senate Bill S2151

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Requires all insurance policies to provide a certain amount of coverage for hearing aids

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to insurance
Jan 14, 2013 referred to insurance

S2151 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Insurance Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยงยง3216, 3221 & 4303, Ins L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S529A

S2151 - Bill Texts

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Requires all health insurance policies to provide insurance coverage for the cost of hearing aids; provides that such coverage shall include coverage of at least $1,000 over a three year period; provides that children under the age of sixteen are allowed reimbursement for expenses related to the purchase of up to two hearing aids.

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BILL NUMBER:S2151

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to
providing coverage for hearing aids

PURPOSE: To provide insurance coverage fox hearing aids so that
patients who need these devices may affordably update their hearing
aids on a two or three year basis depending on the age of the patient.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This bill would require health insurance
companies in New York State to cover significant portions of the costs
related to the acquisition of hearing aids. Such hearing aids would be
purchased from registered New York State hearing aid dispensers and
licensed audiologists.

Insured hearing impaired consumers, 16 years of age and older, would
be able to receive a reimbursement of $1,000 every three years for the
costs associated with the purchase of up to two hearing aids and other
related expenses.

Hearing impaired children, 15 years of age and younger, would be able
to have a reimbursement of $1,000 for services related to the purchase
of up to two hearing aids every two years provided that their
conditions have severely deteriorated and that their existing hearing
aids no longer will be able to assist them.

EXISTING LAW: None.

JUSTIFICATION: Currently, many insurance companies in New York State
do not provide coverage for the purchase of hearing aids. Middle class
family members and senior citizens often cannot afford to pay the
expenses related to obtaining these devices. New York will now be
joining many other states (New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland,
Virginia, etc.) that have similar proposals before their respective
legislatures.

There are an estimated 28 million Americans who have some form of
hearing loss and only 20% take the essential steps needed to correct
the situation. One of the major obstacles that prevent people with
hearing loss from taking measures to improve their circumstances is
the extremely high prices of hearing aids. Suggested retail costs of
one hearing aid can range from $1,000 to $4,500.

This legislation would alleviate some of the financial burdens and
remove some economic barriers on our working families and the elderly
when attempting to purchase one of these necessary hearing enhancement
devices.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:; 2007-2008 - Insurance 2009-2010 - Insurance
2011-2012 - S. 3864-A/A 3907-A

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect July 1, 2015 and shall
apply to all polices issued, modified or renewed on and after such
date.


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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2151

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 14, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. VALESKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance

AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to providing coverage for
  hearing aids

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  Paragraphs 27 and 28 of subsection (i) of section 3216 of
the insurance law, paragraph 27 as added by chapter 536 of the  laws  of
2010  and  paragraph 28 as added by chapter 589 of the laws of 2011, are
renumbered paragraphs 30 and 31 a new paragraph 32 is added to  read  as
follows:
  (32)  (A)  EVERY  HEALTH  INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED OR DELIVERED IN THIS
STATE SHALL PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS PURCHASED  FROM  NEW  YORK
STATE  HEARING AID DISPENSERS REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTY-SEVEN-A OF
THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR  AUDIOLOGISTS  LICENSED  UNDER  ARTICLE  ONE
HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE OF THE EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:
  (I)  FOR  AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, SUCH
INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE  THOUSAND
DOLLARS  EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO
TWO HEARING AIDS.
  (II) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, SUCH
INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE  THOUSAND
DOLLARS  EVERY  TWO  YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO
TWO HEARING AIDS.  WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (1) THE INSURED  CHILD'S
HEARING  HAS  CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (2) THE
EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE  CHILD'S  HEARING  LOSS,
SUCH  INSURED  PERSON  SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL
HEARING AID EXPENSES.
  (III) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH, THE INSURED PERSON SHALL  BE
ENTITLED  TO  SPEND  MORE  THAN  ONE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  ON  HEARING AID

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD04816-01-3

S. 2151                             2

EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE  ALLOWED  REIMBURSEMENT  UP  TO  THE  AMOUNT
PROVIDED IN CLAUSE (I) OR (II) OF THIS SUBPARAGRAPH.
  (B)(I) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS PARAGRAPH "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN ANY
WEARABLE  INSTRUMENT  OR  DEVICES  DESIGNED  FOR  HEARING AND ANY PARTS,
ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO-
RIES THERETO.
  (II) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL-
ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES.
  (C) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH SHALL NOT BE  SUBJECT
TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS.
  S  2.  Section  3221  of  the insurance law is amended by adding a new
subsection (s) to read as follows:
  (S) (1) EVERY GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY  ISSUED  OR  DELIVERED  IN
THIS  STATE  SHALL  PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS PURCHASED FROM NEW
YORK STATE HEARING AID DISPENSERS REGISTERED UNDER  ARTICLE  THIRTY-SEV-
EN-A  OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW OR AUDIOLOGISTS LICENSED UNDER ARTICLE
ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-NINE OF THE EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:
  (A) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR  OLDER,  SUCH
INSURED  PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND
DOLLARS EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP  TO
TWO HEARING AIDS.
  (B)  FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE, SUCH
INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE  THOUSAND
DOLLARS  EVERY  TWO  YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO
TWO HEARING AIDS.  WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (I) THE INSURED  CHILD'S
HEARING  HAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (II) THE
EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE  CHILD'S  HEARING  LOSS,
SUCH  INSURED  PERSON  SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL
HEARING AID EXPENSES.
  (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, THE INSURED PERSON  SHALL  BE
ENTITLED  TO  SPEND  MORE  THAN  ONE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  ON  HEARING AID
EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE  ALLOWED  REIMBURSEMENT  UP  TO  THE  AMOUNT
PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS PARAGRAPH.
  (2)(A)  FOR  THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN
ANY WEARABLE INSTRUMENT OR DEVICES DESIGNED FOR HEARING AND  ANY  PARTS,
ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO-
RIES THERETO.
  (B)  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL-
ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES.
  (3) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT
TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS.
  S 3. Subsections (gg) and (hh) of section 4303 of the  insurance  law,
subsection  (gg)  as  added  by  chapter  536  of  the  laws of 2010 and
subsection (hh) as added by chapter 589 of the laws of 2011, are  relet-
tered  subsections  (ii)  and (jj) and a new subsection (kk) is added to
read as follows:
  (KK) (1) EVERY CONTRACT ISSUED OR DELIVERED IN THIS STATE BY A  HEALTH
SERVICE CORPORATION OR HOSPITAL SERVICE CORPORATION SHALL PROVIDE COVER-
AGE  FOR  HEARING AIDS PURCHASED FROM NEW YORK STATE HEARING AID DISPEN-
SERS REGISTERED UNDER ARTICLE THIRTY-SEVEN-A OF THE GENERAL BUSINESS LAW
OR AUDIOLOGISTS LICENSED UNDER ARTICLE ONE  HUNDRED  FIFTY-NINE  OF  THE
EDUCATION LAW IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:
  (A)  FOR  AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER, SUCH
INSURED PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE  THOUSAND
DOLLARS  EVERY THREE YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE OF UP TO
TWO HEARING AIDS.

S. 2151                             3

  (B) FOR AN INSURED PERSON WHO IS LESS THAN SIXTEEN YEARS OF AGE,  SUCH
INSURED  PERSON SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF UP TO ONE THOUSAND
DOLLARS EVERY TWO YEARS FOR EXPENSES RELATED TO THE PURCHASE  OF  UP  TO
TWO  HEARING AIDS.  WHEN IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT (I) THE INSURED CHILD'S
HEARING  HAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY WITHIN A TWO YEAR PERIOD AND (II) THE
EXISTING HEARING AID WILL NO LONGER CORRECT THE  CHILD'S  HEARING  LOSS,
SUCH  INSURED  PERSON  SHALL BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL
HEARING AID EXPENSES.
  (C) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, THE INSURED PERSON  SHALL  BE
ENTITLED  TO  SPEND  MORE  THAN  ONE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  ON  HEARING AID
EXPENSES, BUT SHALL ONLY BE  ALLOWED  REIMBURSEMENT  UP  TO  THE  AMOUNT
PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS PARAGRAPH.
  (2)(A)  FOR  THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, "HEARING AID" SHALL MEAN
ANY WEARABLE INSTRUMENT OR DEVICES DESIGNED FOR HEARING AND  ANY  PARTS,
ATTACHMENTS OR ACCESSORIES BUT EXCLUDING BATTERIES AND CORDS OR ACCESSO-
RIES THERETO.
  (B)  FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SERVICES FOR RECASING, RESHELL-
ING AND ACQUIRING NEW MOLDS SHALL BE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE POLICIES.
  (3) COVERAGE PROVIDED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT
TO DEDUCTIBLES, COINSURANCE, OR COPAYMENTS.
  S 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015 and shall  apply  to  all
policies issued, modified or renewed on and after such date.

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