Insurance coverage

A resident of Normandy Park argues for a bill that would require insurance coverage for hearing aids

Normandy Park ER physician assistant Jill Bujnevicie is advocating for passage of a bill that would require hearing aid insurance coverage for all Washington residents, including children and adults.

Bujnevicie has worked tirelessly for the past three years after discovering that her now 7-year-old son suffered from hearing loss and needed hearing aids. However, there was no private insurance coverage.

“We finally have a health committee hearing on Wednesday (February 2, 2022) to move HB 1854 sponsored by Rep. Wicks Forward to provide hearing aid insurance coverage to everyone,” Bujnevicie said.

Bujnevicie asks people to click on the link below, then select the health care committee and the February 2 meeting at 8 a.m. and click in favor of by selecting “pro”:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi/Testifier/Add?chamber=House&mId=29695&aId=145285&caId=19199&tId=4

“As you know, untreated hearing loss and children incur significant costs to the state and leave children behind their peers,” she added. “Hearing loss in the elderly is also one of the leading causes of dementia. This is such an invisible medical condition that it has gone unnoticed for far too long and it is time to correct this mistake. Thank you for your help!”

Here is the link to provide written testimony on the bill:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi/Testifier/Add?chamber=House&mId=29695&aId=145285&caId=19199&tId=4

Here is the link to connect in “pro”:

https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi/Testifier/Add?chamber=House&mId=29695&aId=145285&caId=19199&tId=3

“It would be great to have people provide written testimonials. But signing as a pro is good too, ”she added.

Read/Download SB 1854 here.

TESTIMONY
Below is a transcript of Bujnevicie’s testimony before the committee:

“Madam Chair and Committee Members,

“I am Jill Bujnevicie, ER physician assistant from Normandy Park, WA and mom of 2 boys. My youngest, Hugo, here with me has hearing loss and needs hearing aids.

“Hugo was diagnosed with bilateral deafness at the age of 3 after some language delays. We discovered that private insurance does not cover hearing aids, nor does it apply to the deductible. It is simply ignored. As a medical care provider, it made no sense. I know children’s glasses are universally covered by all medical plans, why should it be any different for hearing aids when they are so important to a child’s development.

“Hugo went from the 19th percentile for speech to the 80th in 6 months after getting his hearing aids without needing any services other than hearing aids. It was like a light went on inside him and even at that day, when he doesn’t have his hearing aids on…it’s like the light has gone out.His hearing aids are 100% necessary for him to be successful.

“Fortunately, my family can afford his $5,000 hearing aids that he needs to replace about every 3 years. He needs new silicone molds made at least twice for an extra $250 a year to ensure a snug fit as his ears grow. He does not benefit from any of the discounts offered by my Régence insurance for hearing aids since the clinics they suggest you go to do not treat children. Children have unique needs and cannot go to just any clinic or costco. It is also 100% necessary for their teacher to use a microphone that connects to their hearing aids during class to cut out background noise and reduce listening fatigue. This is out of pocket and is an additional $4,000. Most parents of children with hearing aids do not have the resources to provide them to their children.

“I know of one child who only had to use one hearing aid because of the cost, another child had to use a hunting amplification device because he didn’t have access to a real device, a Another mother had to decide whether to pay her mortgage bill or get hearing aids for her child.Many children have outdated suboptimal hearing aids because their parents can’t afford to buy new ones.

“We now know that providing this type of cover has minimal financial implications for the state as well as for insurance companies and ultimately saves money.

“As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than cure. Children who do not receive early intervention for hearing loss cost the state up to $420,000 in special education costs and up to $1 million in lifetime costs.

“Hearing loss is an invisible medical condition that has costly and preventable consequences if not treated properly. It’s time we started recognizing our deaf and hard of hearing community and giving them a fair chance to succeed alongside their families. peers.

“Thank you for hearing this bill and thank you Rep Wicks for your sponsorship.”