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NEW FUNDING for ACC hearing loss claimants

An increase in Accident Compensation Corporation contributions towards the cost of hearing aids will make hearing aid technology more accessible for people suffering injury-related hearing loss. For the past few years, funding for injury-related hearing loss (medical misadventure, accident-related, or industrial-noise-related ) has been reduced from historic earlier levels, as well as a 6% threshold of injury-related loss being put in place.

However, new rules mean that from July 1, 2014, patients over 18 who meet ACC’s criteria will be able to use increased funding towards the costs of consultations with audiologists, and the cost of hearing aids. The changes are a result of a collaborative approach between the Ministry of Health, ACC, and the hearing loss sector, including the NZ Audiological Society.

As part of the changes, the previous ten funding bands (which were related to percentage loss due to injury) have been reduced the three.

  • Patients in band one will receive $934.95 per hearing aid
  • Patients in band two will receive $1308.70 per hearing aid
  • Patients in band three will receive $1832.53 per hearing aid.

In addition to this, a flat fitting fee will now be paid to audiologists, regardless of band allocated, of $934.95 for one aid and $1,288 for two aids. All subsidies include GST. ACC officials hope that this will help to keep the cost of aids to claimants down

Others changes include:

  • Contributions towards the cost of ear moulds, for both protection and as part of hearing aids
  • A contribution towards multiple repairs after the two-year warranty on a hearing aid has expired
  • A payment of $115 for up to two consultations with different clinics, so that eligible clients can get a second opinion or second quote if they wish.

While ACC clients can take advantage of the new funding assistance immediately, audiologists will need to wait until July 1, 2014 to receive payment for ACC hearing aids which were fitted before this date, but were approved after the changes were announced.

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