Hearing loss affects two-thirds of adults over the age of 70, yet neither Medicare Parts A nor B cover the cost of hearing devices. Hearing aids may, however, be covered by some Medicare Advantage plans.
Loss of hearing is a common side effect of growing older. This condition can make it difficult to hear conversations, television, or even warnings or alarms. Hearing aids can assist those who suffer from hearing loss by increasing the volume of sounds in their environment.
What is the average price of a hearing aid?
Hearing aids/devices are available at a variety of price points. A hearing aid costs around $2,400 on average, according to a report published in 2015 by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Some patients may require two hearing aids, bringing the total cost to $4,800.
Hearing aids can be expensive, making it difficult for some people to address their hearing loss. But on the other hand, these gadgets can significantly improve the quality of life for people who suffer from hearing loss.
Does Medicare cover the cost of hearing aids?
Typically, Original Medicare (the other name for Medicare Parts A and B) does not cover hearing aids, but it may cover the hearing tests. But specific Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may cover hearing aids. However, by 2021, 88 percent of Medicare Advantage plans will cover hearing aids.
Medicare is divided into several parts. The Original Medicare Part A is a hospital insurance plan that does not cover hearing aids or hearing examinations.
Depending on the beneficiary’s circumstances, the medical insurance component of Original Medicare, Part B, may cover some hearing health expenses.
Numerous Medicare beneficiaries elect to receive their Part A and B benefits through a bundled Medicare Part C plan (Medicare Advantage plan). These plans are required to provide at least the same level of coverage as Original Medicare. They often include additional benefits too.
Part C plans must cover hearing care on a par with Medicare Part B, and many plans also cover prescription drugs, eye exams, glasses, dental care, and hearing aids.
It’s essential to keep in mind that not all Medicare Advantage plans are available in all areas. It might be possible that plans covering hearing aids may not be available where you live.
How are hearing aids and hearing care covered under Medicare Part B?
Medicare Part B may cover care for a hearing-related medical condition or diagnostic hearing tests. The physician can find the cause of hearing loss with the help of these tests.
While you may believe that hearing aids are medically necessary, Medicare Part B does not cover most people’s costs. On the other hand, Part B covers cochlear implants and bone-anchoring hearing aids (BAHA) because they are classified as prosthetic devices rather than hearing aids by Medicare.
These are surgically implanted hearing systems that operate differently than standard hearing aids. For example, a BAHA is attached to the skull bone. Rather than amplifying sound, it directs vibrations to the inner ear, bypassing the middle and outer ears. In comparison, a cochlear implant placed surgically stimulates the auditory nerve via electrodes.
These devices can benefit individuals facing problems with their middle ear or ear canal, preventing sound waves from approaching the inner ear. Traditional hearing aids may not be as effective for individuals with this type of hearing loss.
How are hearing aids and hearing care covered under Part C (Medicare Advantage) Plans?
Private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans frequently cover hearing, vision, and dental care in addition to prescription drug coverage. In addition, certain comprehensive Part C plans include coverage for hearing aids and their maintenance.
If you’re considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s essential to compare the cost and coverage of the policy. This is because these can vary significantly between individual policies. For example, in 2021, the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage will be approximately $34.
Do any Medicare supplement plans cover hearing aids?
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, commonly referred to as Medigap, do not cover hearing aids. Indeed, these plans exclude coverage for all health care services and items.
Rather than that, Medigap plans cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with Original Medicare, such as Part A and B deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Discover additional information about Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.
Additional resources for hearing aid assistance
If you have Medicare and require assistance with the cost of a hearing aid, there are a few programs that may assist you.
- The Foundation for Sight and Sound assists individuals with limited financial resources to obtain hearing aids. For questions and more information about the program, please visit their website.
- If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for your hearing aids.
- Certain local organizations, such as Lions Club International, may also assist individuals experiencing hearing loss. Contact your local branch to determine your eligibility for assistance.
- In the following states, Medicaid may cover hearing aids: AK, CA, CT, DC., FL, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OR, RI, SD, TX, VT, WI, WY.