[dbmat] Fwd: HB 2979

  • From: paul welch <pwelch@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: dbmat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 7 Apr 2015 14:50:43 -0500

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Edgenie Bellah <bellahe@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: April 7, 2015 at 12:51:52 PM CDT
To: Paul and Susie Welch <pwelch@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, Kathi Barksdale
Subject: Fwd: HB 2979

Another legislative issue that is important to DBMAT and Texas Chargers
families. Tis the season, huh?
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kellie J Berger <kellie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 11:23 AM
Subject: HB 2979

Hi everyone!

I wanted to send you a quick email to make sure you were aware of House Bill

Texas HB 2979 has been introduced to require private insurance to cover
hearing aids for children through age 18. It is backed by Texas Academy of
Audiology but this bill will need co-sponsors and a strong parent voice to
pass! Would you please share this with your families? We believe there will
be a hearing in mid April on this bill. We are hoping to have 3 or 4 parents
testify and have many many more show up in support and/or share written
testimony. If you know of anyone who would co-sponsor, or show up please
encourage them to do so! I will let you know as soon as I do when a
date for hearing is set.

Right now it is very basic coverage - TAA believes that this is the best way
to get it passed and then they/we can try to get it amended in future years.
My understanding is this will amount to approximately $1000/hearing aid
(unbundled) per ear every 3 years and this will be covered even if
deductibles have not been met. It says it will also cover related services
and supplies. (per the current benchmark plan - BCBS PPO)

I don't know what your plan offers - but mine currently does not cover
ANYTHING for hearing aids (beyond the diagnostics to say that there is
hearing loss) and my best ever coverage was $500/ear once every 5 years - the
rest of the cost did not apply toward my deductible or out of pocket max.
From the parents i have spoken with this is fairly typical. For families who
do not meet the Medicaid requirements but also don't have a large income or a
lot of savings, or have multiple hearing aid users in the family this
translates to many months of saving or begging from charitable
organizations to be able to get the hearing aids.

Some highlights from the bill:
applies to coverage under a group health
benefit plan described by Subsection (a) provided to a resident of
this state, regardless of whether the group policy or contract is
delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed within or outside this
COVERAGE REQUIRED. (a) A health benefit
plan must provide coverage for the cost of a medically necessary
hearing aid and related services and supplies for a covered
individual who is 18 years of age or younger.
(b) Coverage required under this section is limited to one
hearing aid in each ear every three years.
(c) Except as provided by Subsection (b), coverage required
under this section:
(1) may not be less favorable than coverage for
physical illness generally under the plan;
(2) must be subject to durational limits and
coinsurance factors no less favorable than coverage provided for
physical illness generally under the plan; and
(3) may not be subject to a deductible requirement or
dollar limit.

I know there are many other important bills that are impacting our children's
lives right now - we have some of them listed here:

Please let me know if there are more bills not on that page that i am unaware
of which would impact deaf and/or deafblind children in Texas! I will be
sure to share them with our Texas H&V families too.

Thank you for reading this!!!

Kellie J Berger
Texas Hands & Voices
Executive Director
281-773-0107 voice or text
800-921-8948 fax
“What works for your child is what makes the choice right!”



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Edgenie Bellah
Family Engagement, Texas Deafblind Project
512-206-9423; fax: 512-206-9320

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