With devices like hearing aids, it is possible to stop the progression of hearing loss and hear properly again. However, often hearing aid devices can be expensive for individuals.
So, the question is, does your health insurance cover the expense of your hearing aid?
The short answer is YES! But, there are a lot of factors to be considered before you can get the assistance of your insurance for your hearing aid device. Here, in this article, we will discuss these factors accordingly.
Does Health Insurance Cover Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids are usually not covered by medical insurance. Still, insurers might often offer optional vision, dental, or hearing plans that include coverage for hearing aid fittings, hearing tests, etc.
The other options you might have can include financing offered by your hearing care professional, charitable organizations, or credit from a third party like CareCredit. You’ll need to properly investigate all the options you have to find the best fit for you.
How Much Does Hearing Aid Insurance Cost?
An article was published in in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery in 2017, which says that a single hearing aid can cost over 2,000 USD in the USA. Additional technology and features, repairs, fitting services, and warranties can further drive the price up.
Hearing Aids and Insurance Coverage
Your private insurance coverage might pay for hearing aid evaluations and hearing tests even if it refuses to cover the total costs of the hearing aids. As most health insurance plans don’t provide coverage for hearing aids, you’ll need to determine if your health insurance covers hearing aids by checking with your plan. Here are some benefit types that you might get from your private insurance coverage-
- A health plan might pay a specific amount for purchasing hearing aids, like around USD 500 or 1000. The amount might be provided during the purchase of hearing aids, or the allowance might be provided per ear. This benefit might get renewed after a specific number of years, typically 3 to 5 years.
- You might get an allowance through your hearing plan if you purchase your hearing aids from a contracted hearing aid provider. An allowance is a given amount that’ll be subtracted from the total price.
- You might have negotiated discounts with specific contracted providers. It means that you will get a specified amount of discount only if you purchase hearing aids from those specific providers.
Each health plan is different from the others, and the coverage of hearing aids within a plan can vary based on geographic location. At this moment, about 23 states mandate health insurance companies to provide partial or complete hearing aid coverage for children.
Health care coverage for hearing aids that are mandated by the state can vary from state to state. If you find out that your state mandates coverage for hearing aids, you’ll need to research a bit about the amount that gets covered and how often you can make a claim.
As discounts and insurance coverage are constantly changing, you’ll need to call your insurance provider and ask about your health care plan while considering purchasing hearing aids.
Insurance Coverage in the Different States
Based on the information provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association or ASHA, these following states require by the law that private insurance plans pay for the hearing aids for only children-
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association says the following states require coverage of hearing aids for people of all ages:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Which Insurance Covers Hearing Aids
Medicare doesn’t cover the costs of hearing aids or hearing aid evaluations. Still, part B of the Medicare coverage provides an annual wellness visit that can include the price of a hearing loss screening. Part B also covers a hearing test if a health care professional prescribes it. However, part B of the Medicare plan doesn’t plan for hearing aids or hearing test results counseling.
Original Medicare plan covers the cost of a cochlear implant, another hearing assistive device that stimulates the auditory nerves. The coverage covers the surgery and follow-up programming of this device.
Medicaid covers the cost of hearing aids for adults from time to time, but they must cover the cost of hearing aid devices for children. The amount of coverage offered by Medicaid can vary. Although a state might provide coverage, it can be difficult finding a hearing aid provider that will accept Medicaid.
Some Insurers and Hearing Aid Coverages Provided by Them
Here we’ll look into three of the most reputed insurers and the coverage they provide-
Humana provides different types of Medicare plans that include Medicare Advantage Plans. But it doesn’t offer non-medicare health insurance-
For example, the Humana Medical Advantage plan in Los Angeles provides the following benefits for hearing care-
- $0 copayment for a Medicare-covered hearing exam
- $0 copayment for hearing aid adjustments and fitting up to two hearing aids every year
- $699–$999 copay for one hearing aid every year
Point to be noted, an individual with a Humana plan will have to use TruHearing for hearing care.
Aetna offers plans for Medicare and non-Medicare plans. The non-Medicare ones don’t include hearing aid coverage other than a routine hearing screening and a non-routine hearing test in some instances. Examples of hearing benefits provided by Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan includes-
- 100% coverage for a routine yearly hearing test and hearing aid fitting
- up to $1,250 per ear each year toward the cost of a hearing aid
Anthem provides both Medicare and non-Medicare plans. The non-Medicare ones offer benefits only if an additional fee is provided.
An example of an Anthem Medicare Advantage plan includes the following benefits:
- $0 or $35–$40 copay for hearing exam with in-network doctors
- set maximum per year for hearing care, such as $1,500 or $3,000
If an individual who has one of the non-Medicare Anthem plans purchases an add-on hearing benefit, they will have a 20% copayment for:
- audiological exams
- hearing aids
- hearing aid fittings
Why Using Hearing Aids is Important
Hearing aids are the most effective and popular method to deal with permanent hearing loss problems. These hearing assistive devices will help you listen to sounds better by amplifying those sounds for you, and you will be able to get on with your everyday life much better. You will be able to communicate with your near and dear ones effortlessly. Hearing aids also provide specific features that can make the life of a person with hearing loss really better. Most importantly, hearing aids keep the hearing health of the hearing impaired from deteriorating any further.
However, getting hearing aids isn’t an easy feat. It will be costly if you want to go for the best quality hearing aids that the most well-known hearing aid companies manufacture. The better the quality of the hearing aids, or the more features you will want to have for your hearing aids, the more the hearing aids will cost.
For a large number of people that suffer from hearing loss problems, it can be challenging to get good quality hearing aids that will help them listen better and get on with their everyday lives because of the high price of these devices. Many people tend not to get hearing aids because of this, and as a result, they face further difficulties with their hearing problems. Their hearing health further deteriorates, and they face considerable problems in leading their everyday lives. So, they must get the chance to use hearing aids as per their needs and preferences. That’s where different insurance coverages can be of help.
Numerous private insurance coverage plans can help people get proper hearing care and, most importantly, hearing aids. There are some states that make it mandatory to include hearing care in health insurance coverage. Some plans might not cover the price but provide allowances for hearing tests and check-ups. There are also unique insurance plans like Medicare and Medicaid coverages that can help to get hearing aids. Also, some government-funded coverage can be of massive help in this regard. Many organizations provide help for getting hearing aids and hearing care, especially for seniors.
Have a look at some of the best hearing aids for seniors.
Hearing health is something that one needs to take very seriously. When someone is suffering from permanent hearing loss problems, it is paramount that they resort to hearing aids. Getting preferred hearing aids can be complex due to the high cost of hearing aids, so you can try sitting with your insurer to understand if your health insurance plan provides coverage for hearing aids or not. Or, you can try finding specific coverages mandated by your state or try getting particular health plans for yourself that will help you deal with your hearing loss problems.
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