Podcast, Appeal Letter Address Insurance Denial of Voice Disorder Treatment Although voice disorders are a widespread and significant health problem—found in 3 to 7 percent of the general U.S. population—that can cost billions of dollars in lost productivity, many health care plans don’t cover their treatment. A new ASHA podcast explores this issue. Many health plans will cover surgical procedures ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   February 01, 2016
Podcast, Appeal Letter Address Insurance Denial of Voice Disorder Treatment
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Telepractice & Computer-Based Approaches / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   February 01, 2016
Podcast, Appeal Letter Address Insurance Denial of Voice Disorder Treatment
The ASHA Leader, February 2016, Vol. 21, 62. doi:10.1044/leader.AN5.21022016.62
The ASHA Leader, February 2016, Vol. 21, 62. doi:10.1044/leader.AN5.21022016.62
Although voice disorders are a widespread and significant health problem—found in 3 to 7 percent of the general U.S. population—that can cost billions of dollars in lost productivity, many health care plans don’t cover their treatment.
A new ASHA podcast explores this issue. Many health plans will cover surgical procedures on vocal cords or vocal nodules, but exclude treatment for muscle tension dysphonia and voice quality improvement, conditions that have no obvious organic pathology and are viewed as “cosmetic” or “voice training.”
The conditions are, however, recognized in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, and evidence indicates that voice therapy is the treatment of choice for muscle tension dysphonia. Untreated, they can lead to more complicated conditions that require surgery and cost much more to treat.
The podcast features an otolaryngologist, a speech-language pathologist, a patient with muscle tension dysphonia, and an ASHA specialist in private plan reimbursement.
If a patient’s insurance company specifically excludes voice treatment, there is usually no recourse for coverage. If an insurer that does not specifically exclude voice treatment denies coverage, clinicians can appeal the decision with ASHA-developed information.
ASHA’s appeal letter explains that coverage for muscle tension dysphonia should be provided because:
  • It is costly not to treat the disorder.

  • Research shows that voice therapy is an effective treatment for the disorder.

  • Without coverage, patients with untreated voice disorders experience fatigue, discomfort, poor voice quality and impaired communication ability.

For more information or to receive appeals information, contact Janet McCarty, ASHA director of private health plan reimbursement, at jmccarty@asha.org.
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February 2016
Volume 21, Issue 2