To our knowledge, all states recognize their Medicaid programs must cover hearing aids for children younger than 21 years, in accordance with the Medicaid statute’s early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment requirements. Advocates have contended that long-standing statutes and federal guidance also require this coverage for adults. As of 2016, however, only 28 states’ Medicaid programs covered hearing aids and related services for qualifying adults.1 Recent federal regulatory clarifications have further reinforced state Medicaid programs’ obligation to cover hearing aids for adults. Some additional states have since updated their Medicaid programs to include this coverage, but many have not done so. In state Medicaid programs that do not currently cover hearing aids for adults, many low-income enrollees either go without treatment for hearing loss or must pay high out-of-pocket costs. Herein, we discuss why hearing aids and related services should be covered for all Medicaid enrollees for whom they are medically necessary, regardless of age.
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Willink A, Hernando MA, Steege S. Why State Medicaid Programs Should Cover Hearing Aids for Adults. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online September 12, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2019.2616
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