Nearly 50 million Americans have a speech, language or hearing disorder. The ability to communicate is essential to learning, working, social well being and living independently. When communication is impaired, it affects every aspect of a person's life, including interactions in the workplace. You can positively impact workplace communication by making sure that you provide adequate speech, language and hearing benefits under your health insurance. We always negotiate with health insurance carriers to implement ASHA's model speech, language and hearing benefits as part of our contract. It's an inexpensive benefit to offer -- less than 35 cents per covered employee per month. Yet, it's critical when an employee needs it.
Can you imagine struggling through a meeting unable to hear most of the conversation? Approximately 30 million Americans have a hearing loss and half of them are under age 50, so many of them are in the workplace. Today's digital hearing aid prices range from approximately $1,000 to $3,500 per hearing aid according to this post. The $2,000 benefit provided in our model language puts hearing aids within reach of those that need them.
Take a few minutes to watch this video and imagine what it might be like to be a parent of a child who stutters. Two out of every 10 children have some type of speech, language or hearing disorder. Although educational systems provide speech, language, and hearing services, they are available only to children who qualify under a very rigid set of federal regulations and state education laws. In addition, caseloads in the schools are high, so many children benefit from supplemental services. This can be a big worry and expense for parents if their health insurance provides inadequate coverage.
Make sure you know what your policy currently covers. Or better yet, do what we do and negotiate with your carrier to cover speech, language and hearing benefits as described in the ASHA's model language below.
ASHA Model Benefits (Aug 2011)