Private insurance would have to cover hearing devices under Capito bill

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently sponsored a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would require coverage of hearing devices and systems in certain private health insurance plans.

“Auditory implant devices and external sound processors can be life-changing for individuals who suffer from severe hearing loss,” Sen. Capito said on April 14. “Our senses are something we too often take for granted, and I will continue to work to establish better access to these critical hearing devices.”

Ally’s Act, S. 1135, which Sen. Capito introduced on March 30 with two original cosponsors, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), would require private insurance companies to provide coverage for osseointegrated hearing devices, including bone anchored hearing aids (BAHAs) and cochlear implants, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

The legislation is named after Colorado native Ally Tumblin, 13, who was born without a right ear or hearing canal and must use a BAHA, the summary says, noting that after being denied for her hearing device, Tumblin and her mother formed Ear Community, an organization to help advocate for insurance coverage of such devices.

The same-named H.R. 2439 was also introduced on March 30 by U.S. Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).