HB 2946 Insurance Coverage for Speech, Language and Hearing
Currently very few group insurance plans offer any type of coverage for speech, language or hearing services, and those that do often have very low limits. We are trying to change this and we need your help! A simple phone call or email to your state representative or senator will let them know this issue is important to Texans. Eighteen other states have some type of mandate for insurance coverage for hearing aids; we want Texas to do something about it, too.
As of March 17, 2011, HB 2946 requiring insurance coverage for dependents and increase notice of optional coverage for adults has been filed and referred to the insurance committee. You can help by contacting your state congress person and members of the insurance committee and ask them to support HB 2946. Once a hearing is scheduled, we will need people to attend and possibly testify in support of this bill. Visit one of our sites below and sign up to receive updates on how you can help see this effort through!
Current law: The current insurance code in Texas requires that insurance companies offer group plan purchasers (i.e. employers) the option of purchasing speech and hearing coverage. There is no requirement as to when the employer is notified of this coverage or that they be told how much it would cost. The employer has the option of not accepting the coverage or, if they choose to add any coverage for speech and/or hearing services, to negotiate any level of coverage they wish. This assumes that the benefits administrator for the employer realizes that the offer of coverage, which is typically buried in the final paperwork, is available or that these services are not already covered under a typical policy. This negotiation takes place between the employer and the insurance company; the employee is never offered the option of coverage if the employer chooses not to elect coverage for speech and hearing benefits. The vast majority of employers do not offer this coverage, even though the change in premiums is minimal.
Proposal: HB 2946 has two parts. This bill would:
* Require insurance companies to notify group plan purchasers of the offer of coverage at the time of initial quotes and bid the policy with the speech, language and hearing coverage included as an option. This would allow employers the ability to make a more informed choice as to what benefits they wish to provide for their employees. This provision, if passed as written, would apply to covered individuals over the age of 18.
* Require insurance coverage for dependents (i.e. children) for the treatment of speech, language, and hearing impairment. Under this provision these services would be provided at the same rates as other illness covered under the policy.
For more information and up to date reports on the progress of this effort, visit our blog at: http://txsicha.blogspot.com/.
To join the cause on Facebook/Cause.com, search for “Texans Support Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids”.
To find out who represents you, view committee assignments as well as full text and information about the progress of HB 2946, visit http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/.
For other questions or to be added to an email update list, contact [email protected]
CONTACT PERSON NAME: Tamara Joyce-Wylie
CONTACT EMAIL ADDRESS: [email protected]
CONTACT TELEPHONE #: 817-929-7726 (voice or text)