Our five year old son Carson was born with a hearing impairment called Auditory Neuropathy which affects the auditory nerve and has caused him to be legally deaf. We were thrilled to learn from his doctors that with a common surgery called cochlear implants, Carson would start kindergarten with the ability to hear clearly for the first time. However, our insurance provider, Coventry Health Care of Georgia, has a written exclusion for cochlear implants.
The cost of the surgery without insurance is approximately $125,000 per ear- we don’t have that kind of money, and we’re shocked and saddened to learn that Coventry Health Care won’t cover this surgery. We found out that more than 90% of commercial health plans in the country do cover cochlear implant surgery - and Coventry Health Care is one of the largest health care companies in the United States.
For Carson, the surgery would be life changing. When he starts kindergarten in the fall, he’s not going to be able to hear his teachers and he already has trouble interacting with other kids at social events because he has difficulty hearing and speaking. With the surgery, he’ll be able to hear his own voice. We know that the cochlear implants aren’t a magic pill - Carson will need auditory verbal therapy after the surgery, but as his parents, we feel this is the best path for him.
According to the FDA, cochlear implants are now recognized as the standard treatment for severe-to-profound nerve deafness, and that’s why most insurance companies cover them. The National Institute of Health says about 210,000 children and adults around the world have received these implants. In the United States roughly 42,600 adults and 28,400 children have received them. Coventry Health Care should cover this procedure for families who decide that cochlear implant surgery is the right choice for them and their doctor.
Coventry Health Care should change their policy and allow Carson, and other children like him, to have the gift of hearing.