- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 3, 2019

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A bill that would require most health insurance plans to cover hearing aids for children and teenagers has won first-round approval from Nebraska lawmakers.

Senators advanced the measure Wednesday through the first of three votes.

The proposal by Sen. Carol Blood, of Bellevue, would require plans to cover expenses associated with hearing aids for Nebraska residents younger than 19.

Blood says the $1,500 to $3,000 cost of hearing aids is unaffordable for many families. Blood was deaf as a child and says hearing aids are a lifeline even though many insurance companies consider the insertion of hearing aids an elective procedure.

The bill includes some exemptions for small businesses and companies that can show the expense is greater than one percent of their annual premium dollars.

The vote was 39-0.

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