Bill S3937A-2013

Requires all insurance policies to provide a certain amount of coverage for hearing aids

Requires all health insurance policies to provide insurance coverage for the cost of hearing aids; provides that such coverage shall include coverage of at least $1,000 over a three year period; provides that children under the age of sixteen are allowed reimbursement for expenses related to the purchase of up to two hearing aids.

Details

Actions

  • Mar 26, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 3937A
  • Mar 26, 2014: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO INSURANCE
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • Feb 27, 2013: REFERRED TO INSURANCE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3937A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to providing coverage for hearing aids

PURPOSE:

To provide insurance coverage for hearing aids so that patients who need these devices may affordably update their hearing aids on a two or three year basis depending on the age of the patient.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

This bill would require health insurance companies in New York State to cover significant portions of the costs related to the acquisition of hearing aids. Such hearing aids would be purchased from registered New York State hearing aid dispensers and licensed audiologists.

Insured hearing impaired consumers, 16 years of age and older, would be able to receive a reimbursement of $1,000 every three years for the costs associated with the purchase of up to two hearing aids and other related expenses.

Hearing impaired children, 15 years of age and younger, would be able to have a reimbursement of $1,000 for services related to the purchase of up to two hearing aids every two years provided that their conditions have severely deteriorated and that their existing hearing aids no longer will be able to assist them.

EXISTING LAW:

None.

JUSTIFICATION:

Currently, many insurance companies in New York State do not provide coverage for the purchase of hearing aids. Middle class family members and senior citizens often cannot afford to pay the expenses related to obtaining these devices. New York will now be joining many other states(New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia...etc.) that have similar proposals before their respective legislatures.

There are an estimated 28 million Americans who have some form of hearing loss and only 20% take the essential steps needed to correct the situation. One of the major obstacles that prevent people with hearing loss from taking measures to improve their circumstances is the extremely high prices of hearing aids. Suggested retail costs of one hearing aid can range from $1,000 to $4,500.

This legislation would alleviate some of the financial burdens and remove some economic barriers on our working families and the elderly when attempting to purchase one of these necessary hearing enhancement devices.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2003-04 S4003/A1479- Referred to Insurance

2005-06 S3058/A4134- Referred to Insurance 2007-08 S171/A4731 -Referred to Insurance 2009-10 S529/A5243 -Referred to Insurance 2011-12 S3864/A3907- Referred to Insurance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect July 1, 2016 and shall apply to all polices issued, modified or renewed on and after such date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3937--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 27, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. O'BRIEN, DILAN, SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insur- ance -- recommitted to the Committee on Insurance in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to providing coverage for hearing aids THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraphs 27 and 28 of subsection (i) of section 3216 of the insurance law, paragraph 27 as added by chapter 536 of the laws of 2010 and paragraph 28 as added by chapter 589 of the laws of 2011, are renumbered paragraphs 30 and 31 and a new paragraph 32 is added to read as follows: (32) (A) EVERY HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED OR DELIVERED IN THIS STATE SHALL PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS PURCHASED FROM NEW YORK STATE HEARING AID DISPENSERS REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTY-SEVEN-A OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR AUDIOLOGISTS LICENSED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE OF THE EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: (I) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS. (II) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY TWO YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS. WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (1) THE INSURED CHILD'S HEARING HAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (2) THE EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE CHILD'S HEARING LOSS, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL HEARING AID EXPENSES.
(III) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH, THE INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SPEND MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ON HEARING AID EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT UP TO THE AMOUNT PROVIDED IN CLAUSE (I) OR (II) OF THIS SUBPARAGRAPH. (B)(I) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN ANY WEARABLE INSTRUMENT OR DEVICES DESIGNED FOR HEARING AND ANY PARTS, ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO- RIES THERETO. (II) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL- ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES. (C) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS. S 2. Section 3221 of the insurance law is amended by adding a new subsection (t) to read as follows: (T) (1) EVERY GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED OR DELIVERED IN THIS STATE SHALL PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS PURCHASED FROM NEW YORK STATE HEARING AID DISPENSERS REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTY-SEV- EN-A OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR AUDIOLOGISTS LICENSED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE OF THE EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: (A) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS. (B) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY TWO YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS. WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (I) THE INSURED CHILD'S HEARING HAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (II) THE EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE CHILD'S HEARING LOSS, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL HEARING AID EXPENSES. (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, THE INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SPEND MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ON HEARING AID EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT UP TO THE AMOUNT PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS PARAGRAPH. (2)(A) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN ANY WEARABLE INSTRUMENT OR DEVICES DESIGNED FOR HEARING AND ANY PARTS, ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO- RIES THERETO. (B) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL- ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES. (3) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS. S 3. Section 4303 of the insurance law is amended by adding a new subsection (oo) to read as follows: (OO) (1) EVERY CONTRACT ISSUED OR DELIVERED IN THIS STATE BY A HEALTH SERVICE CORPORATION OR HOSPITAL SERVICE CORPORATION SHALL PROVIDE COVER- AGE FOR HEARING AIDS PURCHASED FROM NEW YORK STATE HEARING AID DISPEN- SERS REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTY-SEVEN-A OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR AUDIOLOGISTS LICENSED UNDER ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE OF THE EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: (A) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS.
(B) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS EVERY TWO YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO TWO HEARING AIDS. WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (I) THE INSURED CHILD'S HEARING HAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (II) THE EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE CHILD'S HEARING LOSS, SUCH INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL HEARING AID EXPENSES. (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, THE INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO SPEND MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS ON HEARING AID EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT UP TO THE AMOUNT PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS PARAGRAPH. (2)(A) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN ANY WEARABLE INSTRUMENT OR DEVICES DESIGNED FOR HEARING AND ANY PARTS, ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO- RIES THERETO. (B) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL- ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES. (3) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS. S 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2016 and shall apply to all policies issued, modified or renewed on and after such date.

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