My daughter was born profoundly deaf, and as we began to look into hearing aids and cochlear implants, I was thrown into a world I knew nothing about -- insurance. Sure, I had gone to doctors’ appointments, picked up prescriptions, and had been in the hospital when I had my children, but I never thought about insurance coverage.
Now, I had to learn to navigate the world of American health insurance so my daughter could have the hearing technology she needed. This became a full-time job for the first year. During this time, I learned a lot from the insurance representatives I spoke with, from other families, and through trial and error.
For someone starting out on the process of getting a cochlear implant here in America, the task of dealing with insurance may be daunting.
We have had a close relationship with our insurance company over the last twenty years. We are intimately familiar with the process of having to use insurance several times a year, not only for hearing technology, but for type 1 diabetes supplies. In just the past two years, we’ve been managing durable medical equipment (DME) orders for my daughter’s insulin pump as well as her recent upgrade to Marvel CI processors.
So, I am keenly aware that, for someone starting out on the process of getting a cochlear implant here in the US, the task of dealing with insurance may be daunting. Here are some of the tips that we’ve gathered along the way that may be helpful:
If you’re a parent of a child with CIs, here are two extra tips.
Making all the decisions that come with getting a cochlear implant is oftentimes emotional and stressful. Throw in the complication of having to deal with insurance, and it can be overwhelming for the best of us. While every insurance company and policy is different, the ongoing patience and self-advocacy required to get things done is arguably the same. So, with persistence, knowledge, and good manners, you can make the most of your health insurance for your cochlear implant and other durable medical equipment.
Helen is the Consumer Outreach & Engagement Manager with Advanced Bionics. She lives in Arizona with her husband and five children. Helen has a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology from Arizona State University and has a long history of working and volunteering in the hearing healthcare field.