As we get older, our hearing often starts to fade. You may notice everyone seems to mumble or your family members are always complaining about the tv volume. While this is a normal part of life, you may feel as if you’re missing out on important experiences. The simplest of activities can become tedious, and it can leave you feeling frustrated. Fortunately, thanks to advances in medical technology, you no longer have to suffer from your hearing loss.
Today’s hearing aids work remarkably well, but they also come with a hefty price tag. Most Americans covered by Medicare might assume they can get hearing aids with minimal out-of-pocket costs — but does Medicare cover hearing aids?
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids? The Facts You Need to Know
If you’ve noticed some problems with your hearing, you could take it upon yourself to have tests done and purchase hearing aids. However, if you choose to go this route, you won’t receive any reimbursement from Medicare for either the exam or the hearing aids. That’s because in most cases, hearing issues are considered to be routine care.
On the other hand, if your physician orders diagnostic hearing tests after noticing hearing loss that he or she believes could be related to a medical issue, then Medicare Part B could cover up to 80 percent of the cost of the tests. This could be the case if you’re experiencing frequent vertigo or have suffered sudden hearing loss after an illness or injury.
You may wonder, if these tests conclude you need hearing assistance, does Medicare cover hearing aids? Unfortunately, the answer is still no. Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B) doesn’t cover the cost of hearing aids under any circumstances.
Your Options for Hearing Aid Coverage
The cost of hearing aids can range from anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars each, not including the expenses associated with exams and fittings. Since many seniors are on a fixed income, the cost of your hearing aids can put a dent in your savings. Understanding your options can help you minimize your out-of-pocket expenses.
If your hearing exam was ordered by your physician and qualifies for the 80 percent Medicare coverage, then your Supplemental Medicare Insurance (Medigap) plan may cover your 20 percent out-of-pocket cost. Plans C and F will also cover your deductible. However, none of the 10 Medicare Supplement plans on the market today cover the cost for your actual hearing aid devices.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) are private policies offered through Medicare that cover additional services in addition to what’s offered through Medicare Parts A and B. While most Medicare Advantage Plans don’t cover hearing aids, some do. If this is important to you, you’ll want to work with a licensed agent who can help you compare Medicare plans and choose the right one for your needs.
You might also be able to purchase private insurance coverage that will cover your hearing aid costs. If you’re a veteran, you could also qualify for hearing aid coverage through your VA benefits.
If you believe you have a plan that covers your hearing aid costs, you’ll want to read all documentation carefully. Your plan might require you purchase hearing aids from a specific supplier or to meet other requirements. Checking out the details before you make your purchase will help you avoid any unexpected surprises.
Choosing Your Medicare Coverage
Now that you know the surprising answer to the question: “Does Medicare cover hearing aids?” it’s easy to see how important it is to understand the type of coverage you’re purchasing. If you’re not clear on your coverage, you could end up paying out-of-pocket costs that are far higher than you expect.
There’s a very good chance you’ll experience hearing issues as you age, so it’s smart to be proactive about your coverage. Contact one of our licensed agents today to learn more about your options.