SDSM Student on King 5: “8-year-old wants to change state hearing aid laws”

SDSM Student on King 5: “8-year-old wants to change state hearing aid laws”

Our drum student testified to WA State Legislature yesterday on House Bill 1222, which would require private insurance companies to offer hearing aid benefits. He was such a professional!

Hugo’s family would immensely appreciate community support in pursuing this legislation. Please see how to support below the article/video. #thankyou

UPDATE 2/3/23

Hello WA friends,

Please click below and sign in as pro for HB 1222’s public hearing in the Appropriations Committee on 2/8 where only 4 people have been asked to testify and Hugo and I are two of them! If this passes our insurance premium will go up by $0.40/month to make sure private insurances in WA state cover hearing aids. It is unacceptable that kids and adults in WA state go without aids who need them. Please share this link around. Signing in as pro shows support and the more support the better. You can make a change and a difference in people’s lives by helping here. 

Thank you! It is super quick and easy,

Jill and Hugo

FROM KING 5 SEATTLE: ‘It will help a lot of people’: Seattle 8-year-old wants to change state hearing aid laws

Author: Drew Mikkelsen Updated: 7:22 PM PST January 18, 2023

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Hugo Esterhay doesn’t like to think about what it would be like to go to school without his hearing aids. “The idea is terrifying,” said Esterhay, an 8-year-old from Seattle. He testified before state legislators Wednesday encouraging them to pass a bill requiring private insurance companies to offer benefits for hearing aids for children and adults.

The instruments Esterhay’s used since he was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss at age 3, have cost his family thousands of dollars. Esterhay started his speech saying, “I really hope you can pass this bill. I know it will help a lot of people.” “Hearing aids are not optional for us, we need them. I can’t hear without my hearing aids. It makes me really sad to know that some kids can’t have them,” Esterhay told lawmakers Wednesday afternoon.

When his mother, Jill Bujnevicie, learned insurance didn’t cover hearing aids, she contacted her state Representative, Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines, the prime sponsor of House Bill 1222. The law would require insurance companies to cover up to $5,000 for hearing instruments. Bujnevicie said her family is fortunate they can afford Hugo’s hearing aids. She said they have helped improve her son’s performance at school. ”Without these devices Hugo never would have met his potential,” Bujnevicie told House members. She said it’s “heartbreaking” some families cannot afford hearing aids.

Current state law requires public employee health plans to offer hearing coverage. Medicaid also offers the benefits.


Dear Seattle Drum School of Music Family, please help our efforts for insurance coverage for children’s hearing aid coverage. 

We have been working for 4 years on this issue and it really takes a lot of support to pass a bill in the state legislature. Rep. Orwall has HB 1222 to provide insurance coverage for children and adults. On the senate side, Sen. Cleveland has SB 5338 related to updating the state’s Essential Health benefits to include hearing instruments. 

Thank you very much for taking some time to help us. It feels so good to make a difference in so many people’s lives, especially children. You can also like the fb page called Let Washington Kids Hear to follow along. If you would like any more information. Please feel free to contact me. 

Jill Bujnevicie and Hugo Esterhay


  1. Find out who your district legislators are by clicking Find your district, not congressional legislatures and send all 3 and email using their names in the following format-
  2. For example- Dear Sen. xxxx, Please support HB1222 and SB 5338 related to hearing aid insurance coverage for children and adults and updating the state’s Essential Health benefits to include hearing coverage. It is not acceptable that children in WA state are going without hearing aids because they can’t afford them. Thank you for your time and consideration, Your name and address
  1. Sign in “pro’ for a public hearing tomorrow for SB 5338 1/20 at 8am (you have until 24 hours after to do so) related to SB 5338. Go here- Find health and long term care, select SB 5338 1/20 8am and click I would like my position known for the legislative record 

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