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Introduced Version Senate Bill 501 History

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Senate Bill No. 501

(By Senator Stollings)

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[Introduced February 2, 2012; referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources; and then to the Committee on Banking and Insurance.]

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A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-15-4k; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-16-3w; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-24-7l; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-25-8i; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-25A-8k, all relating generally to requiring health insurance coverage of hearing aids for individuals under eighteen years of age; providing for an effective date for coverage; providing definitions; setting age limitations; providing for coverage limits and time frames; and modifying required benefits for accident and sickness insurance, group accident and sickness insurance, hospital medical and dental corporations, health care corporations and health maintenance organizations.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-15-4k; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-16-3w; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-24-7l; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-25-8i; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §33-25A-8k,all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 15. ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE.

§33-15-4k. Required coverage for hearing aids.

    (a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan, or agreement applicable to this article, any entity regulated by this article shall, on or after July 1, 2012, provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids that are prescribed by a licensed physician for individuals covered under the policy or plan who are under eighteen years of age. Coverage shall be as follows:

    (1) Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months.

    (2) New hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual.

    (3) Services, including audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fittings, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “hearing aid” means any wearable device or instrument or any combination thereof, designated for, represented as or offered for sale for the purpose of aiding, improving or compensating for defective or impaired human hearing and shall include ear molds, parts, attachments or other accessories, but excluding batteries and cords.

    (c) The same deductibles, coinsurance, network restrictions and other limitations for covered services found in the policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement of the covered individuals apply to hearing aids covered pursuant to this section.

ARTICLE 16. GROUP ACCIDENT AND SICKNESS INSURANCE.

§33-16-3w. Required coverage for hearing aids.

    (a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan, or agreement applicable to this article, any entity regulated by this article shall, on or after July 1, 2012, provide coverage for the cost of hearings aids that are prescribed by a licensed physician for individuals covered under the policy or plan who are under eighteen years of age. Coverage shall be as follows:

    (1) Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months.

    (2) New hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual.

    (3) Services, including audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fittings, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “hearing aid” means any wearable device or instrument or any combination thereof, designated for, represented as or offered for sale for the purpose of aiding, improving or compensating for defective or impaired human hearing and shall include ear molds, parts, attachments or other accessories, but excluding batteries and cords.

    (c) The same deductibles, coinsurance, network restrictions and other limitations for covered services found in the policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement of the covered individuals apply to hearing aids covered pursuant to this section.

ARTICLE 24. HOSPITAL MEDICAL AND DENTAL CORPORATIONS.

§33-24-7l. Required coverage for hearing aids.

    (a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan, or agreement applicable to this article, any entity regulated by this article shall, on or after July 1, 2012, provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids that are prescribed by a licensed physician for individuals covered under the policy or plan who are under eighteen years of age. Coverage shall be as follows:

    (1) Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months.

    (2) New hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual.

    (3) Services, including audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fittings, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “hearing aid” means any wearable device or instrument or any combination thereof, designated for, represented as or offered for sale for the purpose of aiding, improving or compensating for defective or impaired human hearing and shall include earmolds, parts, attachments or other accessories, but excluding batteries and cords.

    (c) The same deductibles, coinsurance, network restrictions and other limitations for covered services found in the policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement of the covered individuals apply to hearing aids covered pursuant to this section.

ARTICLE 25. HEALTH CARE CORPORATION.

§33-25-8i. Required coverage for hearing aids.

    (a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan, or agreement applicable to this article, any entity regulated by this article shall, on or after July 1, 2012, provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids that are prescribed by a licensed physician for individuals covered under the policy or plan who are under eighteen years of age. Coverage shall be as follows:

    (1) Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months.

    (2) New hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual.

    (3) Services, including audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fittings, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “hearing aid” means any wearable device or instrument or any combination thereof, designated for, represented as or offered for sale for the purpose of aiding, improving or compensating for defective or impaired human hearing and shall include ear molds, parts, attachments or other accessories, but excluding batteries and cords.

    (c) The same deductibles, coinsurance, network restrictions and other limitations for covered services found in the policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement of the covered individuals apply to hearing aids covered pursuant to this section.

ARTICLE 25A. HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION ACT.

§33-25A-8k. Required coverage for hearing aids.

    (a) Notwithstanding any provision of any policy, provision, contract, plan, or agreement applicable to this article, any entity regulated by this article shall, on or after July 1, 2012, provide coverage for the cost of hearings aids that are prescribed by a licensed physician for individuals covered under the policy or plan who are under eighteen years of age. Coverage shall be as follows:

    (1) Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months.

    (2) New hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual.

    (3) Services, including audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fittings, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds.

    (b) For purposes of this section, “hearing aid” means any wearable device or instrument or any combination thereof, designated for, represented as or offered for sale for the purpose of aiding, improving or compensating for defective or impaired human hearing and shall include ear molds, parts, attachments or other accessories, but excluding batteries and cords.

    (c) The same deductibles, coinsurance, network restrictions and other limitations for covered services found in the policy, provision, contract, plan or agreement of the covered individuals apply to hearing aids covered pursuant to this section.



    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require health insurers to cover hearing aids for individuals under eighteen years of age, when prescribed by a licensed physician. Coverage is limited as follows: (1)Initial hearing aids and replacement hearing aids not more frequently than every thirty-six months; (2) hearing aids when alterations to the existing hearing aids cannot adequately meet the needs of the covered individual; and (3) services, including audiometric testing, the initial hearing aid evaluation, fitting, and adjustments, and supplies, including ear molds. Covered individuals may have to meet deductibles, coinsurance, or other limitations.


    §33-15-4k, §33-16-3w, §33-24-7l, §33-25-8i, and §33-25A-8k are new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

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