Saturday, July 6, 2013

It is Time.

This new business item from the National Education Association Representative Assembly's New Business makes me very happy. Not only because it addresses an important and forgotten aspect of deaf and hard-of-hearing medical care, but because it helps the many students, friends, and coworkers I know who could improve their quality of learning and living if only they could have afforded the exorbitant cost of hearing aids.

Many insurance companies have for-purchase policies that provide coverage for eyeglasses and contacts, but have neglected adding coverage for hearing aids. This is an all too common problem for the millions of people --in our country alone-- who suffer from some form of hearing loss and who continue to suffer the effects of hearing loss because of poverty or other financial burden.

I am fortunate that the insurance plan my husband's company provides paid for 80% of my hearing aids. If I had been on the state insurance plan provided by my school district, the entire $6800 price tag would have come out of my own pocket -- a cost that would have placed a large financial burden on my family and me -- simply because I suffered a medical condition that made it necessary for me to have them in order to work and survive in a hearing world. It isn't a luxury item for me. It is a necessity, just as my eyeglasses are a necessity for my near-sightedness.

That insurance companies have chosen not to pay for hearing aids is a tragedy. I am proud to be a part of a collective body of individuals who believe it is important to correct this misaligned policy. It is time for change.

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