What Are Hearing Aids
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are small electric gadgets that can be customized to cater to various kinds of hearing impairments. Hearing aids are digital devices, and as such, they have a microphone to collect sound and circuitry that processes then amplifies the sound.
Hearing aids also have a speaker that channels sound to the ear and a battery to power the entire setup. Today, the more advanced hearing aids can be connected directly to the neural system or smartphones.
Not everyone experiencing hearing loss can use hearing aids. But studies show only 1 out of 5 people who need hearing aids actually have them. This is because these devices are by no means cheap and need an insurance cover to subsidize the cost.
Hearing Aid Assistance For Low
Many individuals over the age of 65 cannot afford the cost of hearing aids, despite needing them to communicate and avoid hearing loss-related issues like dementia.
The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of resources for those who need financial assistance. Programs like Medicaid and the VA may be able to help.
Also, donât forget to talk to your audiologist or hearing aid provider. They may have programs or payment plans to help.
Medicare And Medicaid Coverage For Hearing Aids
Weve discussed the fact that its rare to find hearing aids covered by insurance provided by private lenders, but what about Medicare and Medicaid? In most cases, hearing aids arent covered by Medicare, the government health program for individuals ages 65 and up. Thats because Medicare typically covers services, not devices. There are a few Medicare Advantage plans that include hearing aid coverage however, traditional Medicare doesnt include any hearing aid coverage whatsoever. In addition, tinnitus is not recognized by Medicare as medically necessary to treat. It is also a non-covered diagnosis for devices with major insurance companies.
Medicaid, on the other hand, often covers hearing aids, with different standards for each state. Unfortunately, this coverage typically only includes young people. For example, the Medicaid programs in Colorado and Arizona only cover hearing aids for individuals under the ages of 20 and 21, respectively. Curious about Medicaid and Medicare coverage in your state? You can find more information about coverage by state through the Department of Health and Human Services.
Do you have more questions about getting your hearing aids covered by insurance? Reach out to Sound Relief Hearing Center in Colorado or Arizona, and our friendly team members will help you understand your options. You can also visit our Insurance and Financing page to learn more.
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Do You Need A Hearing Aid
The following are some signs of when to consider having your hearing tested, according to the Food & Drug Administration:
- You hear better out of one ear than the other.
- People say you are shouting when you talk.
- You often ask people to repeat themselves.
- You canât hear a dripping faucet or high-pitched musical notes.
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Helpful things callers learn from our sales agents
There can be penalties if you dont sign up for Medicare Part B when youre first eligible to enroll.
Some people think theyre stuck with the first plan they choose. Theyre not. They can change to a new plan during the enrollment periods.
I often explain to callers who are concerned about the cost of prescription drugs, that there are specific plans that can help reduce how much they have to pay.
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Can I Get Free Hearing Aids
Free hearing aids aren’t the norm, but you might be able to snag a free pair. This is welcome news if you’re on a Medicare plan that won’t help with the cost.
Here are some groups that may offer free or highly discounted hearing aids to seniors:
- Your insurance company
- Medicare Advantage
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Vocational rehabilitation
Understanding Medicare Part B Hospital Insurance Coverage
One bit of good news, is that anyone enrolled in Medicare Part B has diagnostic hearing exams covered by Medicare. More specifically, exams to determine whether or not the covered individual needs medical treatment for hearing loss or other hearing related issues. If a diagnostic exam is covered by Medicare, then Medicare will pay between 20 percent and 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount, which will also be applied to the deductible. Please be aware that if these exams are performed in an outpatient setting, a co-payment may also be due at the time of services.
If you want to find out whether or not a particular exam, device, or audiology service is covered by Medicare Part B, you can visit the Your Medicare Coverage web page. You can simply type the name of the exam, device, or medical service into the search bar, hit enter, and find out whether that specific item is covered by Medicare.
Again, we covered this before, but it is true that neither hearing aids nor hearing aid fitting exams are covered by Medicare Part B. If youre covered only by Medicare Part B , youll be responsible for 100 percent of the cost of the hearing exam, hearing aid fitting exam, or hearing device.
Here is what is covered under Medicare Part B
- Ambulance services
- Inpatient and outpatient as well as partial hospitalization for mental illness
- Seeing a second doctor before surgery
- Some outpatient prescription drug coverage
- Clinical research
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Are Hearing Aids Covered By Insurance
Hearing loss is an incredibly common health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 37 million people suffer from hearing loss, and that number is only rising as the population ages. Hearing loss is a frustrating and expensive condition, leading many individuals to spend thousands of dollars on treatment and devices like hearing aids. However, according to many private medical insurance providers, moderate hearing loss isnt technically considered a disability. Thats just one of the reasons why having hearing aids covered by insurance can be a challenge.
Getting Help With Hearing Tests
If you notice any changes in your hearing, you should see your GP. They can refer you to an audiologist for a hearing test to measure any hearing loss.
You may be able to get hearing tests through the Hearing Services Program. The program may also cover some or all of the costs of hearing aids. If youre not eligible for the program, you may get lower cost aids through a hearing aid bank.
Visit the Hearing Services Program on the Department of Health website to find out:
- how to apply
- how to find a hearing aid bank near you.
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Which Medicare Plans Should You Select If You Know You Need Hearing Aids
You should select a Medicare Advantage plan available in your area that includes extra benefits for hearing if you know you need hearing aids. If you dont have hearing aids yet, but you anticipate needing them based on your family history, you should consider MA plans with hearing aid benefits.
If you are already working with a professional for your hearing and hearing aids, its a good idea to check with your provider to see which MA plans include them in their network.
If you already have a MA plan with hearing aid benefits, consider making an appointment with their in-network audiologist to conduct a screening or exam to determine if you have hearing loss and whether or not it could be helped by hearing aids.
Search for plans here. You will input your zip code to begin the search for Medicare plans that are offered in your area.
- Select Medicare Advantage plans to find plans with hearing aid coverage.
- Take the time to compare plan benefits and providers.
- Contact the plan to discuss details
- Review the EOC document that is associated with each plan. You can find this by clicking on Plan Details, then scrolling to find the EOC. One more click, and you should be able to view the EOC. Refer to the table of contents to find the details about hearing benefits.
What Is Original Medicares Coverage For Hearing Aids
Hearing aids are not covered by Original Medicare. Neither do most Medigap plans. This coverage will likely require you to pay out of pocket for hearing aids, fittings and routine hearing exams. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services define a routine hearing exam to be an examination for the purpose or prescribing, fitting, or changing hearing aids.
Original Medicare may cover more thorough hearing exams if certain criteria are met. Medicare Part B provides 80% coverage for a diagnostic hearing and balance exam that your doctor or health care provider orders to see if you need medical treatment for example, to determine appropriate surgical treatment of a hearing deficit.
If youre eligible for coverage, 20% of the Medicare-approved exam cost will be yours. Youll also have to pay your deductible if it hasnt been met. Your hospital copay will also apply if you have your hearing exam at a hospital. These coinsurance costs may be covered by your Medigap plan.
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Average Cost Of Hearing Aids In The United States In 2018
The U.S. National Institutes of Health reported in 2013 that only about 20 percent of the people who could benefit from using a hearing aid actually do so. Cost is one of several factors that can affect your decision to seek out help for hearing loss, a condition that affects about half of all American adults over the age of 75. Among the 80 percent of people with hearing loss who dont use hearing aids, 76 percent cited cost as a factor inhibiting them.
The NIH estimated that, as of 2013, the average out-of-pocket cost for a digital hearing aid, including an audiologists services in fitting the hearing aid, totaled $1,500. On the higher end, some hearing aids could cost up to $5,000. Projections for 2018 are in line with the averages referenced by the 2013 NIH report. In fact since then, there have been new advancements that for some hearing aid manufacturers, have actually brought costs down for entry level hearing aids.
Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Hearing Aids
Some Medicare Advantage plans cover hearing exams and hearing aids. Medicare Advantage plans often offer benefits not typically included with Original Medicare , such as routine hearing exams and hearing aids. Since each Medicare Advantage plan is different, you should compare plans carefully to find one that fits all of your medical needs. You can see if any Medicare Advantage plans in your area cover hearing aids and exams by using our Medicare Advantage plan comparison tool.
If you have insurance that covers hearing exams, such as a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicaid, follow your plans instructions for getting an exam. If your doctor does not perform hearing exams, he or she may refer you to a specialist.
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Are My Hearing Aids Covered By Medicare
If you are one of the millions of Americans with hearing loss, youve almost certainly considered buying hearing aids. Unfortunately, these devices can be costly, especially if you go the traditional route of buying from your audiologist.
There are more affordable options like buying hearing aids online, but you still have to consider the price and what you can spend. Most private insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, though you can check for options like a partial reimbursement or deductible charge. The next insurance option you may think of is Medicare, a service that 62 million Americans were enrolled in in 2021. But the looming question is are hearing aids covered by Medicare?
National Cervical Screening Program
Routine screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. The National Cervical Screening Program has a simple test to check the health of your cervix. Women aged 25 to 74 can participate in the program. Find out where to get a Cervical Screening Test on the Department of Health website.
The Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test in December 2017. It is more effective than the Pap test because it detects human papillomavirus . HPV is a common infection that can lead to cervical cancer. Your first test is at the age of 25, rather than 18 for the Pap test.
If youve had a Pap test, your first HPV test should be 2 years after your last Pap test. After that, you only need to have the test every 5 years if your result is normal. If youre due for a test, book an appointment with your GP.
Read more about the National Cervical Screening Program on the Department of Health website.
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History Of Hearing Aids And Medicare
In 1965 when Medicare was established, hearing aids were specifically excluded. However, since then, politicians have pushed to find a way for federal coverage. Here are a few of the most recent bills brought before Congress. If passed, they require approval from the Senate and the President before making their way into law.
- Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2019 This bill aims to add hearing aids and any related expenses to Medicare coverage. It was brought before the Subcommittee on Health in March of 2019 where it awaits investigation into medical testing, diagnostic measures, and best practices regarding hearing loss.
- Medicare Hearing Act of 2019 Similar to the last bill, this would add hearing aids to coverage with the following stipulations: only one pair covered every 5 years, cannot include over-the-counter hearing aids, and an audiologists referral is necessary. It was introduced to the House in October 2019 and picked up by the Committee on Energy and Commerce in January of this year.
- Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act This all-encompassing bill includes not only an expansion in Medicare coverage for hearing aids, glasses, and dentures, but also requirements for prescription drug pricing, healthcare costs, and general public health. It passed in the House in December 2019, so it is on to the Senate.
Let The Medicare Helpline Help Find The Right Hearing Coverage
Our licensed insurance agents can help you find the hearing coverage options in your area and provide side-by-side comparisons, making it easier for you to decide which Medicare plan is right for you. Dont miss out on the benefits you deserve. Get started by entering your zip below:
The Medicare Helpline is a licensed and certified representative of a Medicare Advantage organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. By completing the contact form above or calling the number listed above, you will be directed to a licensed sales agent who can answer your questions and provide information about Medicare Advantage, Part D or Medicare supplement insurance plans. Availability of carriers and products are dependent on your resident zip code.
The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. Medicare Supplement insurance is available to those age 65 and older enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and in some states to those under age 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or End Stage Renal disease. Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.
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Does Original Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids or most other types of hearing-related care. Seniors who are experiencing hearing loss, or expect to need hearing care in the future, should generally buy a Medicare Advantage plan unless they want to pay out-of-pocket for their hearing aids. The exception is for people who receive care through the Veterans Administration, as the VA covers hearing aids and other hearing care for eligible seniors.
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Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Hearing Aids
Medicare Supplement plans work together with Medicare. They cover the same healthcare services that Medicare does. Since Medicare doesnt cover hearing aids, Medicare Supplement plans dont cover them either.
You can, however, buy a separate insurance policy that includes hearing services and hearing aids. Hearing insurance may be sold together with vision and dental coverage. The specifics of these policies will vary depending on the carrier of the policy you choose.
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What We Know So Far
The resolution instructs the Senate Committee on Finance to expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing benefits.
Adding dental, vision, and hearing coverage would be a real game changer, said Kate Ashford, a Medicare specialist for the personal finance site Nerdwallet.
Sometimes older adults go without, which isnt ideal, she told Healthline.
And it appears a majority of older adults would be onboard.
According to a recent survey by Nerdwallet, 71 percent of the 2,000 seniors they polled supported those changes.
However, from there, the other proposals are a bit more murky in terms of how they would work.
The resolution asks the finance committee to provide long-term care for seniors and persons with disabilities.
Sounds great, but Im not exactly sure what that looks like. And no one is sure what that looks like yet, said Ashford.