DOI: 10.2105/ajph.2023.307551 ISSN: 0090-0036

Longitudinal Policy Surveillance of Private Insurance Hearing Aid Mandates in the United States: 1997–2022

Michelle L. Arnold, Brianna J. Heslin, Madison Dowdy, Stacie P. Kershner, Serena Phillips, Brandy Lipton, Michael F. Pesko
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Objectives. To produce a database of private insurance hearing aid mandates in the United States and quantify the share of privately insured individuals covered by a mandate.

Methods. We used health-related policy surveillance methods to create a database of private insurance hearing aid mandates through January 2023. We coded salient features of mandates and combined policy data with American Community Survey and Medicare Expenditure Panel Survey–Insurance Component data to estimate the share of privately insured US residents covered by a mandate from 2008 to 2022.

Results. A total of 26 states and 1 territory had private insurance hearing aid mandates. We found variability for mandate exceptions, maximum age eligibility, allowable frequency of benefit use, and coverage amounts. Between 2008 and 2022 the proportion of privately insured youths (aged ≤ 18 years) living where there was a private insurance hearing aid mandate increased from 3.4% to 18.7% and the proportion of privately insured adults (19–64 years) increased from 0.3% to 4.6%.

Conclusions. Hearing aid mandates cover a small share of US residents. Mandate exceptions in several states limit coverage, particularly for adults.

Public Health Implications. A federal mandate would improve hearing aid access. States can also improve access by adopting exception-free mandates with limited utilization management and no age restrictions. ( Am J Public Health. 2024;114(4):407–414. )

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