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Does Supplemental Insurance Cover Hearing Aids

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Does Bluecross Blueshield Insurance Cover Hearing Aids

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

by Dr. Scott Marquardt – Doctor of Audiology & CEO of Clarity Hearing | Nov 4, 2019 | Insurance, Patient Resources

A critical part of independent living and a better quality of life comes from your capacity to hear conversations, especially those relating important information or staying up-to-date on whats going on with loved ones. Medical Xpress notes a sad statistic, relating that only one in five individuals diagnosed with a hearing loss receives the much-needed help provided by hearing aids. Among the factors cited for this failure to reap the benefits of hearing assistance is the lack of or uncertainty of whether or not their insurance policy covers hearing aids and hearing care expenses.

Along with the bewilderment of learning that they have a hearing loss and need the auditory assistance provided by hearing aids, many of my Houston area patients have a concern about covering the costs. Since many of my patients have BlueCross BlueShield policies, a common question I have to answer is, Does BlueCross BlueShield insurance cover hearing aids? Because the answer depends upon various conditions like plan type, age, and other factors, I cant provide an instant response. To help alleviate concerns and answer insurance coverage questions related to BCBS and hearing aid coverage, I have compiled some useful general information.

Hearing Exams And Hearing Aids

Medicare doesn’t cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids. Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders these tests to see if you need medical treatment. All people with Part B are covered.

Your costs in Original Medicare:

  • You pay 100% for routine exams and hearing aids.
  • You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor’s services for covered exams, and the Part B deductible applies.
  • In a hospital outpatient setting, you also pay the hospital a copayment.

Note: Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra hearing benefits. Be sure to contact the plan for more information.

Medicare And Hearing Aids & Tests

Medicare provides enormous health care benefits for seniors, but it doesnt cover everything.

Heres a short list of the items and services not covered by Original Medicare:

  • Long-term care
  • Most dental care
  • Hearing aids and exams for fitting them
  • Routine foot care

Unfortunately, hearing aids are not covered under Original Medicare. In fact, since Congress established Medicare in 1965, hearing aids have been excluded. However, recent legislation has expanded ways to still find coverage.

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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids

two-thirds of people over age 70, Medicare parts A and B do not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover hearing aids.

Hearing loss often occurs gradually as we age. This can lead to trouble hearing conversations, the TV, or even alarms or warnings. Hearing aids can help with hearing loss by making sounds in your environment louder to you.

Read on as we explore this topic and discuss the parts of Medicare that may provide coverage for hearing aids.

Lets start by breaking down the different parts of Medicare and discussing the coverage as it relates to hearing aids.

Do Medicare Plans Cover Hearing Aids

Does Medicare cover hearing aids? : Medicare Insurance

No, Medicare Supplement plans dont cover hearing aids.

Medicare Supplement plans are supplemental health insurance plans that can be purchased to help cover costs Original Medicare doesntsuch as copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Medicare supplement plans dont add new covered services or devices to Original Medicarethey only help pay for the benefits that Medicare already covers.

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What Does Original Medicare Cover

Original Medicare includes two parts. Medicare Part A is commonly referred to as hospital insurance. It pays for covered inpatient services in a hospital or skilled nursing facility . Part A also pays for hospice care. But it does not cover any inpatient services or diagnostics. This includes hearing aids for seniors and hearing tests.

Medicare Part B is also known as medical insurance. It pays for outpatient services deemed medically necessary by your provider. This includes doctor visits, lab work, durable medical equipment , a variety of preventive services and screenings, and more.

Although it doesn’t cover hearing aids or routine hearing exams, Medicare Part B does cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams. These are tests ordered by your healthcare provider to determine whether you require medical treatment. Your cost is 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount. The Part B deductible applies and, if you receive the exam as a hospital outpatient, there may also be a hospital copayment.

Original Medicare does not include prescription drug coverage. Those benefits are part of Medicare Part D.

Do Cigna Medicare Plans Cover Hearing Aids

Some of Cignas offerings make hearing aids and related care much more affordable, while others do not. For instance, certain Medicare Advantage plans from Cigna contain hearing-aid-related benefits. Such benefits are delivered via Hearing Care Solutions, which is Cignas partner.

For Cigna Medicare members, HCS lists no-cost fittings, four-year battery supplies and warranties as perks. Unless a co-pay applies, exams are free, and consumers can choose from a variety of hearing aid options. Prices for each specific device vary based on technology, but some plans include an allowance that makes hearing aids more affordable.

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Health Insurance And Hearing Care

Hearing aids can be expensive, often costing thousands of dollars. These prices often include the cost of the hearing aids and the professional services involved in hearing tests and device fitting.

Only around 25% of adults in the United States who need hearing aids have them, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation . The foundation adds that while most private insurance plans pay for a hearing test, they usually provide only $500 to $1,000 every 25 years toward the cost of a hearing aid.

The primary health insurance providers offer the following hearing care coverage.

What Do Aarp Medicare Advantage Plans From Unitedhealthcare Offer

Does Insurance Cover Hearing Aids? | Hearing Group

Many Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits not usually available through Original Medicare, and American Association of Retired Persons Medicare Advantage Plans from UnitedHealthcare are designed to help you make the most of your healthcare spending. While AARP Medicare Advantage Plans from UnitedHealthcare vary by service area, many of them offer both medical and non-medical benefits that help seniors save. Read on for important details about these plans.

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Will Hearing Aids Ever Be Hip

A new generation of more affordable and stylish hearing aids could help preserve mind, life and limb for millions.

  • Read in app

You may be tired of reading columns about the dismally poor use of hearing aids by Americans. And, to be honest, Id rather not have to write one every year or two. However, most people who could significantly benefit from these miracles of miniaturization still do not use them. But help is on the horizon.

Two-thirds of Americans aged 70 and older have clinically relevant hearing loss, according to the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health. Unaddressed hearing loss can increase the risk of cognitive decline, dementia, falls, cardiovascular disease, social isolation, depression and anxiety, but less than 20 percent of the adults who could benefit from a hearing aid currently wear one.

Although the need is generally greatest for those 65 and older, the Medicare legislation of 1965 excluded the coverage for hearing aids and never updated it. Medicare does cover the cost of a hearing exam performed by an audiologist, who can diagnose and prescribe treatment for hearing loss. But if the result is a prescription for hearing aids, which can range in cost from about $2,000 to $12,000 a pair, they will not be covered by Medicare and only rarely by private insurance.

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Are Hearing Aids Covered By My Plan

Who is this for?

If youre shopping for a Medicare plan or need to find out if your current plan covers hearing aids and fitting exams, this information is for you.

Whether your hearing aids and fitting exams are covered depends on what kind of Medicare plan you have.

  • Original Medicare is run by the U.S. government. It doesn’t cover hearing aids or fitting exams. You’ll pay for them out of your own pocket with Original Medicare.
  • Private health insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans that include everything Original Medicare offers, plus extra benefits. They may include hearing aids and fitting exams, depending on what type of Medicare Advantage plan you have.

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Which Medicare Plans Or Parts Cover Hearing Aids

As noted above, Part A and Part B do not cover routine hearing tests or hearing aids, but some Medicare Advantage plans do offer the benefit.

If this coverage is something youre interested in, youll need to shop for a Medicare Advantage plan that offers the benefit. The good news is that shouldnt be too hard to find one: In 2021, 88% of Medicare Advantage plans offered coverage for hearing aids.

If you want to compare Medicare Advantage plans or enroll in one consider shopping around during the annual Medicare open enrollment period, which starts October 15 and continues through December 7.

NOTE: Do not confuse Medigap with Medicare Advantage planss supplemental benefits. Although Medigap plans are referred to as Medicare supplement insurance, they do not include the supplemental benefits that Medicare Advantage plans offer. You may see a lot of marketing during Medicare open enrollment about both types of plans. A Medigap plan will not help you pay for hearing aids.

Call now to learn more about Medicare supplemental benefits with a licensed advisor.

Shopping For Hearing Aids

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?  Storehouse Insurance ...

If your doctor confirms that you need hearing aids, he or she may recommend a specific device, possibly through a specific vendor. The amount you pay depends on what type of insurance you have.

You may want to do a thorough search for available options if youre paying out of pocket for the hearing aids. You can search online for hearing aids to find a wealth of products from many hearing-aid companies. Check around for a hearing-aid style that best fits your needs, and compare prices and reviews to ensure that you find a product that will serve you well.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicaid program that covers all or part of the cost for a pair of hearing aids, you may be restricted to buy them through approved companies. Check with your health plan and follow their instructions, or you may not be covered for the cost of the hearing aids.

This article is for informational purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

To learn about Medicare plans you may be eligible for, you can:

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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.

Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Or Legacy Medigap

Blue Cross Medicare Supplement plans do not include routine hearing exams, hearing aid fittings or hearing aids. You may choose to pair a new or existing Blue Cross Medicare Supplement or Legacy Medigap plan with the Dental Vision Hearing Package that includes coverage for an exam and hearing aids. It also includes dental and vision benefits.

Learn more about how to get coverage for your Blue Cross Medicare Supplement or Legacy Medigap plan.

This is a solicitation of insurance. We may contact you about buying insurance. Blue Cross Medicare Supplement plans arent connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.

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Why Doesnt Medicare Cover Hearing Care

The Medicare Act excludes hearing aids because of their low cost, and the fact that it was not expected that seniors would live as long as they do now. The Medicare act also didnt anticipate an increase in the incidence of age-related hearing loss among seniors.

Hearing aids have been on the market for decades, and yet they are still not covered by Medicare. This is because in 1965, when the act was created, hearing aids were considered low-cost or even routinely needed. The population of seniors back then wasnt as large and most people did not live to their full lifespans.

However, todays seniors are living longer than ever before. Additionally, many other countries such as Canada provide coverage for them through healthcare plans. It is imperative that Medicare be updated to reflect this change so that those who need these devices can continue enjoying life without having to worry about going broke or risking losing their home due to medical bills.

Legislation To Help With Hearing Aid Costs

Does Insurance Cover Hearing Aids

Congress passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act in August 2017, making hearing aids more accessible to patients with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. After the Food and Drug Administration composes updated regulations that assure the safety of these products, the OTC hearing aids will become more widely available for purchase without a doctor’s prescription. This legislation is a step in the right direction to help people who cannot afford to pay the high price of hearing aids, but for many people, the price will still be restrictive. The goal of the new law is to continue to reduce hearing aid prices in the future to make them accessible to more people.

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What Is The Cost Of Hearing Aids

The cost of hearing aids depends on several factors, such as the type of hearing loss someone has, the quality of materials use in the hearing aid and the kind of technology used in the device.

At the lower end of the market, economical hearing aids can cost around $1500-$3000 per hearing aid, whereas premium models using sophisticated technology could cost as much as $6000 each. If you need one for each ear, the price will be considerably more.

When you buy hearing aids, the cost usually includes a hearing test, consultation, and the initial fitting. You’ll then return for follow-up appointments to adjust the hearing aids and customize them to your specific needs.

It’s important to factor in other associated costs. Hearing aids require maintenance, such as routine cleaning and replacement batteries. You should also consider how you would cover loss or accidental damage.

To find out more about your options and to compare plans available where you live that may cover hearing aids, call to speak with licensed insurance agent today.

Is There A Difference Between Medicare And Medicaid

No. Medicare is a health insurance program that primarily benefits persons over the age of 65, regardless of their income level, as well as those on Social Security Disability Insurance and those with specified conditions. Medicare is a federal program that is administered uniformly throughout the United States. Medicaid is a government-funded assistance program that serves low-income persons of all ages, with little or no financial responsibility on the part of the patients. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that varies by state.

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Does Cigna Cover Hearing Aids

COVID-19 Update: With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation. Weve developed a list of products that caregivers or seniors can purchase to help older adults stay happy, healthy and connected, whether they are aging in place at home or in an assisted living community.

Whether or not Cigna covers hearing aids depends on the specific insurance plan an enrollee chooses. Hearing aids can greatly improve the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss, but without the right coverage, they can be expensive. Additionally, an individuals hearing care needs may change over time, resulting in recurring expenses such as exams or new hearing devices. Therefore, each persons choice of coverage should take these expenses into account.

Proactive Steps To Get Help With Hearing Aid Costs

Does Insurance Cover Hearing aids in San Antonio?

Patients do not have to be passive about their hearing needs. Information is available online and through healthcare providers, as well as hearing aid companies, that can guide you in finding help. Private insurance companies offer a spectrum of plans that cover varying benefits, many at affordable prices. For veterans, a good place to start would be the local VA Office. Regardless of which Medicare Plan you choose, the insurance policy will list the number of a representative to call 24 hours a day. This person will be able to check the specific plan and outline in detail what it will cover. There will also be advice as to what specialized policies can be added to help cover specific needs.

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