Nebraska bill to require child hearing aid coverage advances

Sonitus Medical / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 / MGN
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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require most health insurance plans to cover hearing aids for children and teenagers.

The measure has won first-round approval Wednesday through the first of three votes.

The proposal, by Bellevue Sen. Carol Blood, would require plans to cover expenses associated with hearing aids for Nebraska residents younger than 19.

Blood said the $1,500 to $3,000 cost of hearing aids is unaffordable for many families. Blood was deaf as a child and said hearing aids are a lifeline even though many insurance companies consider the insertion of hearing aids an elective procedure.

The bill includes some exemptions for small businesses and companies that can show the expense is greater than one percent of their annual premium dollars.

The vote was 39-0.