Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
Hearing loss can be frustrating, especially when you start to consider the cost of addressing it. Hearing aids are a life-saver for many affected by hearing loss but costs can be financially burdensome for many. For those on Medicare, navigating coverage options can be challenging. Here’s what you need to know about your Medicare coverage and your hearing aid options.
Original Medicare & Hearing Aid Coverage
Also known as “Original Medicare,” Medicare Part B is often the first place those with Medicare coverage turn to address their hearing loss concerns. What you might be surprised to learn is that Medicare Part B coverage doesn’t cover hearing aids.
Strictly speaking, Medicare Part B coverage is in place only to cover any medically necessary service that is required in order to treat an active medical condition. Unfortunately, that means they will not cover the hearing aid devices you need, nor the doctor visits required for a proper hearing aid fitting.
There is some good news, though. Medicare Part B coverage does cover the diagnostic hearing tests you will need in order to get your hearing aids. Your doctor will need to recommend a diagnostic hearing test for diagnosis and you will still be responsible for about 20% of the cost out-of-pocket. If you have the hearing test done at a hospital, you may also be required to pay a hospital copay.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
There is no denying that the out-of-pocket cost of a hearing aid can be substantial. To start with, you’ll need an exam to confirm your hearing loss. This is the portion of your total hearing aid expense that Medicare Part B coverage will support you, though you’ll still be responsible for 20% of the cost. Because Medicare Part B will cover these diagnostic tests, it won’t be as much of a factor in your total cost.
Next, you’ll need your hearing aid device. As with any piece of technology, your price range will vary depending on the type of device you get, along with which supplier you use. The average cost of a single hearing aid is around $2,400, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. That average comes from a larger range of prices, extending from about $1,400 to more than $5,000. For this reason, it’s extremely important that you shop around to know all your price options.
Finally, your last cost will come from having your hearing aid fitted. Without a proper fitting, you run the risk of not taking full advantage of the help you should be getting from your hearing aid. This will likely be around the same price as an out-of-pocket office visit with your doctor.
Find Hearing Aid Coverage With a Medicare Advantage Plan
Although Medicare Part B doesn’t cover the cost of your hearing aid device and fitting, there is another option in the form of a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Medicare Advantage, also known as an MA plan or Part C, is another way to receive Original Medicare and Medicare Part D benefits. MA Plans are offered by private Medicare-approved companies that must follow rules set by Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans offer all the same benefits as Original Medicare plus more. In most cases, MA plans include prescription drug coverage. In addition, some Medicare Advantage plans offer hearing aid coverage. Other benefits may include:
- Home Care
- Chiropractic Care
- And many more benefits
You can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan during the annual enrollment period which runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. It is important to note, costs and coverage can vary between Medicare Advantage plans. Be sure to compare your options carefully. Some plans may require you to use certain hearing aid suppliers or go through specific processes to obtain your hearing aid.
As you navigate your hearing loss, you can rest assured that there are options out there for you that can save you thousands of dollars. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to one of our qualified independent agents.
Need Help with Hearing Aid Coverage?
Speak with a Licensed Insurance Agent to determine which Medicare Advantage plan is right for you based on your needs.