SD15 - Mandated Coverage for Hearing Aids

Executive Summary:
The 2001 House Committee on Corporations, Insurance and Banking referred Senate Bill 1191 to the Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits (Advisory Commission). Senate Bill 1191 is patroned by Senator R. Edward Houck.

The Advisory Commission held a public hearing on June 4, 2001 in Richmond to receive public comments on Senate Bill 1191. In addition to the bill's chief patron, eight interested parties spoke in favor of Senate Bill 1191. All eight were representatives of the deaf and hard of hearing community. Representatives from the Virginia Association for the Deaf and Blind, Northern Virginia Roundtable for People with Hearing Loss, Self Help for Hard of Hearing, Central Virginia Independent living Center, Independent Center of Norfolk, and the Northern Virginia Resource Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons gave testimony in favor of Senate Bill 1191. An audiologist who did not acknowledge her position on the legislation spoke to the Advisory Commission meeting by teleconference.

Four parties spoke in opposition to Senate Bill 1191. The groups in opposition were the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFlB), the Health Insurance Association of America (HIM), Virginia Retail Merchants Association, and Virginia Association of Health Plans (VAHP).

In addition, several letters were received by the Advisory Commission addressing Senate Bill 1191. Three of the letters supported the bill, and six of the letters acknowledged their opposition to the proposed mandate.