Hearing the hum of traffic, the buzzing of lights, and the low rumble of conversation within a crowd might not seem important, but the absence of those sounds or a decreased capacity to understand conversations with your loved ones could be an indicator of hearing loss. Hearing aids can help recover hearing loss and provide an improved quality of life, but tragically, only one in five individuals diagnosed with a hearing loss actually bother to get the help they need from hearing aids, according to Medical Xpress. There are many reasons behind this statistic, but one of them includes a lack of coverage or confusion related to insurance covering their costs.
When I inform my Houston area patients of their hearing loss and their need for the auditory assistance provided by hearing aids, many of them bring up concerns about cost. One question I often hear, in relation to costs, includes, “Does Medicare cover hearing aids?” The answer is not one that I can provide immediately, because there are many variables like plan type, age, supplements, and other factors involved in the response. To help answer general questions about Medicare hearing aid coverage, I have put together some general information.
Hearing Care Coverage from Medicare
Statistics from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) indicate that “approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.” This means that the vast majority of individuals who will likely reap benefits from hearing aids are Medicare eligible. However, basic Medicare part A does not provide any coverage benefits for hearing aids, though part B does provide some benefits associated with hearing care.
What Does Medicare Cover?
“In general, Original Medicare and most Medicare Supplement (or Medigap) Plans don’t cover hearing aids, routine hearing exams, or fittings for hearing aids. This means that without other insurance, you could pay 100% of the cost for routine hearing exams, fittings, and hearing aids,” reports eHealth Medicare. That is not very good news for those hoping to get some help paying for hearing aids.
You can expect some help with hearing care from Medicare part B, but not a lot. With Medicare part B, you will only pay 20% coinsurance plus Medicare part B deductible for doctor ordered diagnostic hearing tests related to an injury or illness. Essentially, without a specific link to either of these, like very common age-related deterioration, there is no coverage for diagnostic hearing exams.
Medicare Coverage Alternatives
Those in the situation without any form of coverage, like a Medicare Advantage plan of some sort, provided by a private insurance provider guided under Medicare part C supplements will have to consider other limited alternatives. Your only recourse for finding assistance to pay for your hearing aids will be your capacity to qualify for hearing-related benefits programs through Medicaid and other private programs offered by and within the state of Texas or private federal programs.
Clarity Hearing Service Solutions
Because the benefits of using hearing aids in the restoration of hearing loss is so important, I do everything I can to put my patients at ease when it comes to paying for the cost of hearing aids. In an effort to reduce the worry of whether patients are covered by their insurance, Clarity Hearing assists our patients in determining whether your plan covers hearing tests, premium technology, or complete hearing care and provides information regarding copayment, deductible, or coinsurance applicable with your specific coverage.
To help my patients get the answers they need, I recommend that they fill out our online form, which starts the process into researching and providing precise answers to their questions. My primary focus, and that of my associates at Clarity Hearing, involves providing best-in class hearing health care to all of our patients in Houston and surrounding areas.
Scott Marquardt is the owner of Clarity Hearing and a highly skilled audiologist who has been in practice for over 20 years. Dr. Marquardt earned a master’s degree in audiology from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and a doctorate from A.T. Still University. He is a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. He and the team offer comprehensive hearing healthcare services and specialize in the care of tinnitus, imbalance, and auditory processing disorders.