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OPM Asks FEHB Program Carriers to Enhance Hearing Care Benefits for Adults

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OPM Asks FEHB Program Carriers to Enhance Hearing Care Benefits for Adults

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently released an open letter, addressed to health insurance companies, known as its annual "call letter." The call letter (see below) outlines OPM's policy goals for the coming year and includes an annual call for proposals on benefits and rates from FEHB program carriers. The letter outlined OPM's goals for 2009 and includes a proposal to strengthen coverage for adults who experience hearing loss or have hearing aids. In the letter, the OPM stated, “ In last year’s call letter, we encouraged you to review your hearing benefits for newborns and children. We are pleased many carriers increased benefits with little or no additional premium cost. We are now strongly encouraging you to enhance hearing benefits for adults. We are seeking benefit proposals for professional services as well as hearing aids.”

As mentioned, in last year's call letter OPM encouraged carriers to submit proposals for increased coverage of hearing benefits for newborns and children. The OPM further stated, "Hearing loss is one of the most common congenital birth defects. We urge you to review your current hearing benefits to ensure that newborns and children have coverage for appropriate screenings, testing, diagnostic evaluations, and treatment by licensed hearing professionals, including audiologists. We are encouraging proposals that include benefits for both professional services as well as hearing aids."

In this most recent proposal, it appears that they have extended this policy and are encouraging plans to consider coverage of hearing benefits for adults in this most recent proposal. Academy staff is reviewing this proposal and will provide a complete analysis.