The Indiana State Department of Health and Hear Indiana are working to get more Indiana children who are deaf or hard of hearing access to hearing aids, covering a gap in health insurance coverage.
The new Hearing Aid Assistance Program of Indiana, or HAAPI, expects to help about 600 Indiana children in the next two years. Executive director of the state’s Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education Christine Moody says hearing aids can cost up to $6,000, and they aren’t always covered by insurance.
“They’re told how critical it is to get those hearing aids right away and to wear them all waking hours so that they have access to that auditory information ,” she says, “And yet they go to do that, they want to do it and they hit these barriers of not having coverage through their insurance or having insufficient coverage.”
Lawmakers set aside $750 thousand in funding for the two-year program in 2014. It starts this month. The department of health hopes to expand the program in the future.
Children who don’t have full coverage can apply for the program through their audiologist.
Moody says the center hopes to be able to gather enough information about the need for this program to continue it in the future.