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Mass. Lawmakers OK Child Hearing Aid Mandate

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BOSTON (AP) — Private health insurers would be required to provide coverage for children’s hearing aids under a recent bill approved by the Massachusetts Legislature.

The bill, which is awaiting the signature of Gov. Deval Patrick, mandates that insurance carriers cover up to $2,000 of the cost of any single hearing aid for minors up to the age of 21.

The Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition says parents often have to pay out of pocket for expensive hearing aids that are prescribed by doctors and that must be replaced every 3 to 5 years.

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The coalition says about 150 children born in Massachusetts each year are diagnosed with hearing loss, a common birth defect.

The bill would also require the state’s Group Insurance Commission to cover hearing aids for children of state employees.