Are you aged 65 or over? Are you having trouble hearing as well as you used to? Are you enrolled in Medicare? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be wondering if your Medicare benefits extend to hearing aids.
The short answer is “no,” they do not. But let’s explore that answer in further detail and list some additional options for your consideration. The official Medicare website published by the U.S. government states that “Medicare doesn’t cover hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids.” That’s pretty cut and dried, straight from the horse’s mouth. The good news is that Medicare does cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams. This may help absorb some of your out-of-pocket costs if your doctor suggests hearing-related tests to determine whether or not you need medical treatment.
Everyone with Medicare Part B is eligible for hearing and balance exam coverage. However, the amount of coverage varies according to the specific tests required, any additional insurance you may carry, and how much your doctor charges for the services. Medicare states that you will pay 20% of the approved amount for services and exams, after taking the Part B deductible into account. You may also incur a hospital co-payment if the procedures are performed in a hospital outpatient setting.
After the diagnostic phase of your hearing loss treatment is complete, your doctor may recommend hearing aids. Since Medicare does not cover the costs associated with hearing aids, and since prices for a single hearing aid range from $1200 to $4000, you’ll need to consider other options.
Alternative options for coverage
One such option is Medicaid. You can search by your state of residence to determine if and when you’ll receive assistance. You may also qualify for hearing aid financial assistance if you’re a veteran, or if you or a family member is a federal employee. Private insurance companies rarely cover hearing aids. However, if you live in Arkansas, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island you may be in luck. State laws require insurers in these states to provide adults with a minimum of $1500 in hearing aid benefits in some cases. Your best bet is to contact your local insurance carriers if you live in one of these locations. Finally, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) may provide you with hearing aid help if you meet specific criteria. The Hearing Loss Association of America’s website has additional information.
To recap, if you have Original Medicare (Part A or Part B), you will have to pay for your hearing aids and related exam costs out of your own pocket. Private insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage (Part C) may include hearing aid costs in their extra benefit plans. To find out if yours does, contact your provider for more details. If you’re a veteran, a federal employee, or you’re covered by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), contact your representative and ask them if and how you can obtain hearing aid financial assistance.