Here are some of our past efforts and key accomplishments in policy advocacy.
Washington State advocacy
January 1, 2019 – Adults under Washington State Medicaid can now receive a hearing aid (thanks to SB 5179, which restored coverage.) Final rules are being written, but interim rules are in effect. Here’s more info from DSHS.
Please share this news far and wide, so that people with hearing loss can get the help they need.
March 21, 2018 – Senate Bill 5179 passed and was signed by Governor Inslee! Thank you to everyone who wrote to their lawmaker or testified in support over the bill—and of course, huge thanks to Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature for taking this step toward helping some of our most vulnerable Washingtonians.
Hearing aids are covered for adults on Washington State Medicaid, effective January 1, 2019.
Our hearts are full.
April 11, 2017 – Senate Bill 5177, which requires long-term care workers to be trained to recognize hearing loss, passed the House unanimously! We’ll work with the State of Washington to craft the educational materials.
Other bills that we’ve supported include:
- House Bill 1264 – Covers hearing aid purchase, pre-fitting, and repair of hearing aids for adults under Medicaid.
- Senate Bill 5179 – Covers hearing aids for public employee plans and Medicaid.
- Senate Bill 5178 –Requires the Department of Health to develop a hearing loss education program for health care professionals.
Local and county advocacy
May 21, 2018 – The King County Council proclaimed May 2018 Better Hearing and Speech Month. Thank you, Councilmembers.
December 2015 – Demonstrating its commitment to serve and include people with hearing loss, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31641. Thank you to Councilmember Tom Rasmussen for sponsoring the resolution, and we’re especially grateful for his articulate and heartfelt support for people with hearing loss.
Read the full resolution here.
August 2017 – The Over-the Counter-Hearing Aid Act was signed into law as part of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 (Senate Bill S. 670; House H.R. 1652).
The HLAA-WA board and HLAA national supported these efforts to get more hearing aids into the ears of people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
We hope this bill will increase innovation in the hearing aid industry, reduce the stigma of wearing hearing aids, and lower hearing aid prices.
For more information, Shari Eberts has an excellent discussion here. You can also read more from HLAA, including HLAA’s recommendations to the FDA, descriptions of OTC hearing aids, and more.
June 14, 2018 – Send an e-mail, phone call, or letter of support for HR 6052, Help Extend Auditory Relief Act of 2018, the HEAR bill (reintroduced in June 2018 by Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-PA). This bill will ensure Medicare coverage for hearing aids and hearing care.