STAND. COM. REP. NO. 178
RE: H.B. No. 469
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Health, to which was referred H.B. No. 469 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HEARING AIDS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to require health insurers in the State to provide coverage for hearing aids for all types of hearing loss with a minimum benefit of $1,500 for each hearing-impaired ear every thirty-six months.
The Disability and Communication Access Board and a few individuals testified in support of this measure. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Department of the Attorney General, and Hawaii Medical Service Association provided comments.
Your Committee notes that concerns were raised in testimony from the DCCA that this new mandated coverage would require an assessment by the State Auditor of the mandated coverage's social and financial impacts. Testimony from the Disability and Communication Access Board pointed out that the Auditor completed an assessment of a similar measure in 2015. The DCCA pointed out that this measure contains a minimum benefit while the measure assessed by the Auditor did not.
Finally, your Committee notes that concerns were raised in testimony from the Department of the Attorney General that the State may be required to defray the costs as required by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Changing the minimum benefit amount an insurer must provide from $1,500 to an unspecified amount;
(2) Changing its effective date to July 1, 2050, to promote further discussion; and
(3) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 469, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 469, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health,
JOHN M. MIZUNO, Chair