BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – A Broomfield fourth grader could soon have a federal law named after her. Rep. Joe Neguse introduced “Ally’s Act” after receiving a letter from Ally Tumblin.
“Please help me advocate for hearing better by mandating hearing devices coverage,” the 10-year-old wrote.
Ally was born without a right ear and ear canal, a condition known as Microtia Atrecia. The only way she can hear is a with a specialized bone-anchored hearing device that costs $5,000-8,000. The device needs to be replaced every five years, will eventually need to be implanted at a cost of $15,000-30,000 and none of it is covered by insurance.
Ally is lucky that her parents were able to afford a device for her. She wants to change the law to change the lives of thousands of other kids and adults who aren’t as fortunate.
“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 device are considered cosmetic. Ally clearly needed help so she could speak, and it’s also a safety issue,” says Melissa Tumblin, Ally’s mom.
Tumblin started a non-profit called Ear Community to help people with insurance claims and appeals. Nearly 60,000 people are born with the condition. She has also secured 120 donated devices to help those who can’t afford them. But, she hasn’t been unable to get lawmakers’ attention. Ally made it happen.
“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.”
Ally says she didn’t even expect a reply to her letter let alone a bill named after her.