rep.
Foley to help shape the legislation to ensure that aural rehabilitation
and hearing aid-related services by audiologists were also included.
While Medicare involvement with hearing aids is controversial among
audiologists, recent survey data indicates that the majority of
audiologists are in favor of federal support for hearing aids for
Although the budget impact of Medicare coverage of hearing aids will
likely prevent the legislation from being passed by Congress in the near
term, ASHA believes coverage of aural rehabilitation services is a
Covered services under H.R. 2934 include: a comprehensive audiologic
assessment; fitting and adjustments to the hearing aids; instruction on
the use of the hearing aids; and aural rehabilitation including
counseling on hearing loss, speech reading and auditory training.
Currently, Medicare is specifically prohibited from paying for
hearing aids by federal law. H.R. 2934 would repeal this prohibition and
add hearing aids to the list of covered durable medical equipment. H.R.
2934 would provide new hearing aids every three years as needed by
Medicare beneficiaries. The legislation also would allow audiologists to
balance bill for devices beyond what Medicare would agree to pay. For
more information, contact Reed Franklin via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 800-498-2071, ext. 4473 or Jim Potter via email at email@example.com
or ext. 4125. (Thanks to Tom Frank and Arva Priola)