Pictured (left): Brothers Hunter and Owen Martin join State Senator Julie Morrison after testifying in support of HB 4516.

HunterOwenMartinSPRINGFIELD – Insurance companies will be required to cover prescribed hearing aids for minors in Illinois under a new law sponsored by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) that was signed today.

“When a child cannot hear properly, a host of problems can arise, including falling behind in school and behavioral challenges,” Morrison said. “Hearing aids are medically necessary for children to successfully go to school and grow. We must ensure they are available to all children who need them.”

The new law, passed under House Bill 4516, requires insurers in Illinois to cover prescribed hearing aids to minors as well as cover related services and repairs when necessary. While the number of children in Illinois who need hearing aids is relatively small at fewer than 5,000, the nature of children’s hearing disabilities is usually different from adults and requires different kinds of hearing aids.

In May, Morrison was joined by two Illinois brothers who both have bilateral sensorineural hearing loss and testified in the Senate Insurance Committee about the importance of hearing aids in their daily life.

“I was three months old when I first got my hearing aids,” 10-year old Hunter Martin said. “If I have to go to school without them, I feel like the volume on the school is turned down all the way. I get upset when I have to keep asking people to repeat what they are saying. I feel like I am bothering them. And I feel left out when I don’t hear what other kids hear.”

Morrison gives credit to the brothers for the ultimate passing of House Bill 4516.

“I am so very proud of the hard work and dedication of Hunter and Owen, who both told legislators their story of why it is so important that all kids have access to hearing aids,” Morrison said. “Because of their advocacy, minors will now have more access to a device that can make all the difference in a child’s world.”

House Bill 4516 was signed into law today and takes effect immediately.