ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The state is adding another item to their list of conditions insurance companies must cover. The governor already signed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for Epipens for children and Lyme disease. This time, adults will be the group benefitting from the mandate.
Under a new law, insurance companies will have to cover the cost for hearing aids for people 50 and over, looking to not only improve their hearing, but their overall quality of life.
Experts says hearing difficulties are a common issue for people as they grow older.
“It’s considered the third majormality of man after arthritic diseases and heart diseases comes hearing loss. Age-related hearing loss is a significant problem,” said Don Caspary, Ph.D, professor of neuroscience at SIU School of Medicine.
It’s why lawmakers pushed for insurance companies to cover hearing aids for people 50 and over.
Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who pushed for the bill said, “Hearing aids are often a burdensome expense to seniors who are on a limited income to begin with. The goal of this legislation is to ensure this medically necessary equipment is financially accessible to Illinois residents.”
The law requires companies to cover up to $2,500 per hearing aid every two years. Outside of the expenses dealt to the aging population, research shows a correlation between hearing loss and depression.
“It’s fairly common, especially among women, the inability to communicate, to be comfortable communicating, causes them to withdraw and they stop interacting and that causes them to become depressed,” Caspary said. “The increased availability of affordable hearing aids is a major advance.”
Speaking with different audiologists, many said $2,500 would get people quality hearing aids. If they choose to get a more expensive device, they will have to pay the remaining costs.
The state has mandated hearing aid coverage before. Last year, former Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover hearing aid costs for children 18 and under every three years. The new law takes effect January 1, 2020.