Michigan House Republicans
House committee approves Rep. Zorn’s hearing aid accessibility bill
RELEASE|February 9, 2024
Contact: Dale Zorn

Bipartisan plan advances to full House

The House Insurance and Financial Services Committee has approved Rep. Dale Zorn’s bipartisan plan to make hearing aids more accessible for children who need them.

Hearing loss is one of the most frequently occurring birth defects in United States. In Michigan, about 400 children annually are born with hearing impairments or will acquire one before starting school. According to the state’s Department of Education, approximately 2,700 students in Michigan have hearing loss.

“Sadly, those children are at a serious disadvantage as many insurance companies do not offer hearing coverage,” said Zorn (R-Onsted). “We must take action to make hearing aids more accessible early on – doing so significantly increases academic success for kids facing hearing loss. “Hearing disability treatments should be covered just like every other disability children may face.”

His plan, House Bill 4944, would ensure Michigan children’s health insurance covers treatment for hearing loss through age 19, and up to $3,000 in coverage per hearing aid every 36 months.

Insurance actuaries and underwriters estimate the increase to policyholders’ premium costs would be just 10 to 17 cents per month but would save the state approximately $650,000 per individual in lifetime support.

Zorn introduced the measure alongside his colleague, Rep. Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills). Her bill, House Bill 4936, ensures coverage is available for audiological exams, hearing aid evaluations and maintenance, and audiologist or speech-language pathology services.    

Zorn introduced similar legislative measures in previous years, working closely with former Miss Michigan KT Maviglia-Morgan, a child hearing loss advocate, but the change has yet to be signed into state law.

“For 10 years, Rep. Zorn and I have been working on a hearing aid bill for children in the state of Michigan,” Maviglia-Morgan said. “Getting our bills voted out of committee today is a step in the right direction toward making a difference for children in our state. I am encouraged that both sides of the aisle could come together and support a plan that will better the lives of our youth. This bipartisan participation proves child hearing aid coverage is something everyone can get behind.”

The bills now move to be considered by the full House.


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