"On Deaf Ears"

Miss-Delectable

New Member
"On Deaf Ears" | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | I-Team



Imagine having a child that is born deaf.

You pay your insurance premiums, and those insurance companies then refuse to pay for hearing aids or surgery that would allow your child to hear.

It's a scenario happening here in Wisconsin.

Deaf Wisconsin children with insurance are being denied payment for hearing aids.

One Wisconsin lawmaker with ties to the insurance industry is standing in the way.

Imagine having a child that is born deaf.

We recently met Amy Boehler who described the first time her 4-year-old son put on his hearing aid. "He just sat with his mouth open for hours with amazement that 'there's sound in this world.'

Little devices are making a big difference.

The problem is Wisconsin does not require insurance companies to cover hearing aids.

Representative Frank Lasee chairs the Insurance Committee. We tried to question him about why child hearing aids are not covered in Wisconsin. "Every parent wants as much as they can get for their children. We all have to pay for it. That's how it works," Lasee told us.

Fifteen-month-old Manny Wilke was born deaf. He got his first hearing aid when he was 3-weeks-old.

Tiffnay Wilke is Manny's mother. "Immediately we put it on him and his eyes just bugged out and he was like, 'Wow. What's going on?"

The joy soon turned to pain when the Wilkes were told that Manny's $5,000 hearing aids were not covered by insurance. "You break a leg you get a cast paid for. He has broken ears and I can't get that fixed."

Wisconsin does not require insurance companies to cover hearing aids for kids like Manny. That infuriates Wilke. "When I see a piece of equipment that can either lead him down this life or this life I just think it is so wrong not to have that opportunity."

It could be a costly opportunity, up to a million dollars to educate a child who doesn't get proper hearing help.

Beaver Dam High School student Heather Schreiber has been deaf since birth. She tearfully recounted the sacrifices her family made. "I just can not imagine what it would be like if I couldn't hear. I'm very blessed to be... that they cared enough and loved me enough to do this for me and pay for something that they really didn't have to do."

But her family did it. Because they don't live in Minnesota, which requires insurance companies to cover hearing aids, the family had to make those financial sacrifices to purchase Heather's hearing aids.

Four-year-old Dylan Boehler was also born deaf. At three and half he only spoke 100 words, before being diagnosed. His family struggled to pay for the hearing aids that opened up his quiet world. Amy Boehler is Dylan's mother. "His first sound he heard was raining on the car ride home when he got his hearing aids and the rain was beating on the car and it was really neat to see him not knowing that rain ever made a sound."

Now Dylan is all caught up with his classmates. But Boehler is angry that her family has to struggle to cover a basic necessity. "Would you expect your child to go to school without glasses if they couldn't read the chalk board? You wouldn't want your child sitting in class not understanding what the teacher was writing. Why would you expect a child to go to class and not hear the instructions the teacher gives?"

We wondered why this is allowed to happen in Wisconsin. The answer led us to one man; DePere Representative Frank Lasee. Lasee is head of the Insurance Committee where a bill to mandate insurance coverage for child hearing aids is stalled. Lasee has refused to even allow a public hearing on the matter.

We recently traveled to Madison to ask Representative Lasee about insurance coverage for hearing aids. He told us, "We have to be very careful on adding more mandates on our insurance coverage. It's increasingly more difficult for people to afford."

Apparently insurance companies can afford to fund Representative Lasee's campaigns. His contributors read like a who's who in the insurance industry; Northwestern Mutual, Sentry Insurance, American Family, AMS Insurance, Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

We asked Lasee about that:

Mercure: "Insurance companies are the third leading contributor by industry to your campaign coffers. Does that influence how you handle this issue?"

Rep. Frank Lasee: "Uh no it doesn't"

Alicia Boehme has a deaf child and isn't' buying it. "To have one legislator stand in our way and have the power to squelch the bill is extraordinarily frustrating."

So while a majority of insurance companies don't cover those hearing devices for our kids, if you work here in the state capitol, like Representative Lasee, and your child needs a hearing device, it's covered under state insurance that you and I pay for.

Mercure: "Does your health insurance through the state cover these hearing devices?

Rep. Frank Lasee: "It does. It does now. It has for about the last ten years from my understanding."

Parents like Tiffany Wilke remain frustrated. "It's not an experimental drug. It's not an experimental this or that. It's a piece of equipment."

And some kids aren't getting the help their families can't afford. Heather Screiber knows how important that help is. I think it's pretty unfair. You should be able to have the right to be able to hear. It's not your fault that you were made that way."

After we talked to Representative Lasee, he decided to hold that public hearing. But he is not promising that the bill will ever come out of committee for vote.

The same bill passed the State Senate on a bipartisan voice vote.
 

Buffalo

Active Member
I had problems getting a health insurance because those certain insurance companies don't want to insure a deaf person as they think I would drop the insurance once I get a CI. All I need was a health insurance and I don't want CI and still don't. I had to go with Blue Cross Blue Shield. I found that scary. What if there is no such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and suppose I got a heatlh crisis.

If they don't want to pay for CI, they shouldn't insure any hearing person. Look at Rush Limbaugh....he got CI few months after he lost his hearing.
 

shel90

Audist are not welcome
Premium Member
I am a little confused..are they talking about CIs or BTE hearing aids?
 

Bebonang

Active Member
Wow!!! :shock: I did not know that Rush Limbaugh has CI. I am not aware of his losing his hearing loss. This is news for me. Years ago I really don't like him that much at all when he badmouth everything negative or was it, just because I did not have a close captioned program back then when he was on the show. I don't remember.

As for the article on the first thread, I don't know much about different kinds of insurance which will help pay for the hearing aids and other related health care. I have a health card that will only pay for certain medical health care, like for glasses, it is not cover and for hearing aids it is cover only sometimes it is cover part of the amount. It depend what the insurance want to pay or not, I guess. I am not too keen on insurance. :confused:
 

jillio

New Member
Wow!!! :shock: I did not know that Rush Limbaugh has CI. I am not aware of his losing his hearing loss. This is news for me. Years ago I really don't like him that much at all when he badmouth everything negative or was it, just because I did not have a close captioned program back then when he was on the show. I don't remember.

As for the article on the first thread, I don't know much about different kinds of insurance which will help pay for the hearing aids and other related health care. I have a health card that will only pay for certain medical health care, like for glasses, it is not cover and for hearing aids it is cover only sometimes it is cover part of the amount. It depend what the insurance want to pay or not, I guess. I am not too keen on insurance. :confused:
Yeppers. He lost his hearing as the result of prescription drug abuse. Guess all of his holier than thou rants came back to bite him in the ear!
 

Miss-Delectable

New Member
On Deaf Ears Folo

On Deaf Ears Folo | Today's TMJ4 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin News, Weather, Sports, WTMJ | I-Team



Some deaf Wisconsin children continue to go without the tools that could bring sounds to their silent world.

Insurance companies refuse to pay for hearing aid coverage saying it would raise everyone's rates. The reality is that the costs would be less than the cost of one Sunday newspaper. That's what it would cost each policy holder in Wisconsin annually to provide hearing aids to deaf children.

Two and half year old Abigail Brensel needs a $ 100,000 cochlear implant to enter the hearing world, which most of us take for granted. Her insurance doesnt cover it, so Abigail remains in a quiet world.

Ann Brensel, Abigail's mother recently told us, "We know there's help out there for our daughter but we aren't able to access it. We don't have the funds to pay out of pocket."

Studies show that forcing insurance companies to cover hearing aids and cochlear implants for kids like Abigail would cost the average policy holder $1.27 per year.

"The children can't speak for themselves at such a young age and it's about the children," Brensel frustratingly told us.

Representative Frank Lasee chairs the insurance committee where the bill is stalled. "I know it's difficult for them. It's hard. There are other out of pocket costs that people cover that their insurance doesn't. This is one of them," lasee recently told us in Madison.

Coverage for child hearing aids would cost each of us $1.27 per year. Experts say without those hearing aids it cost upwards of one million dollars to educate and subsidize a deaf child who grows into a deaf member of our society.

It would seem to be money well spent to get our hard of hearing kids the help they need now.
 

Buffalo

Active Member
:giggle:

Did it teach him some empathy toward the deaf and others? I wonder
I had hoped that he would learn something when he went deaf. As far as I know he hasn't. I bought his book "See, I told you so" because I was curious about him and his radio show. I found him to be very immature. A democrat friend of mine was upset with me for buying Rush's book until I told him that I bought it used. You know, royalty goes to him but he didn't get any in my case.

I googled and found that Lorcet and Vicodin do cause hearing loss if one abuse those drugs.
 
Top