Massachusetts Hearing Society

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Proposed BILL

AN ACT TO PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1: Chapter 118E of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 9C the following section:-

Section 9D. (a) Definitions. As used in the section: 

(i) “Hearing Aid” shall mean any wearable, non-disposable instrument or device designed to aid or compensate for impaired or diminished human hearing; and any part, attachments, or accessories including earmolds but excluding batteries. In the event that any part of this definition conflicts with the definition of a hearing aid in section 196 of chapter 112 of the General Laws, this definition will take precedent for the purposes of this section. 

(ii) “Related services” shall mean those services necessary to assess, select, and appropriately adjust or fit the hearing aid to ensure optimal performance.

(b) A health benefit plan shall provide full coverage, subject to all applicable co-payments, coinsurance, deductibles, and out-of-pocket limits, for the first $500 and 80 percent coverage of the next $1,500 in the cost of one hearing aid per hearing impaired ear, every 24 months for insured individuals, and coverage for all related services which shall be prescribed by an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist as defined in section 196 of chapter 12 of the General Laws, and dispensed by an audiologist or a hearing instrument specialist as defined in said section.

(d) A health benefit plan shall not be required to pay a claim filed by its insured for payment of the cost of a hearing aid under the coverage required by subsection (2) of this section if less than 2 years prior to the date of the claim its insured filed a claim for payment of cost of a hearing aid under the required coverage and the claim was paid by any health benefit plan.