Zorn, former Miss Michigan highlight bill to help children with hearing loss

LANSING, Mich. Sen. Dale Zorn, former Miss Michigan KT Maviglia-Morgan of Dundee and state hearing loss advocates highlighted new legislation on Wednesday to help ensure all Michigan children up to age 19 can get necessary hearing devices.

“Many Michigan school children struggle with hearing loss, which can affect their education and last a lifetime,” said Zorn, R-Onsted. “Ensuring children with hearing loss can get a life-changing hearing device is about making sure that all students have the opportunity to succeed. I have been working on this issue for several years, but I will continue to fight for this coverage because the cost of inaction is too significant for children whose families cannot afford these devices.”

Senate Bill 1184 would require insurance coverage for hearing aids and related services that are medically necessary and prescribed by a physician or audiologist for children less than 19 years old. The maximum required coverage would be $3,000 per hearing aid every 36 months.

Zorn first introduced legislation on this issue in 2015 after working with Maviglia-Morgan, who was crowned Miss Michigan in 2014 with the platform “Listen Up: Advocating for those with hearing disabilities.” She was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age 9 and has two hearing aids.

“The cost of a hearing aid should never be a factor in a child’s education, and it is my hope that with this bill, no other children will have to go through the same struggle I did,” Maviglia-Morgan said. “With each year that students cannot afford a hearing device, they fall farther and farther behind and have to work twice as hard to make up for their loss. I am pleased to work with Senator Zorn on this legislation to help Michigan students reach their dreams.”

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 25 states have some form of requirement regarding commercial health insurers providing hearing aids to children.

SB 1184 has been referred to the Senate Health Policy and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/photowire/.

Photo caption: Sen. Dale Zorn, R-Onsted, and former Miss Michigan KT Maviglia-Morgan were joined by hearing loss advocates to highlight Zorn’s legislation to provide Michigan children up to age 19 with necessary hearing devices through their health insurance. Maviglia-Morgan was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss at age 9 and has two hearing aids. Senate Bill 1184 would require insurance coverage for hearing aids and related services that are medically necessary and prescribed by a physician or audiologist up to $3,000 per hearing aid every 36 months. Pictured from left: Hearing loss advocates Sidney Kraizman, Janel Frost and Tressa Sanders; Zorn; Maviglia-Morgan.