Over the last few months, Congress has worked on health care reform. At this writing, it’s not clear what will happen with Health Care Reform. However, one possibility for change was to tax manufacturers of what some medical devices, including hearing aids. HLAA signed onto a letter dated January 18 and sent to House Speaker Pelosi, asking for an exemption of hearing aids from such a tax. Read the letter [View PDF]
Hearing Loss Association of America supports the Medicare Hearing Health Care Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR 3024). This legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries the option of going directly to a qualified audiologist for hearing and balance diagnostic tests. Currently, Medicare requires that beneficiaries with hearing loss or balance disorders obtain a physician referral before seeing an audiologist.
HLAA Executive Director Brenda Battat, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Andy Bopp (HIA),
and Alex Graham (executive director/CEO, AG Bell) at Hearing on the Hill, May 13, 2009.
Pennsylvania is joining the list of States that have worked hard to bring out people in support of a federal hearing aid tax credit. On March 28 at 10 am, a brunch will be held in Ft. Washington, Pennsylvania to facilitate a discussion about the hearing aid tax credit with Representative Allyson Schwartz and her constituents.
HLAA is working with a coalition of national organizations supporting the re-introduction of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bill. Working together, we built a lot of momentum last year and look to continue to build on that this year.
WASHINGTON, DC, March 19, 2009 — Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) today reintroduced the bipartisan Hearing Aid Tax Credit (H.R. 1646) along with Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-MI) and a record number of original co-sponsors, including 8 members of the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill, with the addition of a $200,000/year income eligibility cap, is otherwise unchanged from legislation in the 110th Congress that attracted 112 co-sponsors by the end of the session.
From left to right: Catherine Murphy (AG Bell), Alex Graham (AG Bell), Andy Bopp (HIA),
Congressman Chris Van Hollen (8th Congressional District, Md), Micah Spangler (HIA),
Brenda Battat (HLAA), Lise Hamlin (HLAA)
Our hard work has paid off. Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has been pushing for hearing aid coverage in federal health plans. HLAA has learned that several of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) insurance plans have expanded their coverage to include coverage of hearing aids for adults. The Federal Government is the largest employer in the US. FEHB covers some 8 million federal employees, retirees and their dependants. That’s a lot of health insurance!