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Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Campaign Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids.

HLAA is embarking on a campaign to support enactment of the Help Extend Auditory Relief Act of 2013, HR 3150, the Hear Act by Congress. The HEAR ACT would provide for hearing Medicare coverage of hearing health services and hearing aids.

HLAA Michigan State Association is supporting this campaign. Along with our national organization, we are asking you to help support the campaign by writing a letter to your representative in Congress. Let your representative know just how important hearing is to you and how coverage under Medicare will help you and your family, your friends and your community. Please read the information below about HR 3150, copy and paste the sample letter that follows into an email, or write your own message, and send it to your representative in Congress today.

ACTION NEEDED - HEARING AID COVERAGE UNDER MEDICARE: YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
In September of 2013 a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that if passed would provide hearing aid coverage under Medicare. Specifically, HR 3150, the Help Extend Auditory Relief Act of 2013 would:

> amend the Social Security Act to include Medicare coverage for hearing rehabilitation, including a comprehensive audiology assessment to determine if a hearing aid is appropriate, a threshold test to determine audio acuity, and various services associated with fitting, adjusting, and using hearing aids.

> extend Medicare coverage to hearing aids, defining them as any wearable instrument or device for compensating for hearing loss.

To date only 21 US Representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill. Let's make our voices heard! You do not need to be 65 years and older to advocate that your representative support this bill by signing on as a co-sponsor. We all know a family member or friend who could benefit from the passage of this law and believe it or not, someday you will be over 65.
The only member of the House of Representative from Michigan who is a co-sponsor at this time is Representative Gary Peters. If you live in his district we urge you to send a message to Rep. Peters thanking him for his support.
If you are in any other district, please contact your representative by phone or email and urge him/her to co-sponsor this bill. Include a reminder that one out of 3 people over the age of 65 has a hearing loss and this is the age group that is the most politically active and has the highest percentage of voters. Many of these constituents would be hugely grateful for this support. Make your comments short, to the point and from the heart.
If you do not know who your representative is, go to: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and search by zip code. Use your representative's email to send your comments and make your feelings known. A sample letter follows at the end of this message.
If you would like to read the text of this bill, go to: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:h.r.3150:
Content for this message is taken primarily from the HLAA website. For more detail see: http://www.hearingloss.org/content/hearing-aid-coverage-medicare
Thank you for your advocacy effort! Hearing Loss Association of America,
Michigan State Association Advocacy Committee

SAMPLE LETTER: You can use the sample letter below to get started:

The Honorable (your representative's name)
US House of Representatives
Washington, DC


Dear Representative,


I write to you today to express my support for H.R. 3150, the Help Extend Auditory Relief Act of 2013, introduced by Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-17). Nearly 17% of all Americans report some sort of hearing loss, including a third of all individuals over the age of 65. A study conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) found that individuals over 50 years of age living with untreated hearing loss and are more likely to become isolated and suffer from depression. Other studies have shown a link between hearing loss and dementia.

For many people, hearing aids are a simple solution. They can significantly improve quality of life. Unfortunately, without the benefit of insurance coverage, hearing aids and related hearing services can be prohibitively expensive. Currently, Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids, leaving seniors to pay out of pocket for their hearing exams and hearing aids except for those who have private insurance that covers part of the cost; and such policies are few. Hearing aids are incredibly expensive, ranging from $600 to over $5,000 each. These high price tags prevent many seniors from seeking a very basic solution that could dramatically improve their lives.

The Help Extend Auditory Relief Act of 2013 would benefit America's seniors by amending the Social Security Act to include Medicare coverage for hearing rehabilitation, including hearing tests and hearing aids. Under H.R. 3150, Medicare recipients could receive a comprehensive audiology assessment to determine if a hearing aid is appropriate, a threshold test to determine audio acuity, and various services associated with fitting, adjusting, and using hearing aids.

I urge you to co-sponsor The Help Extend Auditory Relief Act to improve the health and quality of life for many seniors. Please become a cosponsor of this important bill today.

Sincerely,

[Be sure to sign your name and include your address]

cc: msoadvocacy@aol.com

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