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Insuring Cochlear Implants

December 1, 2011 | By | No Comments

With the activation of Isla’s second cochlear implant coming up next week, several people have asked me about what we would do if either of Isla’s cochlear implants became lost or stolen. Well, knowing myself pretty well, I’m reasonably certain that a well-choreographed “freak out” would be in order.  It’s a good question, and one that warrants a serious answer (in a hopefully humorous way, of course.)

Well, obviously if it’s stolen, you file a police report immediately. That’s the recommendation of the manufacturer, Med-El. Coincidentally, it’s also the recommendation of Jor-El (pictured)

His other insights are less helpful

The warranty for Isla’s implant covers the internal electronics (the part under her skin) against failure for ten (10) years. The external components are covered for three (3) years from the date of activation against “mechanical or electrical defect,” but not for “theft, loss or accidental damage.”

HOWEVER (and it is a BIG “however”) our warranty provides a “One Time Loss and Damage” option. Which basically means that if anything happens to the external components within three years from the date of surgery, the manufacturer will replace the external components one time only.

(DISCLAIMER: Bear in mind that this information is taken directly from the warranty for Isla’s implant and may not apply to other implants or implants from other manufacturers.  Be sure to carefully review your own warranty for coverage and specific limitations.)

Another option is look into obtaining a rider or endorsement for your homeowners insurance policy. Some companies will charge an additional premium to apply broader coverage for things like cochlear implants and hearing aids. Talk to your agent for details and ask a lot of questions!

A third option would be seek coverage from other companies that specialize in insuring medical equipment. A Google search will start you in the right direction, but this will require a lot more research on your part since coverage, costs, and the reliability of the insurer can vary widely.  Talk to other people who have cochlear implants and find out what they recommend.

Fortunately, Isla’s implant is working fine and we are constantly watching to make sure the exterior components haven’t mysteriously disappeared or been thrown in the lake in a fit of frosting-related toddler rage.  We also use “wig tape” like the kind I use to keep my toupee in place to prevent the control unit/battery pack from sliding off her ear as she leans forward to check out her hilariously oversized shoes.

 Adorable moments like this, frankly, scare the crap out of us

I’m checking with my homeowners insurer to see if they offer additional coverage. I’ll let you know what I find out. Likewise, if any of you have any experience with this, please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear it.

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