New law requires Maine insurers to cover hearing aids

January 1, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A law taking effect on New Year’s Day makes Maine the fifth state to require private health insurers to provide hearing aid benefit.

The law, the result of a bill sponsored by Rep. James Handy in 2019, requires private health insurers and the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare, to cover hearing aids up to $3,000 per ear every three years, the Portland Press Herald reports.

As many as 173,000 Mainers have some level of hearing impairment, according to a report by the state’s Bureau of Insurance in 2014.

State law previously required coverage for children under the age of 18 and capped the insurer’s expense at $1,400.

Maine joins Arkansas, Illinois, New Hampshire and Rhode Island in requiring hearing aid coverage for both children and adults, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.