Employers Show Interest in Speech, Hearing Benefits Greater numbers of health plan professionals are interested in and promoting speech-language and hearing benefits, if interactions between ASHA staff and participants at the 55th Annual Employee Benefits Conference are any indication. The conference was held in Orlando late last fall. The conference is sponsored by the International Foundation of ... ASHA News
Free
ASHA News  |   January 01, 2010
Employers Show Interest in Speech, Hearing Benefits
Author Notes
  • Steven White, PhD, CCC-A, director of health care economics and advocacy, can be reached at swhite@asha.org.
    Steven White, PhD, CCC-A, director of health care economics and advocacy, can be reached at swhite@asha.org.×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   January 01, 2010
Employers Show Interest in Speech, Hearing Benefits
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.15012010.4
The ASHA Leader, January 2010, Vol. 15, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.AN2.15012010.4
Greater numbers of health plan professionals are interested in and promoting speech-language and hearing benefits, if interactions between ASHA staff and participants at the 55th Annual Employee Benefits Conference are any indication. The conference was held in Orlando late last fall.
The conference is sponsored by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), a nonprofit organization that educates and informs the employee benefits industry. It brings together professionals (trustees, administrators, attorneys, accountants, actuaries, investment managers, etc.) who work with, manage, or administer benefit trust funds.
Many conference participants stopped at the ASHA exhibit booth to speak about issues related to benefits for speech-language treatment, audiology services, and hearing aids:
  • A benefits consultant based in Los Angeles wanted to improve his clients’ hearing benefits; ASHA sent him relevant information about audiology benefits following the conference.

  • A director of a health claim review service asked for names of speech-language pathologists and audiologists to work as claims reviewers. He was enthusiastic to learn that ASHA is developing medical review guidelines and volunteered to review the latest draft.

  • A labor trustee discussed improving speech-language and audiology coverage for his members who belong to both the preferred provider organization and union plans, and was happy to receive ASHA materials on model benefits.

  • A trustee with a local union health benefits trust provided an update on her union’s hearing aid benefit. She had learned from ASHA staff at the 2007 conference that the local’s hearing aid benefit could be improved. She went back to her union and, with a new trustee who has hearing loss, convinced the local to improve its coverage from $800 per hearing aid to $5,000 per hearing aid every three years (after the beneficiary contributes the 20% co-pay).

Some of the conference attendees were also consumers of speech-language and hearing services. The father of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, for example, wanted to see benefits mandated beyond autism coverage; ASHA staff connected him with his state’s speech-language-hearing association and state advocate for reimbursement (STAR). STARs are ASHA members who advocate locally with legislators, state insurance commissioners, health plans, unions, and employers on private health plan reimbursement issues.
In a new partnership with IFEBP, ASHA will post “quick tips” on speech, language, and hearing benefits on the IFEBP Web site for 2009 conference attendees. The postings will include ASHA contact information and a link to the ASHA Web site.
0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
January 2010
Volume 15, Issue 1