Beaufort County woman upset after Tricare denies surgery - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Beaufort County woman upset after Tricare denies surgery

BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

A Beaufort County woman is upset with Tricare, a healthcare program for military personnel, retirees and their dependants, because they won't pay for a surgery that would give her the ability to hear in her left ear.

She sat down with WTOC after taking her concerns to South Carolina First District Congressman Mark Sanford.

The soothing sounds of birds chirping and the water from the Broad River washing up against the side of the boardwalk are all sounds that many come to Beaufort's Water Front Park to enjoy, including Carole Cronan.

Bust she only gets to hear half of it.

"I can't tell from which direction a bird is singing from, or when I hear a child laughing or crying or something, I can't tell where it's coming from," said Cronan.

Cronan is deaf in her left ear. She lost her hearing when she was 12 because of an ear infection. Her doctors said a baha cochlear implant will give her the ability to hear again, but her Tricare won't pay for the device.

According to Tricare, hearing aids and hearing aid devices for retirees and their family members are excluded from their health care plan. Cronan's husband is a retired Marine.

Cronan was shocked when she heard this, especially since Tricare paid for all of the testing she had done to find out if she was a candidate for the implant.

"I couldn't belive it," she said. "It was absolutely unbelievable. I mean, somebody puts in over 20 years in the Marine Corps and they are excluding people based on the fact that they are not serving anymore."

That's not a good enough explanation for Cronan, but unfortunately, unless Tricare changes its policy, she will remain deaf in her left ear.

"It bothers me that I'm sitting back and I'm missing something in my life," she said.

Cronan has met with South Carolina lawmakers about the issue. She said if they can't help her, she'll hire a lawyer and sue Tricare.

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