The Hearing Industry Association (HIA), the main trade organization for hearing aid manufacturers, has released a press statement about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HIA says that the ruling will have little effect on the hearing industry and device manufacturers.
HIA wrote in its release about the ACA’s 2.3% Medical Device Tax, which will now go into effect on January 1, 2013 as anticipated. However, as a result of an HIA-led lobbying effort, the ACA specifically exempts hearing aids from this new tax.
Similarly, HIA further noted that the ACA most likely will not require hearing manufacturers to report gifts to physicians and hearing hospitals. The release states:
The Court’s decision on the ACA also leaves in place federal sunshine provisions that are now likely to be finalized in the near future by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Once a final rule is adopted, covered device manufacturers will be required to report all gifts and transfers of value to physicians and teaching hospitals for inclusion in a publicly-available database. The proposed rule, which was issued in December 2011, would not apply to hearing aids, since it would cover only medical devices that require FDA premarket approval. If the sunshine provisions were overturned, it is likely that Congress and various states would have revisited the issue, which has bipartisan support and is generally supported by many in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.
Beyond the above assessment, HIA notes that hearing aids will be left out of ACA’s Essential Health Benefits (EHB) package, a provision that would have required all insurers to cover hearing aids. HIA and other hearing health advocacy groups are still working to include hearing aids in the EHB.