Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Law

  • What does the law provide? Chapter 233 provides insurance coverage for hearing aids for children 21 years old and younger up to $2,000 per hearing aid for each hearing impaired ear in each 36-month period.
  • When is the effective date of the law?The law applies to all health plans that are delivered, issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2013. This means that coverage becomes effective as policies are renewed throughout 2013. Following this year, coverage will remain continuous under health insurance policies. Before you begin the process of purchasing hearing aids, check with your health insurance carrier to verify the specific date on which your coverage will be effective. Example: Your health insurance plan renews on July 1st. Coverage becomes effective under your policy on July 1st. This means that you may not purchase hearing aids for your child or seek coverage for related services and supplies under this law until July 1st.
  • What does the $2,000 cap include?The $2,000 cap includes coverage for each hearing aid device. An insured may select a higher-priced hearing aid and pay the difference in cost above the $2,000 limit for the device. Plans must also cover all services related to a covered hearing aid device, including the initial hearing aid evaluation, fitting and adjustments and supplies, including ear molds. These amounts are not included in the $2,000 coverage limit that applies to the hearing aid device, but are covered separately and outright under your plan.
  • Are batteries covered? Yes. Coverage under this law includes related services, including the initial hearing aid evaluation, hearing aid fittings and adjustments and supplies. Batteries are covered under the "supplies" section of the law. A billing code already exists for hearing aid batteries- your dispensing audiologist should have this.
  • How about ear molds? Ear molds are covered under this law.
  • Who is covered? Children 21 years of age or younger who are covered under fully-insured plans.
  • Who is not covered?Children who are covered under self-insured plans are not covered by this law. A self-insured (or self-funded) plan is one in which the employer assumes the financial risk for providing health care benefits to its employees, even if an insurance company is used to process the claims. Self-insured plans are governed by federal ERISA laws and are not subject to state mandates or regulation by the state Division of Insurance. This means that self-insured employers will not be required to provide hearing aid coverage under Chapter 233.
  • How do I know if my plan is fully-insured?You may find out if your plan is fully-insured by contacting your insurance carrier or your Human Resources department at your place of employment.
  • What do I do if I find out that my plan is self-insured? You may advocate for your child! Contact your employer to explain why they should add this coverage to their insurance plan. Often employers will follow state mandates by adding similar coverage. One reason employers decide to self-insure is so that they may customize a plan to meet the specific needs of their workforce. If an employee is in need of specific coverage, an employer may consider adding the benefit. The final decision rests with your employer.
  • What if my plan has a high deductible? Chapter 233 allows carriers to apply deductibles, coinsurance, co-payments or out-of-pocket limits to hearing aid devices, supplies and services related to hearing aids, but they may not be greater than any applied to other benefits covered in the health plan. If you have a high deductible that would effectively cancel out the benefit afforded by this law, you may wish to shop around for another health insurance carrier. If this is not possible, consider appealing to your health insurance carrier to provide the coverage. Every health insurance carrier has a dispute resolution process and must consider your appeal.
  • Must I live in Massachusetts to be covered under this law?Not necessarily. If you work for an employer that is located in Massachusetts but reside outside of Massachusetts, you are most likely eligible for benefits under Chapter 233. To be sure, check with your Human Resources department.
  • What if I live in Massachusetts but work for an out-of-state employer? If your employer is located outside Massachusetts, you are most likely ineligible for benefits under Chapter 233 because your employer would be subject to insurance mandates and oversight by the state in which it is located. To be sure, check with your Human Resources department.
  • What do I do once I find out that my child is eligible to purchase hearing aids under this law? Once you determine that your child is covered by a fully-funded plan and are certain of your renewal date, you will need a written statement from your child’s treating physician that the hearing aids are necessary. Either your child’s pediatrician or ENT may provide this written statement. Then, your child’s audiologist will recommend a hearing aid that best fits your child.
  • Can my child be denied hearing aids depending on how the hearing loss occurred? No. Chapter 233 provides that a child must be afforded coverage for hearing aids if a treating physician or ENT issues a written statement that the hearing aids are necessary regardless of how the hearing loss occurred (e.g., at birth, late onset, accident, illness).
  • Is this law based on income levels? No. Any child 21 years of age or younger who resides in Massachusetts, is covered by a fully-insured health plan and meets the other requirements listed in the law is eligible to receive the benefit.
  • Is there anything that I need to know about talking to my health insurance company? Always get the full name, phone number and extension of the insurance representative with whom you speak in the event that you or someone else will need to follow up on the conversation. Take notes during your discussions and keep the notes in a file or notebook so that you may refer to them again, if necessary.
  • What if I am eligible for coverage under this law but my insurance company denies or delays coverage? If you are denied coverage or coverage is unduly delayed by your insurance company, you may file an appeal or grievance with your insurance company or you may contact the Bureau of Managed Care at the Division of Insurance in Boston to file a complaint by phone, fax or e-mail. You may also contact the Office of Patient Protection at the Department of Public Health in Boston.
  • Additional resources:Bureau of Managed Care Division of Insurance Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations 1000 Washington Street, Suite 810 Boston, MA 02118 Tel: (617) 521-7372 Fax: (617) 521-7773 www.mass.gov/doi/ E-mail: bmc.mailbox@state.ma.us
  • Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program Department of Public Health 250 Washington Street, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02108 Tel: 1-800-882-1435

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Update on Implementation of Law in MA

Members of MassHAFCC have been working diligently over the last few months in preparation of the implementation of the new law in Massachusetts.  We have been in communication with the Division of Insurance to share the SPIRIT and INTENTION of the specific HB52 language that was passed earlier this year unanimously by both the House and Senate as well as with full support of Governor Patrick.

We will continue to keep the Massachusetts D/HH community up-to-date as things develop.

Stay tuned and visit this blog regularly!

Monday, November 5, 2012

2012 Walk4Hearing


2012 Team MassHAFCC



Team MassHAFCC participated 
in the New England Walk4Hearing 
on October 28.








Although hurricane Sandy threatened to test our New England resolve, the heavy rains and wind held off long enough to allow us to reconnect with old friends as well as make new ones.  MassHAFCC hosted a table to make available literature regarding the new law covering pediatric hearing aids in Massachusetts and to share example of the advocacy work MassHAFCC proudly did on behalf of all Commonwealth families.

Examples of advocacy work
Team MassHAFCC's table


4 buddies ready to go!!
Photo op along the route
Face painting
Wally!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Advocacy starts early!

We loved reading about a very special 8 year old girl.   Samantha and her old brother Sean are both hard of hearing and wear hearing aids.  She saw a need to better educate her peers, her educators and public at large about hearing loss so she wrote a book!  Check out some of the wisdom this precious girl already exhibits:
"Last year when I was still wearing one hearing aid I wrote a book called "Samantha's Fun FM Unit and Hearing Aid Book." I wrote it to explain why I wear a hearing aid and an FM Unit in school. And I also made the book for kids or adults that have hearing loss too. I want them to feel the same way about their hearing aids that I do!"
 So proud of children of all ages who recognize a need and take action!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pediatric Hearing Aids: Cost, Retention, Daily Management

We recently learned of an article in the October 9 issue of ASHA's Leader entitled "Parents' Experiences With Pediatric Hearing Aids".  Following a survey of 333 parents, three main themes emerged as concerns:  cost, retention, and daily management.

In Massachusetts, we are fortunate that the cost issue will soon be a thing of the past for most Commonwealth families.  Retention seems to be problematic in the early infant/toddler years.  Daily management is what seems to be most concerning.  As one parent said, "I would have liked to have been told how to care for them, how to check if they weren't working, what steps to take before taking them to be repaired, and when to replace earmolds."

Ultimately, it is our belief that building strong communities, support systems and timely information exchange is the key.  The MassHAFCC's mission truly reflects that notion.

For the full-text article:  http://www.asha.org/Publications/leader/2012/121009/Parents-Experiences-With-Pediatric-Hearing-Aids.htm

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Save the Date: March 7, 2013

MARCH 7, 2013:  the date has been announced for the Massachusetts Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents' Annual Day!! It is a great opportunity for Statewide Advisory Council members, community members, legislators, and state agency directors to gather at the State House in Boston.  
Be sure to mark your calendar now!  
For more information, contact Ami.Hanigan@MassMail.State.MA.US

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Let's Break the Silence on Hearing Loss"

We recently came across this poignant article by Kathleen S. Roufs in The Chronicle of Higher Education which is described as the No. 1 source of news, information, and jobs for college and university faculty members and administrators.  Based in Washington, D.C., The Chronicle has more than 70 writers, editors, and international correspondents.

Ms. Roufs directly addresses the issue of university/college faculty who are hard of hearing.  She explores the often overlooked impact of hearing loss on the professional life of an educator.
It is both alarming and heartbreaking to think that faculty members with hearing loss fear they will be judged by their hearing limitations, rather than their intellectual contributions. As one respondent said, "I'm pretty good at lip reading and faking it."
It is unfortunate that the stigma of hearing loss has not yet been eradicated from our society.  The best skill you can teach your children is how to advocate for themselves. 

To read the full text, follow this link.  http://chronicle.com/article/Lets-Break-the-Silence-on/134888/

Friday, October 26, 2012

Boston's Children Hospital Blog

Sending a big shout out to Boston's Children Hospital's pediatric health blog THRIVE for the great coverage on the ceremonial signing by Governor Patrick and sharing Lisa Adams' (MassHAFCC President and Co-Founder) personal story.  Be sure to see the adorable pictures of Lisa's boys!!

http://childrenshospitalblog.org/massachusetts-requires-insurance-companies-to-cover-hearing-aids-for-children/

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pictures by Nicole Hirsch Photography


On the day of the ceremonial signing at the Governor's Office, we were fortunate to have professional photographer Nicole Hirsch with us. Nicole did a wonderful job of capturing this special event-- her pictures tell a story of this amazing day that we will never forget. With her permission, we have posted some of her pictures from the ceremony. To contact Nicole or to learn more about Nicole Hirsch Photography and view  more of her amazing photographs, go to: http://www.nicolehirschphotography.com/.
We have included the link to her web page in our "Links" section on this blog. Enjoy!

Friday, September 28, 2012

CELEBRATION at the Massachusetts State House!

September 27, 2012 - MassHAFCC and their families, Massachusetts legislators including House Bill 52 sponsor Representative Sean Garballey, representatives from Boston's Children's Hospital, MCDHH Deputy Commissioner Patricia Ford and members of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing community at large were present to witness the ceremonial signing of House Bill 52 (An Act to Provide Hearing Aids to Children) into Law (Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2012)  by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. 


This bill, after being filed by Representative Garballey, began its journey in the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities with Representative Khan and Senator Rodriques as Co-Chairs of the Committee and moved to the Joint Committee on Health Care and Finance chaired by Representative Walsh.  

Brief comments were made by Lisa Adams (MassHAFCC President), Michelle Motta Dardeno and Kim LaBrecque (MassHAFCC Board  Members) and Dr. Marilyn Neault (Director of Habilitative Audiology at Boston Children's Hospital) following congratulations by Governor Patrick.  Many children, families and professionals from across the state were thanked for testifying in person, submitting written testimony and making many phones in support of passing this bill.

Of note, Lisa shared that "...the impact of this law is already being felt across our state in hospitals and audiology offices-- it has instantly changed the initial discussion between practitioners diagnosing hearing loss and families hearing the diagnosis for the first time. This is big news for our children: we can diagnose hearing loss early and ensure access to sound, speech and language early too." 

Dr. Neault introduced a mother and her 4 month old daughter who was recently diagnosed with hearing loss through the Newborn Hearing Screening program.  Mom explained that she was "completely overwhelmed" when she found out how much hearing aids cost.  Everyone in the room echoed her sentiment and tears as she stated "I can't thank you enough" over again.  This new law will remove the financial burden for this family and all families across the Commonwealth.    


Massachusetts became the 20th state to pass legislation mandating insurance coverage for pediatric hearing aids in the United States when the bill passed unanimously through the House and Senate and officially signed into law on August 7th, 2012.

The full 24 minute recording of the ceremony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEXq_yJkoNU.

Monday, September 24, 2012

11 Misconceptions Teachers Should Know about Children with Hearing Loss

We recently came across this article ("Eleven misconceptions teachers should know about children with hearing loss") by Janice Schacter Lintz (mom of an 18-year-old with a severe to profound hearing loss who is about to enter her freshman year at Brown University).   The author does a nice job explaining each point in a manner easily understood by all.  There are many truths worth remembering and sharing with the  teachers, specialists and support staff that educate our children.

http://hearinghealthmatters.org/hearingviews/2012/eleven-misconceptions-that-teachers-should-know-about-children-with-hearing-loss/

Here are the 11 misconceptions to entice you to read the full article. 

  1. People with hearing loss are older adults.
  2. A child who responds to sound does not have a hearing loss.
  3. Having a late-diagnosed hearing loss is the same as being born with a hearing loss.
  4. Hearing aids and cochlear implants restore hearing to normal.
  5. With hearing aids or CIs, children can usually hear everything that is said in class, and if they can’t hear something they will advise the teacher.
  6. Increasing the sound volume on a hearing aid will enable a child with hearing loss to understand what is said.
  7. Children who wear hearing aids or a CI for their hearing loss do not need an FM unit as well.
  8. A child who can understand what’s said in small group settings won’t have a problem watching a movie or video without captions. If the film or video has captioning, the child does not need it hooked up to his or her FM system.
  9. People with hearing loss are dumb, stupid, mute, have intellectual limitations, and are bound to be unsuccessful.
  10. Children with a hearing loss are born to parents who have a hearing loss and use American Sign Language (ASL).
  11. People with hearing loss cannot learn other languages.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Hearing Aid Law for Children

Hi everyone- You may now read the new hearing aid law for children in Massachusetts online. Click on the following link. The citation is: Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2012.

http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2012/Chapter233

The law becomes effective on January 1, 2013. There may be regulations drafted prior to that date. We will keep you posted.

MASSHAFCC

Friday, September 7, 2012

1983 vs. 2012

Can you believe that in 1983, the New York Times found that then President Reagan's public hearing aid use was newsworthy? Yes, its true!

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/08/us/reagan-begins-to-wear-a-hearing-aid-in-public.html

Of particular interest was this statement:

       "Among Presidential advisers, Mr. Reagan's use of a hearing aid revived speculation on whether his age would be an issue if he seeks re-election next year. The general feeling was that it would not."

REALLY???  I, for one, am thankful that the use of hearing aids at ANY age is less of an issue in 2012 than in 1983.  People at every age are affected by hearing loss.  If hearing aids help, we should wear them without reservation, fear of embarrassment or discrimination.

It never ceases to amaze me when I think of how these powerful devices help our children navigate through life everyday.  To all deaf/hard of hearing children who know firsthand the necessity and benefits of wearing hearing aids everyday, we commend your courage, determination and accomplishments!


Monday, August 27, 2012

How can I protect my child from hearing damage from iPods?

In March 2006 Apple released a software update for iPods that allows parents to use a combination lock to set the maximum decibel level for children. Apple posted information online at www.apple.com/sound on how to use this new feature and other strategies to limit long-term hearing damage.

Topics covered on this page:

  • The Science of Sound
  • Sound and Your Ears
  • Listen Responsibly
  • Think about the Volume
  • Keep Track of Time

Check it out!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Join "Team MassHAFCC"

Team MassHAFCC will be participating again this year in the New England Walk4Hearing on October 28th. It has always been a great time to meet and reconnect with other adults and children with hearing loss in our area. The children have always enjoyed the kid's activities before/after!

If you are interested in raising awareness in our local area about hearing loss, we would LOVE for you to join us!  You can join Team MassHAFCC 2 ways:

     1. Walk4Hearing website (www.walk4hearing.org)
     2. Click on Walk4Hearing in our "links" section of this blog
          - Location: Brighton, MA (Artesani Park - 1234 Soldiers Field Rd)
          - Date: Sunday, October 28, 2012 (10am check-in/11am walk begins)
          - Team name: "Team MassHAFCC"
          - Register to join the team

This will be our 3rd year participating as a team.  In 2009, we wore light blue and in 2011 we wore navy blue. We've enjoyed walking with MassHAFCC children, parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles and friends.  If you join, please contact us if you are interested in purchasing a Team MassHAFCC T-shirt.








   






Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thank Your Legislators!

Hi everyone- as we are still basking in the rays of our new law, Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2012, we ask that you take a few minutes to thank your legislators for supporting and passing House Bill 52. We contact them when we ask them to do something for us, but I fear they don't hear back from enough of us to thank them for a job well done. This is surely that time. House Bill 52 passed unanimously in the House and Senate and we owe a big thanks to those that made the bill a reality for our children.

Please take 5 minutes to call or write your Representative and Senator to thank them for passing this law.

Then, go back to celebrating!!

-MassHAFCC

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

H.52 has been signed into LAW!!!

It is with the utmost joy that we share that Governor Deval Patrick just signed House Bill 52 into LAW!!

As with any great endeavor, success is never built on the shoulders of a few but on a community of dedicated contributors.  We thank Rep. Sean Garballey, H52 sponsor and Dave Koffman in his office for their leadership and ability to garner bi-partisan support across the MA House and Senate.  There were many, many legislative supporters including the 71 original co-sponsors that worked tirelessly on behalf of all D/HOH children in Massachusetts.  To all the professional, family-based and school-based groups that were ready at every "call to action", we thank you and hope you share in this happy news!  Feel free to spread the word!

Details about coverage, etc. will be flushed out as the regulations are drafted/finalized prior to the effective date 1/1/13.  The MassHAFCC blog will continue to provide information as it is made available to us.  

It is a very happy day!!!  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

CALL TO ACTION: Call Governor Deval Patrick and ask him to sign House Bill 52!

We ask all supporters of House Bill 52 across the state for help!   Last week's tremendous success for the deaf/ hard of hearing children in Massachusetts has one additional step before the bill can become law: signature by the Governor.  The bill was unanimously voted and passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate representing wide spread support and understanding across the state.

Please call Governor Patrick on Monday to make your voice heard loud & clear in support of House Bill 52.  Ask him to sign House Bill 52 to allow children across the Commonwealth equal access to sound through hearing aids.

  • Office of the Governor, Boston: 617-725-4005 or 617-727-3666 (TTY)
THANK YOU!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Press On Hearing Aid Bill

Perhaps you have read a few not-so-favorable articles and editorials in the Boston Herald over the past few days. There is going to be bad press, along with the articles that we'll enjoy reading about the hearing aid bill. Here are a few things to remember about House Bill 52 as you read these articles:

While House Bill 52 is a health insurance mandate, it is not a typical mandate because it is farther reaching than simply covering an insurance cost. Passing House Bill 52 will save on medical expenses associated with untreated hearing loss; speech and language services, which insurance covers (thus insurance itself will realize cost savings); educational costs for special education services associated with servicing children who lag behind in speech, langauge, reading, math, etc. because of late access to hearing aids; and 4) services associated with the social and emotional well-being of the child. Few mandates affect the WHOLE CHILD as significantly as does House Bill 52.

Moreover, House Bill 52 has a $2,000 cap and a 36-month cycle for benefits-- it has cost-containment built into the bill! This squares nicely with Gov. Patrick's policy.

If you decide to leave a comment for any of these articles on-line, please remember these points and feel free to use them.

And, please keep checking back to find out how you can continue to support the bill as it moves to the Governor's desk!

Friday, August 3, 2012


All of us at MassHAFCC would like to thank all of you who helped to pass House Bill 52! We could not have done it without you. Your emails, phone calls, testimonies, letters and hard work paid off and you should feel proud. THANK YOU!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It was a truly exciting day at the State House! Rep. Garballey (Arlington) and Rep. Scibeck (South Hadley), Dave Koffman of Rep. Garballey's office and Michele Lisio of Rep. Haddad's office were present. Both the House and the Senate voted unanimously. House Bill 52 is on its way to the Governor's desk! Here we are outside the House Chamber this morning.

Breaking News!!!

House Bill 52 has just been enacted by both the House and the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor's office next.   This has truly been a great week!!  

Keep checking this blog for more information and breaking news.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Success!!

We are very happy to report that House Bill 52 has PASSED in both the Massachusetts House and Senate on 31 July 2012!


MassHAFCC families were able to witness this amazing event first hand both House and Senate chambers gallery as well as via online streaming.   The first and second reading of the bill in the House happened rather early in the day.  After a period of hours, the bill underwent its third reading and was engrossed by the House by a voice vote.   The bill was then passed to the Senate to be engrossed also.   The Senate engrossed it with an amendment which was minor in nature. 


Procedurally, the bill returned to the House which needed to first concur with the Senate amendment and then be enacted upon.   Unfortunately due to the advanced time,  the House was only able to concur before midnight stuck.   


We have been informed that full enactment by both the House and Senate in informal sessions is scheduled for Thursday.   Then it's off to the Governor to sign into law!  


This is truly GREAT day for all D/HOH children in Massachusetts!!!  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Breaking news: H.52 is out of committee!!

We were just informed that House Bill 52 was voted favorably by the House Committee on Ways and Means this afternoon.   We fully expect that it will be voted upon tomorrow on the House floor and move to the Senate immediately thereafter.

This is truly GREAT news for all deaf/hard of hearing children in the Commonwealth!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another great day....

On Friday, 3 D/HOH families, including siblings, cousins, aunts and grandmothers met at the State House to continue our show of support for H.52.
Based on the premise that the cost of covering pediatric hearing aids per YEAR is about the same as a postage stamp, we handed out postcards focused on that theme. Every Senator and Representative received a royal blue card with the question: "Is a child's ability to hear with hearing aids worth the cost of a single postage stamp?"
We need to keep the pressure and attention on House Bill 52 while our legislators continue intense discussions on larger bills. Our voices *are* being heard!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FDA recall: Oto-Ease

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 13,2012, Westone Laboratories, Inc. is initiating a voluntary nationwide recall of all sizes and packaging configurations of Oto-Ease® ear lubricant. The products have been found through a consumer complaint and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sample analysis to be potentially contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and mold. Use of the product as directed for easing the insertion of custom fit ear molds and hearing instruments (including hearing aids) could result in infectious complications of the ear canal and surrounding tissues.
Westone Laboratories is notifying its distributors and customers through direct letter and issuance of this news release and is arranging for the disposal or return of all recalled products 1-800-357-3240 between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm MST or email. Consumers with questions may contact Westone Laboratories at at otoeaserecall@westone.com.
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm311978.htm?source=govdelivery

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CALL TO ACTION: Make your voice heard so children can hear!!

MassHAFCC has been working feverishly over the past few weeks to keep House Bill 52 on the forefront of legislators and decision makers alike. Last week alone, we visited the State House twice, met with staff from the Governor's office and updated our social media outlets (Facebook, LinkedIn, blog) numerous times with the most current developments and discoveries.
As we head into the home stretch, we ask for a show of solidarity behind House Bill 52 from the citizens + families in the Commonwealth. Even if you have contacted your Representative and State Senator's office in the past, please contact them again as soon as possible.
Ask them to call Leadership to express support from their district and to request this bill be moved favorably out of committee (House Ways and Means) for a vote on both floors before session ends on 31 July. That should only take a few minutes of your time to impact a child for a lifetime.
Follow this link to find your legislators’ names and contact information: http://www.malegislature.gov/
While you have the phone in hand, please place companion phone calls to the offices of Senate President Therese Murray and Speaker Robert DeLeo and Governor Deval Patrick and ask them to pass House Bill 52 *this* session.
· Senate President Murray:  617-722-1500
· House Speaker DeLeo: 617-722-2500
· Governor Patrick: 617.725.4005 (Boston) 413.784.1200 (Springfield)
As always, please return to this blog http://masshafcc.blogspot.com/ for the most current information.  *Many* heartfelt thanks for your continued support, especially during these last weeks of session. 
Be sure to forward to all friends + families who chose to have their voices heard so our children can hear.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Editorial in the Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update

The editorial in the 7/16 Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update focused on House Bill 52 "An Act to provide access to hearing aids for children".
Bill Allan highlights what supporters of the bill have done right so far which include 1) the focus is children; 2) there is an impressive amount of legislative support - 71 bipartisan "official" co-sponsors plus numerous others; 3) there was a diverse array of people who testified at the Hearing in May; and, finally 4) H.52 supporters are well-organized and focused.
Mr. Allan Also indirectly reminds us that the session is ending soon. PLEASE DO YOUR PART TO SEE THAT H.52 PASSES!! Be sure *your* legislators in both the House and Senate are well aware of your position and ask them to support House Bill 52!!
http://www.dpcma.org/News/WeeklyUpdates/tabid/786/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/519/Weekly-Update-July-16-2012.aspx
MAKE YOUR CALL TODAY!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keeping the message going

A group of MassHAFCC families ventured into the State House today to continue efforts to keep attention focused on H.52 during these last few weeks of the session. Postcards summarizing the minimal financial impact were delivered to every Representative and Senator. They were received very well!! Visit the MassHAFCC Facebook page for some smiling faces memorializing the day. Keep your calls coming in to your legislators in support of House Bill 52!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"...the cost of ONE postage stamp per member per YEAR."

The Health Business Blog recently commented on House Bill 52 in a blog entitled "Mandated hearing aids benefit for Massachusetts children: Sounds like a good idea to me" (see link below). The writer provides the more typical cons for *any* mandated coverage yet comes to the conclusion that the pros for this bill are far more persuasive. WE AGREE!
Keep up your telephones, emails and contacts to your legislators in support of the bill - your voice really does matter and does make a difference!!
www.healthbusinessblog.com/2012/07/mandated-hearing-aid-benefit-for-massachusetts-children-sounds-like-a-good-idea-to-me/

Thursday, July 12, 2012

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO PASS BILL!!

FINAL STAGES- WE NEED YOUR HELP!
 
We are very close to seeing House Bill 52, "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children" become a law! With just two weeks left in the legislative session, we still expect this bill to pass. It remains extremely important for everyone to stay involved. Your phone calls, testimony, letters, emails and general support of the bill have made a big difference. Our legislators have heard you and they continue to respond to you as constituents in support of this bill.

PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND ASK HIM/HER TO REQUEST THE SPEAKER TO MOVE THIS BILL TO THE HOUSE FLOOR FOR A VOTE!

PLEASE TAKE 5 MINUTES TO CALL YOUR SENATOR AND ASK HIM/HER TO TALK TO THE SENATE PRESIDENT TO PUT THIS BILL ON THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE!

Click here for contact information for all legislators: http://www.malegislature.gov/

We will continue to post information on our blog over the next two weeks: http://masshafcc.blogspot.com/

PLEASE CHECK OUR BLOG TO STAY INFORMED!

Let's make access to hearing aids a reality for all children in the Commonwealth with hearing loss!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We Are Very Close to Passing Bill!

Nice work everyone!!

Because of your hard work last week making phone calls and contacting your legislators, we received the mandate review report (cost analysis) for HB52 from the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy. The numbers are very favorable and confirm what we have known all along: that the implementation of House Bill 52 will have a minimal financial impact on health insurance premiums in MA.

The report concluded that the enactment of House Bill 52 will cause no more than a 0.015% increase to insurance premiums. This translates to an increase of $0.04 per member per month (using the mid-level scenario in the report, with $0.02 and $0.07 as the low and high-level cost estimates, respectively).

What needs to happen: House Ways and Means must report the bill out favorably. The House must vote on the bill. The Senate must vote. The Governor must sign the bill into law. While we have just 3 weeks left in the legislative session, we are extremely optimistic that this bill will pass this session.

What you can do: Please keep checking this blog frequently. With the end of the session drawing near, things happen daily at the State House that could affect this bill and your support thereof.

We know that we can count on you for your support!

Let's make this happen for all children with hearing loss in the Commonwealth! Your voice represents them.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We need your help to get report released!

House Bill 52 is still in House Ways and Means. The Division of Health Care Finance and Policy has not issued a mandate review report-- the cost analysis containing the numbers that will indicate how much the bill will cost the privately insured and the Commonwealth if the bill were passed. We have been anticipating the return of these numbers for months and we are fully expecting them to come back very low, in our favor and well below the average for mandated insurance bills. WE NEED THESE NUMBERS FROM THE DIVISION! Representative Dempsey, the House Chairman of Ways and Means, can request the numbers from the Division, which then has 10 days to provide the numbers.

Please call your Representative and ask him or her to call Chairman Dempsey's office to request the numbers from the Division. The more people that call in, the better chance we have of Chairman Dempsey making this a priority for Ways and Means.

Once Ways and Means has the cost analysis on the bill, we expect they will vote favorably on it and that it will reach the floor for a vote.

Please call this week-- your voice truly matters!

To find your Representative, go to: http://www.malegislature.gov/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breaking News: Bill has been released!

We are happy to report that the Joint Commitee on Health Care Finance has released House Bill 52, "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children." The bill will now go to the House Committee on Ways and Means. We continue to await a cost analysis on the bill from the Division of Health Care Finance.

Please call your Represenatives and Senators to let them know that House Bill 52 was released from committee and is now in Ways and Means!

To look up your Represenative or Senator, click on this link and look for "Find a Legislator" at top of page:  http://www.malegislature.gov/

We appreciate your continued support for this bill- this is great progress!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING at State House on April 10th!

Rep. Sean Garballey will be hosting a LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING for House Bill 52, "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children," on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the State House, Room 437. This is an opportunity for legislators to learn more about the bill, for co-sponsors to show their support and for us to advocate for the bill's passage. If you would like to join several of us who will be attending the briefing to speak directly to our legislators, please contact me at lcadams3@gmail.com.

Alternatively, you may call your local Representative and Senator and ask them to attend the briefing.

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March 6th is Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constituents' Day at the State House!

Come join us at the State House for "Deaf and Hard of Hearing Constitutents' Day" on March 6th! MassHAFCC will have a booth in the Great Hall, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and we have sent invitations to several legislators asking them to stop by. The Speaker and Senate President have been invited to the Great Hall to mingle with constituents as well. We hope to garner further support for HB 52, "An Act to Provide Access to Hearing Aids for Children." The event is being sponsored by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

If you cannot go, but wish that you could...consider writing a brief email to your legislator encouraging him/her to stop by our table and show support for the bill!

Below is a full schedule of events.

Thanks!



10am     Welcoming Remarks Master of Ceremonies
Kelly Kim, Vice Chair, Statewide Advisory Council for MCDHH
Legislative Greetings (Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, President of the Senate Therese Murray invited)
Heidi L. Reed, Commissioner, MCDHH    
Special Recognition: Gail Sallop, first full time American Sign Language Interpreter, has served in Massachusetts for 30 years. (Senator Katherine Clark, Representative James Dwyer, Representative Bradley Jones, Jr. invited)
10:30-12  Partnership strategies, community priorities, 40 pieces of legislation, and lessons learned: Making Your Case
Presenter:  Mary Hartnett, Executive Director, Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans
12-1             Lunch on your own 
1-4               Legislative visits (contact your legislator and schedule in advance)
Please contact Carl Richardson, State House ADA Coordinator,
at 617‐727‐1100 x35502 or email:
carl.richardson@state.ma.us for any questions or accommodations requests.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Where is HB 52 and What Can You Do to Help?

We have had a busy few months adovocating for HB 52 at the State House! During the legislative break in December, we met with several legislators to advocate for passage of the bill. We were also invited to meet with staff from the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to help define legislative intent for certain aspects of the bill. The bill rests with that committee as the Division of Health Care Finance conducts a mandate review (cost analysis). We are awaiting a report from that review, which we expect to see in March or early April.

We are also happy to report that MassHAFCC is now represented by the lobbying firm of Robert Travaglini, the former President of the Senate. We are thrilled to have the help of Mr. Travaglini and his colleagues and appreciate their efforts!

If you would like to help us advocate for passage of the bill, here is what you can do:

1. Write a brief email to your legislator asking him or her to support HB 52. This doesn't have to be anything formal or fancy-- it should take 10 minutes. Please scroll down to the bottom of this blog for a sample letter/email (feel free to cut and paste, adding in your family's story). To find out who your Senator and Representative and for contact information, go to: http://www.malegislature.gov/ and follow prompts.

OR

2. Call your legislator's office at the State House and ask him or her to support HB 52.

AND

3. Check our blog for updates on where the bill is and how you can help.

With your help, we can make this bill a law and a reality for our children. Your help really matters!