“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” - William James
We’re often told that the bounds of our imagination impact our own limitations. Many of us have dreams and desires and a wish to see real change. When we’re kids, our dreams truly seem limitless. Oftentimes as we grow up, so does our own inner-voice. The one that says “that’s not realistic.” Unfortunately, our inner voice often wins out. The result is that we lose motivation and feel that we’re never going to make a difference.
One little girl whose dreams could truly make a difference is Ally Tumblin. Ally, from Broomfield Colorado, could potentially see a federal law named after her.
Ally was born with a condition known as Microtia ad aural Atrecia. Stanford Children’s Health defines this condition as “a congenital deformity of the outer ear where the ear does not fully develop during the first trimester of pregnancy.”
As a result of the Microtia Atrecia, Ally can only hear with a specialized bone-anchored hearing device. Melissa Tumblin, Ally’s mother, said these can cost anywhere between $5,000 - $12,000. The device needs to be replaced about every 5 years. Insurance doesn’t cover these costs. Ally decided to act.
What is Ally's Act?
Ally’s condition requires expensive bone-anchored hearing aid devices. Thankfully, her parents were able to afford the devices. Thousands of other children, however, are not as fortunate.
As reported by CBS4 Denver, “Insurance providers may believe it’s experimental technology, it’s not a real hearing aid or it is a hearing aid but we don’t cover hearing aids. We’ve heard it all. We’ve even heard that these devices are considered cosmetic. Ally clearly needed help so she could speak, and it’s also a safety issue,” says Melissa Tumblin, Ally’s mom.
In an attempt to help people with appeals and insurance claims, Melissa started the non-profit Ear Community. Melissa had been able to “secure 120 donated devices to help those who can’t afford them.” But until Ally’s letter, Melissa had been unable to get the attention of lawmakers.
Ally wrote a letter to Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse as part of a third-grade project at Mountain View Elementary School in Broomfield. In her letter, Ally details her condition.
“Please help me advocate for hearing better by mandating hearing devices coverage,” she wrote. Ally’s letter worked.
CBS4 Denver reports: “We got to work,” says Congressman Neguse. He wrote Ally back saying she is “selfless” and is helping “change the world”. He then introduced Ally’s Act, “It essentially says that private insurance companies will ensure that this device is covered from here on out.”
How Can Ally’s Act Impact Hearing Device Coverage?
Ear Community notes that: “Ally’s Act, H.R. 5485 is a bipartisan national level bill that was introduced on December 18th, 2019 ensuring that private insurance companies provide coverage for osseointegrated hearing devices (“OIDs”), including Bone Anchored Hearing Aids (“BAHA”) and Cochlear Implants (“CIs”).”
“Ally’s Act would help ensure that private insurance providers cover these costs including the cost of these hearing devices and their accessories, surgery and medical exams as noted in our bill. If Ally’s Act becomes the law, this bill would help hundreds of thousands of children and adults of all ages have insurance coverage for these devices and here on out.” (Source)
In order for Ally’s Act to be made the law, it still needs additional support. For a template letter to that you can send to your local Congress Representatives and Senators, click here.
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