Current Missouri law allows Medicaid payments to cover the cost of hearing aids for eligible low-income children, pregnant women, and visually-impaired people. A Missouri House bill would expand coverage to include hearing aids and cochlear implants for all eligible low-income residents.

Rep. Cameron Parker, R-Campbell, is sponsoring the bill. House Bill 2626 could come up for House debate today.

“Many, many folks have them covered to age 18,” Parker told Missourinet. “Then at 18, there’s no coverage for that, even though it’s been medically necessary the whole time. They lose coverage for the repairs, for the implants, things of that nature. I just think this will help a lot of people all across the state. There’s a map that we have that it’s a population affected by hearing loss in our rural areas in the state of Missouri. The population affected by hearing loss is much larger than our urban areas. I’m not sure why.”

She said the proposed change could help to keep Missourians with hearing problems safe.

“If they had these types of implants or hearing aids, that would be able to allow them to be in the workforce. People that have hearing loss, if they have the hearing aids or the implants, they have less medical issues because they have less falls. It is a safety precaution also, said Parker.

As for the cost of the proposal?

The Department of Social Services (DSS), MO HealthNet Division (MHD) identified 224,154 adults who are currently enrolled in MHD that could be eligible for hearing aid services. MHD estimates that 7.1% (15,915) of those adults may use these services. The state says the average cost of hearing aid services is $210.73.

If you do the math, that’s anywhere from $3.35 million to $47.2 million.

“Many people have hearing problems. They are unable to get the help because they can’t afford it. The $210 – that is a substantial amount of money if you’re on a fixed income or in that situation,” she said.

During a hearing on the bill, no one spoke in opposition to the proposal.

To view House Bill 2626, click here.

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