Nearly everyone with working ears will experience hearing loss at some point. Hearing loss is especially common in older folks over the age of 65. So you’d think that such a common medical problem would naturally be part of your Medicare benefits; sadly, hearing aids are rarely covered by Medicare.
Keep reading if you think you might be hard of hearing and are eager to fix the problem. We can help you find options for getting the most affordable coverage regarding hearing aids.
Medicare coverage for hearing aids
The out-of-pocket costs you may pay for hearing aids will vary by individual, state, zip code, and specific needs. But there are some costs you can anticipate and budget for if you struggle to hear what people say.
Your primary care doctor will likely recommend you to an audiologist for the best possible care. They will run a series of tests to determine whether you’re hard of hearing and how severe the problem is. Naturally, going to a specialist is going to be more expensive — as is the hearing aid technology you end up purchasing.
The more advanced the tech, the more expensive it’s. Sometimes, these costs can range upwards of $3,000 to $4,000 or more. That’s why it’s crucial to find some way of getting coverage for your hearing health, especially if you’re on a tight budget post-retirement.
Medicare coverage for cochlear implants
Depending on your medical need, there may be one exception: cochlear implants. If your hearing loss is so severe that you require a surgical cochlear implant, this will likely be covered by Medicare Part B.
It’s also highly likely a Medicare Advantage plan will cover it if you have one. But cochlear implants aren’t always approved, no matter what version of Medicare you have. So it’s important to be proactive and talk to your doctor about what Medicare will cover and your out-of-pocket costs.
Original Medicare coverage for hearing aids
The good news is that Medicare Part B covers “diagnostic hearing and balance exams” with only a 20% cost-share responsibility on your end. Beyond that, however, if you are relying upon Original Medicare to help you cover your hearing needs, the following expenses will be your responsibility out-of-pocket:
- Hearing aids
- Hearing aid fittings
Medicare doesn’t cover these services because, in the past, hearing aids and diagnostic testing were highly affordable for those who needed them. Since their relatively low expense wasn’t an undue burden for retirees, legislators didn’t see the point in adding them to Medicare’s list of benefits.
This lack of coverage also bleeds over into Medigap plans because of how closely they are regulated by the same rules which Original Medicare follows.
Unfortunately, not only are medical costs rising across the board — especially with hearing aids and hearing care — but more people than ever are suffering from hearing loss as they get older.
Medicare Advantage coverage for hearing aids
Beneficiaries who sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan instead of Original Medicare will likely have more options when it comes to hearing aid coverage. By law, Medicare Advantage plans have to offer you the same benefits as Medicare Parts A and B. There’s no getting around that.
But private companies sell Medicare Advantage plans. So to convince more benefit recipients to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage policy, they usually offer coverage options that Medicare — even when coupled with a supplemental insurance plan like Medigap — doesn’t offer.
Some of those coverage options include medical benefits for hearing loss. In exchange for a small copay or cost-share fee, your Medicare Advantage provider may be willing to help you cover the costs of diagnosing your hearing loss and getting you fitted for a hearing aid device.
Remember that if you switch to Medicare Advantage, you’ll be trading the freedom to choose any doctor nationwide that accepts Medicare for a network-based plan requiring additional authorizations.
Do Medicare Supplements cover hearing aids?
No, Medicare Supplement plans help cover Medicare Parts A and B costs. However, some programs will give you access to a discount program.
Can you claim audiology on Medicare?
The answer under normal circumstances is no. But if a doctor or neurologist refers you to have this test done for a medical condition, Medicare can cover it. Remember that even though Original Medicare doesn’t include these tests, many Medicare Advantage plans include hearing coverage.
Can you buy just one hearing aid?
Technically you can, but it’s not a recommended course of action. Even if your hearing is worse in one ear than the other, one hearing aid can’t do the job that two can.
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids at Cosco?
Costco has Hearing Aid Centers in many locations across the country. But since Medicare doesn’t usually cover hearing aids, they generally won’t at this retailer. However, Costco has affordable options, so it’s an excellent place to shop for these devices.
If enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, review your plan documents to find out what locations are in the network before scheduling your hearing services.
Getting Supplemental Medicare coverage for hearing aids
Hearing aids are essential for some and certainly not cheap. Since Medicare won’t cover them, getting a Medicare Supplemental plan (aka Medigap) can turn a small monthly paid premium into benefits for your hearing and much more.
For all of the things that Medicare doesn’t provide, you can talk to our licensed insurance agents about your best options to fill the gaps in your coverage. They are highly knowledgeable and can help match you with a supplement plan that protects your health completely.
Give us a call today to talk with our agents for free. Or, if you’re more comfortable online, you can fill out our rate form to get the best rates for plans in your area.