By Brent Addleman | The Center Square
Expanded health care coverage for hearing aids will be coming to Vermont.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced it has approved expanding coverage in the state for one set of prescription hearing aids every three years, along with annual exams, beginning in 2024. The expanded coverage will affect individual and small group health plans.
“Expanding this coverage is a significant step forward,” Gov. Phil Scott said in a release. “Ensuring greater access to care is a priority for my administration.”
Combined with the Food and Drug Administration’s plan to create a new category for over-the-counter hearing aids, the program will give Vermont residents better access to more affordable hearing aids.
“Hearing loss has a profound impact on people living with it,” Kevin Gaffney, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, said in the release. “The new benchmark plan will allow consumers with hearing loss to have hearing aids should they choose to use this technology to support their communications with family, friends, and co-workers.”
In 2018, according to the release, a Vermont Department of Health report showed that 6% of state residents have trouble hearing and the governor’s advisory council on Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind has reported 70,000 state residents are hard of hearing.
A 2015 report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science showed a cost of $2,400 for a single hearing aid, which most residents are forced to pay out-of-pocket. The new rule change provides that the costs would be covered under state health insurance marketplace plans.