On February 25, the South Dakota legislature unanimously passed a bill that would have their four insurance providers cover audiological services for those under the age of 19. The topic was discussed after multiple families found they were unable to afford the uninsured costs of hearing healthcare procedures. However, solutions like hearing devices are not included in the bill and are still subject to each insurance company’s individual policy.
Governor Dennis Daugaard has expressed his support of the bill and is expected to sign it into law.
This new legislation can help many hearing healthcare leaders continue their fight for improved hearing healthcare insurance coverage on a national scale. The Hearing Industries Association (HIA) has lobbied congress to consider and pass legislation to enact a Hearing Aid Tax Credit that would provide a $500 tax credit per hearing aid available once every five years. In doing so, the HIA hopes to help the “countless Americans who need hearing instruments, but simply cannot afford them.”
Similar legislation to make hearing healthcare services more accessible to veterans was introduced by Congressman Sean Duffy of Wisconsin late last year. Currently, veterans only have access to the hearing services and hearing aids offered by their local Veterans Administration Hospital or Clinic. For some, that means a lengthy commute. Duffy’s solution is to allow veterans to receive the same hearing healthcare coverage at a local hearing healthcare provider’s office.
Read South Dakota’s audiology legislation in its entirety here.
Last updated: April 8, 2014