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ACC enhances support for injury-related hearing loss

ACC Media Release

27 February 2014

ACC enhances support for people with injury-related hearing loss

An enhanced range of support for people with injury-related hearing loss will come into effect on 1 July 2014.

The changes apply regardless of whether hearing loss is partially or totally injury-related, and are aimed at providing better support for people’s changing needs over time.

ACC’s General Manager of Claims Management, Sid Miller, says “The changes provide more financial support towards obtaining hearing devices such as hearing aids, including an extra allowance to cover consultations with audiologists, and a new contribution towards ear moulds.”

“When you look at the total package of support available, all clients will be better off under this new approach,” says Mr Miller.

There’s also a simplified approach to determining the support available, with the current ten ‘bands’ used to identify support for different levels of injury-related hearing loss replaced by three broader bands.

“The exact level of increased support will depend on which band you fall into, and how many hearing devices you require.”

Mr Miller says the extra consultation allowance, which is separate to the fee paid to cover the fitting of hearing devices, will help clients who wish to shop around for devices.

“Clients will be able to seek two funded consultations every six years, to compare options from different audiologists to meet their hearing loss needs.”

From July, ACC will also support multiple repairs per device, up to a fixed amount.

Mr Miller says the changes take into account feedback received from the hearing loss sector, to find out how ACC can better support clients.

“We want to help more with clients’ ongoing needs. This means not only providing support for the purchase and fitting of hearing devices, but also meeting downstream needs such as repairs and obtaining support such as ear moulds.”

The changes announced today apply to those aged 18 and over. A separate policy is currently being developed for children with injury-related hearing loss. This will include changes to the frequency at which hearing devices are replaced, and will look to meet the needs of children on a case by case basis.

Generally, ACC supports people with injury-related hearing loss, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) supports people with health-related hearing loss. However, ACC acts as a ‘one stop shop’ for people who have a combination of both injury- and health- related hearing loss, providing jointly funded support packages from ACC and MOH.

Key changes at a glance

Simpler model for determining level of support available – three bands of support, down from ten.

Extra consultation allowance. This allows two consultations with different audiologists every six years, so clients can ‘shop around’ for a suitable hearing device. Previously, one consultation was covered as part of the fitting fee.

Flat fitting fee, regardless of level of hearing loss. Previous fee was graduated according to level of hearing loss.

Higher contribution towards hearing devices for all clients (taking into account new contribution rates and inflationary adjustments)

New funding for ear moulds (devices worn inside ear for protection and to help conduct sound).

• Support for multiple repairs – clients can now seek any number of repairs, up to fixed limit per device, over a two-year period. Previously, one payment per client was covered every two years.

Before and after examples ….

Current contributions towards two hearing devices
BandInjury as a proportion of total hearing loss (%)Total contributions from ACC and MoH (includes device, fitting fee and 1X consultation with audiologist)
1Up to 9.9$1,403.00
210.0 – 19.9$1,782.50
320.0 – 29.9$2,164.30
430.0 – 39.9$2,543.80
540.0 – 49.9$2,925.60
650.0 – 59.9$3,307.40
760.0 – 69.9$3,686.90
870.0 – 79.9$4,068.70
980.0 – 89.9$4,448.20
1090.0 – 100.00$4,830.00

New contributions towards two hearing devices (from 1 July 2014)
BandInjury as a proportion of total hearing loss (%)Total contribution from ACC and MoH
(includes device, fitting fee, 2X consultations with audiologists and inflationary adjustment)
1Up to 29.9$3,387.90
230.0 – 59.9$4,135.40
360.0 – 100.0$5,183.05

All costs above include GST

More information about the changes from 1 July is available on the ACC website.

ENDS

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