Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
If youre a Medicare beneficiary or if youll be enrolling soon, you might be wondering if Medicare covers hearing aids. Below, we provide the information you need to know about Medicare coverage for hearing aids and how to pay for hearing aids in 2022.
As we age, many of us face hearing loss. Most hearing loss is irreversible, but its also treatable, thanks to hearing aids. Wearing hearing aids can help you follow conversations, socialize, and enjoy movies. Hearing aids also lower the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Want To See What Medicare Plans Are Available For You
Now that you know the answer to the question Does Medicare cover hearing aids? you might be wondering how to find a Medicare Advantage plan that offers coverage. You can do that using our Medicare Advantage Finder tool.
If you prefer, you can speak directly with a knowledgeable advisor who will answer your questions and help you find a plan.
If you qualify for Medicare and don’t know where to start
How Does Medicare Part B Cover Hearing Aids And Hearing Care
Medicare Part B may cover care for a hearing related medical condition or diagnostic hearing tests to help a doctor assess a hearing problem.
You may feel that hearing aids are medically necessary, but Medicare Part B does not cover most people’s cost. However, Part B does cover cochlear implants and bone-anchoring hearing aids because Medicare classifies them as prosthetic devices rather than hearing aids.
These hearing systems are surgically implanted devices that work differently than standard hearing aids. A BAHA is anchored to a bone in the skull. Rather than simply amplifying sound, it sends vibrations directly to the inner ear and bypasses the middle and outer ear. In comparison, a surgically placed cochlear implant stimulates the auditory nerve through electrodes.
These devices can help people with middle ear or ear canal problems that prevent sound waves from reaching the inner ear. For people with this hearing loss problem, traditional hearing aids may not work as effectively.
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The Medicare Hearing Act Of 2019
Presbycusis, also known as age related hearing loss, is common among adults over 60 years of age. Seeing as Medicare primarily provides coverage for citizens 65 years or older, you would think Medicare and hearing aids would go hand in hand, right? Sadly that is not the case.
Its clear that free or cheap access to hearing aids should be the norm, and that if Medicare is not helping individuals with access to treatment for this common and life hindering condition, its coverage is inadequate.
Luckily, this has been recognized.
In 2019, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. Debbie Dingell pursued the issue, leading the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives to pass the Medicare Hearing Act of 2019 .
This amends the Social Security Act to provide insurance coverage for hearing aids and hearing health services under Part B of the Medicare program.
Although this is a fantastic achievement, the journey has just begun.
The entire House of Representatives is required to vote, then the Senate needs to pass the legislation. If the act gets this far, the law will then need to be finalized by the president.
Why Does Medicare Make It So Difficult To Find Out If A Plan Covers Hearing Aids
To put it simply: different plans offer different coverage.
Often, what is and isnt offered differs by state and county as well, so the availability of hearing aid coverage might depend on your location. This is true of all Medicare Advantage plansMedicare Advantage , also known as Medicare Part C, are health plans from private insurance companies that are available to people eligible for Original Medicare …., which have regional benefits, costs, and providers.
The Hearing Loss Association of America recognizes this, and they offer help to find the coverage that best fits your needs.
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What Is The Cost Of Untreated Hearing Loss
The cost of hearing aids may seem very expensive, but it is also important to recognize the cost of untreated hearing loss. According to a study published in the Hearing Review in 2019, untreated hearing loss costs the United States 133 billion dollars per year. Per individual, this amounts to $9,100 per person with hearing loss.
Not only are there monetary costs, but also negative personal effects from hearing loss. According to ASHA, hearing loss has been linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, frustration, social isolation, and fatigue.
Studies show that these effects can be helped by wearing hearing aids. Therefore, hearing aids can be a life-changing investment.
Fees Warranties And Batteries
The fees charged by audioprothetists and recognized aid facilities are covered by the program when you purchase or replace a hearing aid or when you have it repaired. You have nothing to pay for these services when you are registered for the program. Nevertheless, you are responsible for the maintenance costs of your hearing aid, for instance, to have it cleaned and checked.
The warranty is valid for at least 1 year for a hearing aid. Audioprosthetists and recognized aid facilities can provide you with further information in this regard.
Batteries are covered when you purchase or replace a hearing aid. However, thereafter, you are responsible for the cost of replacement batteries.
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Tip #: Look For A Medicare Advantage Plan That Partners With Amplifon
Excellent coverage and high member satisfaction are the two biggest reasons I whole-heartedly recommend choosing a plan with an Amplifon hearing benefit. Other reasons include:
- Average savings of 64% off hearing aid manufacturers suggested retail price
- The largest nationwide network of credentialed audiologists and hearing aid dispensers, with locations near 92% of all U.S. neighborhoods
- Access to a wide choice of hearing aid models from leading brands
- Two years of free batteries or a charging station, 60-day risk-free trial, three-year warranty for loss, damage or repair and one year of aftercare, all at no additional charge.
Last, and most importantly, the hearing health care professionals in our network are truly dedicated to the satisfaction of their patients, as evidenced by the 98% of members who would recommend their provider.
Uhc Relate Brand Hearing Aids
With the launch of the UnitedHealthcare Hearing program came a new private-label brand of hearing aids, manufactured by Unitron for UHC: RELATETM.
The new Relate brand updated its offering beginning on January 1, 2021 to begin offering rechargeable models previously unavailable. With the update, most Relate1.0 models have been replaced with Relate2.0.
Relate Behind-The-Ear devices are available in 4 models Relate2.0 Basic Li BTE, Relate2.0 Reserve Li BTE, Relate2.0 Reserve 312 BTE and Relate Reserve 675 Ultra Power BTE.
Relate2.0 receiver-in-canal hearing aids are available in two models Relate2.0 Reserve Li RIC and Relate2.0 Reserve 312 RIC.
Relate2.0 custom hearing aids are offered in five models Relate2.0 10 CIC, Relate2.0 10 Mini ITC, Relate2.0 312 ITC, Relate2.0 Half Shell 312 ITE and Relate2.0 Full Shell 13 ITE. A wide range of receiver offerings allow the custom devices to be fit to a wide range of hearing losses.
Available wireless accessories for compatible Relate hearing aid models include:
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Individuals Can Choose From Various Types Of Medicare Advantage Plans:
- Private Fee-for-Service Plans
As with Medicare, you can see any doctor or healthcare provider if they accept the plan. Individual plans decide how much you pay when you receive care.
- Preferred Provider Organization plans
This insurance generally offers in-network and out-of-network care options.
- Health Maintenance Organizations
Generally limited to providers who are in-network only. You may need a referral from a primary care provider for hearing-related and other coverage. You may add out-of-network care by using an HMO Point-of-Service plan.
- Special Needs Plans
Specifically, for people with special needs, these plans often are designed for people who carry both Medicare and Medicaid, live in a nursing facility or have serious/chronic medical conditions.
- High-deductible, Medical Savings Account Plans
These plans combine a high-deductible healthcare plan with a special medical-related bank account. Generally for these plans, Medicare will deposit money into an MSA account from which you use the funds to cover healthcare-related expenses.
Medicare Advantage Plan coverage varies widely. Even within the same company, people may have different coverage. Sometimes this covers hearing-related visits, and some MA plans include hearing aids .Coverage varies widely, and your policy may provide partial or full coverage. As Medicare may make updates from time to time, please visit Medicare.gov for the most recent information regarding Medicare coverage and plans.
Im A Veteran Will The Va Help With The Cost Of Hearing Aids
You may able to obtain hearing aids and batteries through the Veterans Administration if your hearing loss is connected to your military service or due to a medical condition treated at a VA hospital. The VA provides hearing services to veterans that meet one or more of the following requirements:
- A veteran with any paying service-connected disability.
- A permanently housebound veteran that requires regular aid and attendance, and who qualifies for an increased pension.
- Purple Heart recipients.
- Former Prisoners of War.
- A veteran with a hearing impairment resulting from a disease or other medical condition for which they are receiving care or services from the VA.
- A veteran with significant functional or cognitive impairment a deficiency in his/her ability to perform the necessary day-to-day activities of living.
- A veteran with a hearing impairment severe enough that it interferes with his ability to participate in his medical treatment actively.
If you havent already done so, you need to register with the VA before you can receive hearing aids. You will need to show your Veterans DD214 and drivers license, and your insurance card if you have medical coverage. You can register in person at a VA Medical facility, by mailing a completed and signed Form 10-10EZ to a VA Medical Center, or register online by clicking the Apply for Health Benefits button on the VA benefits application page.
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Medicare Dental Vision And Hearing Benefit Act
This is a bill introduced on 8/5/2021 to the senate covering Medicare for dental, vision, and hearing care. The law provides particular payment procedures, limits, and coinsurance requirements for such care. The bill covers the following:
- Dental Care. This includes cleaning and exams, dental care and dentures, and dental services .
- Eye exams. These include eyeglasses and contact lenses and routing eyes exams.
- Routine hearing exams. These included exams for hearing aids and hearing aids.
The bill also raises the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for dentistry, vision, and hearing services .
Save Upfront With Unbundling
A newer trend is unbundling the hearing aid itself and the associated services. This usually results in a lower upfront bill, which includes the hearing aids, fitting, and a limited number of follow-up visits. After that initial period, you will pay per-visit fees for service. Exact costs vary, depending on your provider and your insurance.
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Alternatives To Hearing Aids
For seniors who dont enjoy using hearing aids, there are different alternatives you can pursue. You can use some with hearing aids, whereas others are just for assistance. Such alternatives are:
TV listening devices – the most common are tv ears and Sennheiser wireless listening devices. They help the affected people by reducing the TV volume.
Amplified Telephone – these are helpful to people who cant hear over the phone. Most states give them free of charge so you can check if your state provides for its seniors.
Communication Strategies – you can communicate with people face to face. Also, you can reduce the noise around, etc.
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The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Callers will be directed to a licensed insurance agent with TZ Insurance Solutions LLC, TruBridge, Inc. and/or a third-party partner who can provide more information about Medicare Advantage Plans offered by one or several Medicare-contracted carrier. TZ Insurance Solutions LLC, TruBridge, Inc., and the licensed sales agents that may call you are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.
Plan availability varies by region and state. For a complete list of available plans, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE , 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
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State Insurance Mandates For Hearing Aids
Currently, 20 states require that insurance companies provide insurance coverage for hearing aids for children. The cost of coverage varies between $1,000-$1,400 per hearing aid, depending on the state. Each state has its own specific mandate, so be sure to check if theres a state law that requires insurance providers to provide coverage for hearing aids for adults.
The states that currently require insurance coverage for both children and adults include Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. For example, the state of Arkansas mandates a health benefit plan for both children and adults that offers coverage for a hearing aid or hearing instrument. The coverage would be for a device that is less than $1,400 for each three-year period. Additionally, it would not be subject to deductibles or copayments.
Other states like Texas, for example, may mandate that insurance providers cover the cost of cochlear implants or hearing aids for children under 18.
What Are Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are small electronic devices that function similar to a microphone, transferring and amplifying sound waves received by the device. A hearing aid is inserted into your ear to amplify the sounds around you if you have difficulty hearing. Hearing aids may be prescribed during a hearing test if the doctor determines that your hearing needs correction.mayoclinic.org, Hearing aids, Accessed November 11, 2021
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How Do I Find A Humana Medicare Advantage Plan Near Me
Contact a licensed insurance agent to inquire about Humana Medicare Advantage plans available in your area. The agent will be able to confirm your eligibility, help you compare the costs and coverage of each plan and walk you through the enrollment process for a plan that covers hearing aids and meets your other coverage needs. You can also compare plans online for free, with no obligation to enroll.
Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage 2022
Whether or not Medicare provides hearing aid coverage will depend on the type of Medicare plan you have.
Original Medicare Doesn’t Provide Hearing Aid Coverage
Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids in 20221. If you have a Medicare Part A or B plan, you will need to pay for your hearing aids out of pocket or with other insurance.
Medicare Advantage may Provide Hearing Aid Coverage
Some Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C plans, do provide some hearing aid coverage. For example, Humana, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield all offer at least one Medicare Advantage plan with hearing aid coverage.
Costs that might be covered include:
- Hearing aids
- Hearing test
- Audiologist visits for fitting and adjustments
Because Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies, the benefits vary from plan to plan. And some insurers choose not to offer hearing aid benefits at all. Others only offer a plan with hearing aid coverage to seniors in certain states.
Did You Know: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 88 percent of Medicare Advantage plans offer hearing aid coverage, which can significantly lower your out-of-pocket cost.2
You should also be aware that plans with hearing aid coverage may cost more than those without it. But given how expensive hearing aids are, it’s likely worth paying the higher premium if it means you won’t need to pay for your hearing aids entirely out of pocket.
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Medicaid Coverage For Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can have a significant impact on your quality of life if you have mild to moderate hearing loss in one or both ears. In some states, Medicaid covers some or all of the costs associated with hearing services, including hearing aids. States revise their scope of coverage as often as every one to three years, so its important to check your states Medicaid website to verify coverage information.
Trial Period Returns & Exchanges
According to the company, all Relate home delivered devices offer a 70-day trial period, which starts the day of the shipment. All other devices 45-day trial period starts from the date of the fitting appointment with a licensed professional.
Returns or exchanges may only be accepted during the trial period. Earmolds cannot be returned or exchanged. For Exchange requests, UnitedHealthcare Hearing will contact the member to collect any out of pocket price difference and will send a new authorization to order the new hearing aids.
**PLEASE NOTE: HHTM IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH UNITED HEALTHCARE. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THE UHC HEARING WEBSITE HERE.**
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Does Medicare Cover A Hearing Test
Not wholly. For Medicare to cover your hearing tests, the doctor must refer you. So if you have hearing loss problems, dont expect to be treated as a walk-in patient. But according to Medicare, this is how it works. If the doctor refers you for a medical hearing test, Part B of Medicare will cover the diagnosis and balance exams.
As a patient, you will pay 20 percent of the amount that Medicare will approve, and the fee is for the doctors services and the exams. Note that Medicare doesnt cover hearing exams, aids, or any fitting hearing aids.