FLAA Legislative Alert: HB 0079 Hearing in Appropriations Committee This Tuesday!


What a week! HB 0079 Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids for Children passed House Finance and Facilities unanimously. It was a wonderful hearing. Now, Chair Trumbull has scheduled the bill to be heard in the full Appropriations committee this Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

Please e-mail the Appropriations Committee TODAY to show your support of this bill!

A sample e-mail with e-mail addresses is listed below. Don’t forget to include your name and address at the bottom.

Email Block w/ Commas: Jay.Trumbull@myfloridahouse.gov, Lawrence.McClure@myfloridahouse.gov, Nicholas.Duran@myfloridahouse.gov, ramon.alexander@myfloridahouse.gov, Bryan.Avila@myfloridahouse.gov, Kamia.Brown@myfloridahouse.gov, tfisk@deafkidscan.org, Colleen.Burton@myfloridahouse.gov, James.Bush@myfloridahouse.gov, Ben.Diamond@myfloridahouse.gov, brad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov, Fentrice.Driskell@myfloridahouse.gov, Randy.Fine@myfloridahouse.gov, joseph.geller@myfloridahouse.gov, Erin.Grall@myfloridahouse.gov, Michael.Grant@myfloridahouse.gov, Blaise.Ingoglia@myfloridahouse.gov, Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov, Tom.Leek@myfloridahouse.gov, Ralph.Massullo@myfloridahouse.gov, Anika.Omphroy@myfloridahouse.gov, Daniel.Perez@myfloridahouse.gov, Scott.Plakon@myfloridahouse.gov, Rene.Plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov, Paul.Renner@myfloridahouse.gov, Rick.Roth@myfloridahouse.gov, cyndi.stevenson@myfloridahouse.gov, Josie.Tomkow@myfloridahouse.gov, Matt.Willhite@myfloridahouse.gov, Pat.Williams@myfloridahouse.gov, jayer.williamson@myfloridahouse.gov

Email Block w/ Semicolons: Jay.Trumbull@myfloridahouse.gov, Lawrence.McClure@myfloridahouse.gov; Nicholas.Duran@myfloridahouse.gov; ramon.alexander@myfloridahouse.gov; Bryan.Avila@myfloridahouse.gov; Kamia.Brown@myfloridahouse.gov; tfisk@deafkidscan.org; Colleen.Burton@myfloridahouse.gov; James.Bush@myfloridahouse.gov; Ben.Diamond@myfloridahouse.gov; brad.drake@myfloridahouse.gov; Fentrice.Driskell@myfloridahouse.gov; Randy.Fine@myfloridahouse.gov; joseph.geller@myfloridahouse.gov; Erin.Grall@myfloridahouse.gov; Michael.Grant@myfloridahouse.gov; Blaise.Ingoglia@myfloridahouse.gov; Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov; Tom.Leek@myfloridahouse.gov; Ralph.Massullo@myfloridahouse.gov; Anika.Omphroy@myfloridahouse.gov; Daniel.Perez@myfloridahouse.gov; Scott.Plakon@myfloridahouse.gov; Rene.Plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov; Paul.Renner@myfloridahouse.gov; Rick.Roth@myfloridahouse.gov; cyndi.stevenson@myfloridahouse.gov; Josie.Tomkow@myfloridahouse.gov; Matt.Willhite@myfloridahouse.gov; Pat.Williams@myfloridahouse.gov; jayer.williamson@myfloridahouse.gov

Subject: Please Vote YES for HB 0079!

Members of House Appropriations,

First, thank you for hearing HB 0079 Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids for Children. Thank you also for your overall support of children with hearing loss and ensuring that Florida’s families can access the services they need for their children regardless of communication mode.

The majority of families today choose a spoken language path for their children, which is possible thanks to the work of the Florida legislature, DOH, DOE, and Governor DeSantis in making auditory oral services available to children no matter where in Florida they live. Unfortunately, some families are unable to take advantage of these services because their insurance companies deny claims for medically necessary hearing aids.

Did you know that untreated pediatric hearing loss costs $420,000 in special education costs per child and $1 million over the lifetime of the individual? The impact to each Floridian for failure to treat the 461 children addressed by HB 0079 is $461 million or $21.46 per citizen of Florida. Coverage would cost $0.74 per covered life.

Additionally, children with even mild to moderate hearing loss who do not receive needed interventions are often one to four grade levels behind hearing peers. Children with a unilateral hearing loss are 10 times more likely to fail a grade than their hearing peers. Medically necessary hearing aids give children access to learn. Children with appropriate access to sound and competent, credentialed auditory oral services achieve language and literacy skills on par with hearing peers and succeed in mainstream classrooms with minimal interventions typically by or before first grade.

The Florida Legislature, DOH, DOE, and Governor DeSantis are national leaders in caring for children with hearing loss and ensuring access to auditory oral services. However, children must have strong access to sound to take advantage of those services. The opportunity for a child with hearing loss to learn to listen and speak is only available in a very narrow neurological window during the first years of life.

Please help ensure that Florida’s children with hearing loss have the opportunity to listen, speak, and thrive. Please vote YES for HB 0079.