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Ask MNCDHH: Tell Me about Hearing Aids (Part 1)

You ask, we answer

10/4/2017 10:00:00 AM

A young girl is smiling and facing the camera. She is laying on grass and has her face cupped in her hands.

MNCDHH received many similar questions about hearing aids, insurance coverage, and affordability. To address a topic that many people have questions about, we decided to create a three-part series on hearing aids.  

Part 1: Hearing aids for children (birth to 18) and insurance coverage

The very first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and ask them if they cover hearing health care. 

State programs and services 

There are a lot of resources available for children and families when it comes to getting hearing aids for children.

  • If your child is covered by a MNSURE insurance plan, all plans sold on MNSURE are required to provide hearing aid coverage for children who are 18 and under.
  • If you obtain insurance through your employer, it is important that you contact your Human Resource department to ask if your health plan is: 1) a Minnesota plan or if it is issued out of another state; and 2) whether it is fully insured or self-insured (most small companies are fully insured while most large companies are self-insured). The next bullet point explains why you need to ask these questions.
  • Hearing aids are covered for children from birth to 18 in Minnesota insurance plans that are fully insured. If your insurance denies coverage for hearing aids for your child, don't worry, resources are available. Please contact DHHSD to request a Hearing Aids Appeals packet. Call 651-431-5940 (voice) / 651-964-1514 (videophone). This packet only has information about appealing denied hearing aid insurance coverage for children (birth to 18).

Loans and financial resources

  • Loaner hearing devices are available for children (age 0 to 18 years) in Minnesota to give families time to decide which approaches to take and also to secure funds. A typical loan period is 6 months and over 800 Minnesota children have benefited since the loaner bank began in 2007, although it can last much longer, based on family need thanks to legislation passed by advocates with MNCDHH.
  • The Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) has a list of Hearing Aid Financial Resources. This list is also included in the What You Need to Know: Resources for families binder (PDF) (pages 23-24), which is provided to families of newly identified children with hearing loss by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Additional information

  • Visit MNCDHH's Hearing Aids for Children (Birth to 18) for an overview of your rights while purchasing hearing aids by state and federal law. 
  • Review MNCDHH's /deaf-commission/assets/2.02-Hearing%20Aids%20Law%203-2017-Web_tcm1063-302267.pdfquick fact sheet (PDF) regarding an expanded law for coverage of hearing aids for children who are 18 years of age or younger in Minnesota.

Special thanks to Mary Bauer from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) for her help with the hearing aid newsletter series.

Is this answer helpful? If you have more questions, please email anne.sittner-anderson@state.mn.us.

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