State-regulated health insurers would be required to cover the cost of medically necessary hearing aids for children 15 years and younger, under a bill signed today by acting Gov. Richard J. Codey.State-regulated health insurers would be required to cover the cost of medically necessary hearing aids for children 15 years and younger, under a bill signed today by acting Gov. Richard J. Codey.
"No child should be without access to medically-necessary hearing aids, which are especially critical in the formative years when kids develop the skills to speak and communicate," Codey said. "This new law is about guaranteeing children a level playing field to succeed, and build the skills they need to do well in life."
Codey is serving as acting governor this week as Gov. Jon S. Corzine travels outside the state to visit family, the governor''s office said.
The bill (S-467 and A-1571), which was signed in a public ceremony in Corzine''s outer office, requires insurers to provide $1,000 toward new hearing aids every 24 months. Under the bill, a covered individual could opt for a higher-priced hearing aid, but would have to pay the difference.
The law will take effect in April.
The legislation, also called "Grace''s Law," is named after 9-year-old Grace Gleba, of Washington Township in Warren County. Grace, born with congenital hearing loss, has been using hearing aids since she was 3 months old, and as a result, has developed sharp speaking skills, good grades, and has even participated in her school choir, the bill''s sponsors say. Grace and her mother Jeanine have testified on behalf of the bill in Trenton.