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HLAA Applauds United Healthcare's New Coverage of Bilateral Cochlear Implantation

HLAA is delighted to announce that at the urging of HLAA, United Healthcare, an innovative leader in the health and well-being industry, has reviewed appropriate scientific evidence and changed their clinical policies to allow coverage of bilateral cochlear implants for children and adults.

This is good news for HLAA constituents as it provides medical care that can have a profound, positive impact on the quality of their lives. Bilateral implantation is increasingly sought by HLAA members because of the clear benefits of binaural hearing. Members have told us that the bilateral implant sounds more natural and provides them with greater speech understanding than when functioning with only one implanted ear.

In a letter to Stephen Hemsley, President and CEO of United Health Group, HLAA brought the lack of coverage for children and adults to United Healthcare's attention and requested that they take action to bring United Healthcare in line with other large insurers to cover bilateral implantation. At their July 2009 meeting, United Healthcare reviewed clinical evidence supporting the use of cochlear implants. Based on their review of evidence, they changed policy to cover bilateral implantation for children, and for bilateral implantation of adults with post-lingual hearing loss. Implementation of the expanded coverage will be in August 2009.

We applaud United Healthcare for making changes to policy that has the potential to positively impact the lives of many children and adults who need bilateral cochlear implantation.

About the Hearing Loss Association of America

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), founded in 1979, opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support. HLAA publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, holds annual conventions, Walk4Hearing, and more. Information can be found at http://www.hearingloss.org. The national headquarters is located at 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20184. HLAA has chapters and state organizations across the country.

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