Hugo, age 8, and his pals were cited in the passage of new state legislation mandating coverage of up to $6,000 for ad*lts and children. Olympia, Washington, was distraught when physicians told Hugo Esterhay’s parents that their 3-year-old son had mild to moderate hearing loss.
Hugo’s parents were able to pay for hearing aids and other aids so that his preschool instructors could communicate with him directly, even though their health insurance did not cover the cost. Hugo, now eight, credits hearing aids with enhancing his social life and academic performance in second grade.
Hugo stated, “Without these, I would be lost in school.” Hugo’s parents were shocked that their insurance company would not pay for a hearing aid. “It’s just unacceptable,” Jill Bujnevicie, Hugo’s mom, said. “Some people of all ages could benefit from hearing aids but do not have access to them.”
Rep. Tina Orwall (D), Des Moines, was the state lawmaker she got in touch with. “I was so surprised that this wasn’t covered. It seemed so fundamental,” Orwall remarked. She pushed for legislation that would make insurance companies pay for hearing aids up to $6,000.
Although Orwall sponsored the legislation in 2020, it did not become law until the current session. Orwall cited Hugo’s January appearance before the House of Representatives when he argued that hearing aids are important for children and ad*lts.
During the legislative process, additional deaf and hard-of-hearing children provided testimony. Orwall said that “everyone’s heart was turned on this issue” after Hugo and his pals arrived in Olympia.
Recent occurrences in Washington State need the following updates:
- Mental Health Facilities in Washington State Are in the Process of Being Updated.
- Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is ‘exploring’ Governorship.
This measure became law when Governor Jay Inslee signed it early Thursday morning. Inslee (D) Washington remarked, “I have a special junior legislator, Mr. Esterhay, today, who has advocated for this,” with Hugo standing by his side.
Hugo was given the governor’s pen with which he signed the measure into law. Hugo boasted, “I made a law,” after the signing ceremony.
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