If you, or anyone you know, is hearing impaired, you probably know the costs can add up fast. In South Dakota, insurance companies are not necessarily required to cover audiology services for children. That can mean doctors visits, hearing tests and the devices along with surgery can be a costly investment.
A new South Dakota Senate Bill could change that. Senate Bill 122 would require health insurers to cover audiology services in children. It's not a new idea to South Dakota but it's not easy to pass.
A Milbank family says little help from insurance has made a world of difference for them but that opportunity is not quite the same for everyone.
Quinn Bastion was born deaf in one year about a year ago.
"It was something where you felt like 'oh my, how will we move on from this?' Then we started to realize it's not the end of the world. Lots of kids were out there with the same thing he has," Quinn's father Matt Bastian said.
That's why the Bastian's have become such advocates for Senate Bill 122. Quinn's Baha device costs roughly $5,000 not including doctors visits and testing. Some of that hefty price tag was covered through their insurance but it's not required for companies to help out at all.
"As a parent you're put in the position of 'A: are you able to afford it? B: if you're not, you feel like you're letting your child down'," Matt said.
My sister Lindsay was born completely deaf 23 years ago. If it wasn't for help from my family's insurance in Arizona, a nearly $100,000 investment of the Cochlear Implant and countless audiology services would be non-existent. I, for one, know the value of this opportunity for Lindsay, for Quinn and any hearing impaired child.
"In South Dakota, it's a small number of people affected by it but that small number is important. In the past, the state has done other things with funding for those with audiology challenges. From Cochlear Implants refunded and other ways. This bill is a direct way of saying the insurance providers should be providing that," District 10 Sen. Shantel Krebs said.
"He didn't choose this, it just happened to be that way. We were fortunate and it shouldn't come down to whether you are or not with your insurance. It should be one of those things taken care of, a burden relieved from the parent of having to decide for their child," Matt said.
The bill is set to be discussed in Pierre on Wednesday February 19th.
For a closer look at Senate Bill 122, visit the following link:
Thursday, February 20 2014 7:42 PM EST2014-02-21 00:42:09 GMT
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