South Carolina Legislative Issues
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Hearing Aid Insurance Mandate Bill Introduced
Rep. James Smith and Chip Huggins introduced a bill that would do the following:
A health insurance plan must provide coverage for hearing aids and replacement hearing aids for a covered individual with impaired hearing. This coverage must include evaluation, fitting, dispensing, programming, servicing, follow-up maintenance, and repairs, including providing ear molds as necessary to maintain optimal fit, and prescribed and dispensed by the treating licensed audiologist of the insured. A health insurance plan may not deny or refuse coverage on, refuse to contract with, or refuse to renew or refuse to reissue or otherwise terminate or restrict coverage on a covered individual solely because he is or has been previously diagnosed with hearing loss.
A covered individual must be diagnosed with permanent hearing loss by a licensed audiologist to be eligible for coverage under this section.
An insurer shall provide this coverage to an eligible individual who is eighteen years of age or younger.
Coverage for an initial hearing aid and a replacement is subject to a one thousand five-hundred-dollar minimum amount and up to a three thousand dollar maximum amount for a hearing impaired ear benefit in a thirty-six month period.
The bill has this coming Legislative Session in 2018 to be considered and adopted.
October 2016 was named Audiology Awareness Month officially by Governor's Proclamation. We are honored to receive this recognition.
Update from John DeWorken on June 2017:
SCAA lobbyists reviewed hundreds of bills introduced and provisos (narratives) in the budget to ensure no harmful language was introduced that would impact South Carolina audiologists or members of the SC Academy of Audiology. SCAA lobbyists are pleased to report that no bills or provisos were introduced that would negatively impact audiologists. And, none were considered that allow hearing aid specialists from impeding on the exclusive responsibilities of audiologists.
The South Carolina Legislature adjourned In June. It will convene to take up the people’s business again on January 9, 2018. However, a resolution was passed for the Legislature to reconvene May 23 to take up conference reports (a few remain) and the budget. The Legislature may appear briefly, again, in June to take up any Governor McMaster budget vetoes. Other than those issues, all other issues will have to wait for the Legislature to reconvene in January.
Prior to establishing the Sunnie & DeWorken Group, Sunnie and John
created and served as chief lobbyists for the Upstate Chamber
Coalition, representing 8,000 businesses at ten Upstate chambers
Earning two degrees from Clemson University (BS Marketing/BA Political Science), Sunnie Harmon is a two-time Captain of the Clemson University Women’s Tennis Team and an Academic All-American. Sunnie began her career with Congressman Gresham Barrett. In her first year lobbying, Sunnie received the “Rookie Lobbyist of the Year Award” from her peers. In 2011, Sunnie was named the “2011 Economic Development Lobbyist of the Year.”
John DeWorken is a three-time graduate of Clemson University (MA English). He has held key positions in the SC Senate, the SC Chamber of Commerce and on a statewide political campaign. Greenville Magazine twice named DeWorken as “The Top 50 Most Influential People in Greenville."
The SUNNIE Harmon & John DeWORKEN Group
Government Relations and Advocacy
PO Box 9793
Greenville, SC 29604
Our Mission: Give each individual client a voice to affect change.
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