The Vermont Statutes Online
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
NOTE: The online version of the Vermont Statutes does NOT yet include the actions of the 2023 legislative session. The 2023 updates should be available by the end of October.
Subchapter 001 : GENERALLY(Cite as: 8 V.S.A. § 4088l)
§ 4088l. Coverage for hearing aids [Effective January 1, 2024]
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Health insurance plan” means a group health insurance policy or health benefit plan offered by a health insurance company, nonprofit hospital or medical service corporation, or health maintenance organization, but does not include:
(A) a qualified health benefit plan or reflective health benefit plan offered in accordance with 33 V.S.A. chapter 18, subchapter 1;
(B) a health benefit plan offered by an intermunicipal insurance association to one or more entities providing educational services pursuant to 24 V.S.A. chapter 121, subchapter 6; or
(C) a policy or plan providing coverage for a specified disease or other limited benefit coverage.
(2) “Hearing aid” means any small, wearable electronic instrument or device designed and intended for the ear for the purpose of aiding or compensating for impaired human hearing and any related parts, attachments, or accessories, including earmolds and associated remote microphones that pair with hearing aids to improve word comprehension in difficult listening situations in live or telecommunication settings. The term does not include large-audience assisted listening devices, such as those designed for auditoriums, or stand-alone assisted listening devices that can function without a hearing aid.
(3) “Hearing aid professional services” means the practice of fitting, selecting, dispensing, selling, or servicing hearing aids, or a combination, including:
(A) evaluation for a hearing aid;
(B) fitting of a hearing aid;
(C) programming of a hearing aid;
(D) hearing aid repairs;
(E) follow-up adjustments, servicing, and maintenance of a hearing aid;
(F) ear mold impressions; and
(G) auditory rehabilitation and training.
(4) “Hearing care professional” means an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 67, a physician licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 23 or 33, a physician assistant licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 31, or an advanced practice registered nurse licensed under 26 V.S.A. chapter 28, working within that professional’s scope of practice.
(b)(1) A health insurance plan shall cover the cost of a hearing aid for each ear and the associated hearing aid professional services when the hearing aid or aids are prescribed, fitted, and dispensed by a hearing care professional. The coverage shall include hearing aid batteries when prescribed by a hearing care professional.
(2) A health insurance plan may limit coverage to not more than one hearing aid per ear every three years, except that a plan shall cover the cost of one or more new hearing aids for a covered individual prior to the expiration of the three-year period based on a hearing care professional’s determination that a new hearing aid for one or both ears is medically necessary.
(c)(1) Subject to the limitations set forth in subdivision (b)(2) of this section, the coverage provided by a health plan for hearing aids and associated services shall be limited only by medical necessity.
(2) A covered individual may select a hearing aid that exceeds the limits set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection and pay the additional cost.
(d) The coverage required by this section shall not be subject to a deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provision that is less favorable to a covered individual than the deductible, co-payment, or coinsurance provisions that apply generally to other nonprimary care items and services under the health insurance plan.
(e) A covered individual who has exhausted all applicable internal review procedures provided by the health insurance plan shall have the right to an independent external review as set forth in section 4089f of this title. (Added 2021, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. January 1, 2024.)