Coverage

Can Medicare Help Cover the Cost of My Hearing Aids?

Read how different parts of Medicare may cover hearing aids and hearing health, what hearing aids cost and what your best Medicare options may include if you need hearing aids.

Our sense of hearing allows us to connect with the world and build strong relationships. Without fair hearing, conversations can be difficult, and you can miss out on essential interactions with the people you love. You could even find your hobbies and lifestyle suffering.

If you are one of the almost 30 million American adults who could benefit from using hearing aids, you may be wondering if Medicare can help cover your hearing aid costs.

In this article, we outline which parts of Medicare could help with the cost of hearing aids.

Does Medicare pay for hearing aids?

Original Medicare (the name for Medicare Part A and Part B) does not pay for hearing aids typically, but it may cover hearing exams. Some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may cover hearing aids, however. In fact, 88% of Medicare Advantage plans cover hearing aids in 2021.

  • Medicare consists of different parts. Original Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and does not cover hearing aids or provide coverage for hearing exams.

  • The medical insurance part of Original Medicare, Part B, may cover some hearing health expenses for beneficiaries, depending on their circumstances.

Many Medicare beneficiaries choose to receive their Part A and B benefits through a bundled Medicare Part C plan, often called a Medicare Advantage plan. These plans must offer at least the same level of coverage as Original Medicare, and they typically cover additional benefits.

Part C plans must at least match Medicare Part B hearing care coverage, and many plans also cover benefits such as prescription drugs, eye exams and glasses, dental care and hearing aids.

It's important to note that not all Medicare Advantage plans are available in all areas, and there may not be plans available where you live that cover hearing aids.

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 (BAHA) 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. 

How do Part C Medicare Advantage Plans cover hearing aids and hearing care?

Private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans often include coverage for hearing, vision, and dental care, plus coverage for prescription drugs. Some comprehensive Part C plans cover hearing aids and their maintenance costs.

If you are considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, it's essential to review the policy's cost and coverage, as this can vary considerably by individual policies. In 2021, the average premium for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage is roughly $34 per month.

Some popular Medicare Advantage plan companies include:

Do any Medicare supplement plans cover hearing aids?

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also called Medigap, do not provide coverage for hearing aids. In fact, these plans don’t provide coverage for any health care services or items at all. 

Instead, Medigap plans provide coverage for out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare, such as Part A and Part B deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.

Learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance plans. 

Additional resources for help with hearing aids

If you have Medicare and need help paying for a hearing aid, there are some programs that might be able to offer some assistance.

  • Foundation for Sight and Sound provides hearing aids to individuals with limited financial resources. Visit their website for more information about the program.
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  • If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for financial help for your hearing aids through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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  • Some local organizations such as the Lions Club International may also be able to help people with hearing problems. Reach out to your local branch to find out if you qualify for assistance.

  • Medicaid may cover hearing aids in the following states:
    • AK, CA, CT, D.C., FL, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OR, RI, SD, TX, VT, WI, WY

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.

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