WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced Ally’s Act, on Tuesday.
The bipartisan legislation would ensure that private insurance companies provide coverage for osseointegrated hearing devices (OIDs), including bone anchored hearing aids (BAHA) and cochlear implants. OIDs are a type of hearing aid that benefit a wider range of hearing loss victims and are often the only hearing device that can restore hearing for individuals born with hearing loss.
“Many of us take for granted the gift of hearing and how often we rely on our senses to effectively communicate with one another. It is important that we take the necessary steps to improve our health insurance systems and ensure these critical devices are readily available for those who need them. OIDs are even more crucial for individuals born with hearing deficiencies, as the first five years of life are important for speech and language development. I’m proud to introduce Ally’s Act, which will help establish better access to these critical hearing devices for those that need them,” said Senator Capito.
“Far too many Americans are left behind due to hearing loss and cannot access the devices they need because their insurance will not cover it, leaving many adults and children in the U.S. without a solution to restore their hearing,” Senator Warren said. “Our bipartisan bill is a simple fix that increases access to these specialized hearing devices and gives Americans across the country a chance to be a part of every conversation.”
A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Joe Neguse (D-CO), David B. McKinley, (R-WV), and Mike Thompson (D-CA).
The legislation is named after ten-year old Colorado-native, Ally Tumblin, who was born without a right ear or hearing canal and requires the use of a BAHA. Following a denial for her hearing device, Ally and her mother formed the organization, “Ear Community” to help advocate for insurance coverage of these hearing devices to ensure no person is left unable to hear because of private insurance companies’ refusal to cover OIDs.