Sunday, April 25, 2021

Ally's Act Hopes To Ease Cost And Access To Hearing Aids

Communication is essential for all parts of a flourishing life. Melissa Tumblin and her daughter, Ally, want to make that life possible for all children. Ally's Act will help families acquire hearing devices like BAHAs and Cochlear implants by "ensuring that private insurance companies provide coverage" from birth to adults age 65. 

The act began by Ally Tumblin, co-Founder of Ear Community, writing to Congressman Joe Neguse "asking him to help advocate for hearing better." And he listened to Ally! Congressman Neguse got to work and named the effort and subsequent act "Ally's Act."

Surgeries, appointments, and the osseointegrated hearing devices (OIDs) hearing devices themselves will be covered when the act becomes law. A list of the comprehensive support this act hopes to provide includes the following for constituents in every state:

1. Coverage for a BAHA or CI device.
2. Upgrade replacement of these hearing devices every 5 years.
3. Cover accessories including soft band headband, hard band, and adhesives.
4. Cover repairs for these devices.
5. Cover (1) hearing assessment per year.
6. Cover (1) preoperative assessment per year.
7. Cover implantation surgery.
8. Cover post-operative medical appointments.
9. Cover post-operative audiological appointments for fittings, programming and activation.
10.Provide aural services related to the use of this device.

A number of law makers across the country, all members of the National Hearing Caucus, support the bill that was introduced at the end of January 2021. You, your family, and your doctors can write letters, call your senators, and encourage others in these congressional bodies to support this act.

When asking for this legislation to pass, Ally's Act is not just attempting to help others in the craniofacial community, but are also assisting the over 4.6 million people in the United States that make use of OID hearing technology. 

The act has many major corporate sponsors including, Stryker, Oticon, Cochlear, and Med-El. Many physicians and hospitals have written letters of support to their local and national senators and congressman urging them to make this a priority on the U.S. docket. Four committees have been assigned the bill with the hope that is will get the attention it needs within the legislative process. 

The Ear Community's website has a wealth of knowledge on who and how you can share the news about this legislation. They have letter writing suggestions, talking points for phone calls, and example letters to help you craft your ask. For instance, the website suggests,

When writing to your local Congress and Senate Representatives:
Please write to both your local Congressman/Women and Senators in the district in which you live (the reps over your zip code) because what matters most is that you are their constituent. You can find out who your local Congress representative is at the following link here. You can find out who your local Senate representative is at the following link here

Ear Community, Melissa Tumblin, and the super star herself, Ally, were featured on their local news station. Watch this segment to meet these incredible women and the work they are doing to improve the lives of millions of people. 


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