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Central Illinois family is closer to getting state mandated insurance coverage of hearing aids

A central Illinois family is a step closer to getting coverage for the hearing aids their children rely on.

Illinois doesn't mandate that insurance companies cover hearing aids, so children are only covered under early intervention until their third birthday, meaning families are left to pay the rest out of pocket.

That's the case for the Martin family, who has not one, but two children who rely on hearing aids.

We first introduced you to the children who have furthered the family's fight in Springfield a year ago, and, now, lawmakers are listening up.

"They say 'you're gonna be a great lawmaker someday.'" 10-year-old Hunter Martin says of his plea to lawmakers.

High-level talk on the playground for Martin. The fifth grader is certainly getting plenty of practice with lawmaking.

"Like glasses, if you don't have them, you can't see. If you don't have hearing aids, you can't hear, so it's a part of life." Martin explains.

It seems simple enough.

"I was shocked because it was not cosmetic, there's nothing cosmetic about my children needing to be able to hear, it's everyday life." Hunter's Mom, Ramona, says.

Since 10-year-old Hunter and 7-year-old Owen were diagnosed with hearing loss at birth, the Martins have shelled out $4,200 every three years for each child's hearing aids.

"They need them to be able to hear when they're walking down the street so that a car doesn't come along and hit them, every day they need to be able to hear." Martin says.

Martin has been pushing since 2012 to get a bill written mandating insurance coverage of hearing aids, but now Hunter, and Owen, have helped to further the family's fight, speaking in front of Illinois lawmakers, who were all ears, in the house and senate.

"I want all kids to have hearing aids." Owen says.

Soon they just might be able to because bill 4516 cleared the house and senate.

"It would just give us more freedom to do more for the kids, more activities, more sports, and not have to worry about the hearing aids in the budget."

Hunter an Owen are making moves and trying not to let the celebrity get to them.

"It's exciting for me. It's really fun because I get to be on the news." Owen says.

They hope one more person is listening up and hears their message loud and clear, as the bill now awaits a signature from Governor Bruce Rauner.

"All he needs to do is just sign it and then it's gonna be a law." Hunter says.

If it's signed into law, it will take effect on January 1st.


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