Amend S. 915/H. 4995 to Improve Access to Insurance for Hearing Aids
Dear [Decision Maker],
Bills have been introduced in the South Carolina legislature, S. 915 and H. 4995, that would require insurance coverage for those needing hearing devices. Unfortunately, the bills inappropriately exclude hearing aid specialists from the list of covered providers who may document hearing loss and prescribe and fit the hearing aids. This will significantly limit access, forcing many families to travel long distances to access care and possibly compromise existing patient-provider relationships that involve hearing aid specialists.
Hearing aid specialists comprise half of all hearing aid providers, and are permitted to document hearing loss, recommend, and fit hearing aids and provide related services in South Carolina and all 50 states, and participate in insurance. With the number of audiologists decreasing steadily, hearing aid specialists must be able to fill the need, and this will be especially important in small towns and more rural communities where no audiologist is present.While the FDA requires a child must receive clearance by a physician before receiving hearing aids, no such limitation exists as it relates to adults. Presently, hearing aid specialists serve as a point of entry into the hearing healthcare system, and are serving the South Carolinians this bill is designed to help.
I urge you to modify Sections (C)-(F) of S. 915 and (B)(4) of H. 4995 by adding hearing aid specialists to the bills, so that South Carolina consumers can access insurance covered hearing care through their provider of choice, whether that is an audiologist or hearing aid specialist.Thank you for considering my views.
Sincerely,[Your Name] [Your Address] [City, State ZIP][Your Email]