Does Medicare Pay for Hearing Aids? Is There Any Hearing Aid Assistance for Seniors?

Posted by Barbara Olson on

Medicare. Under current Medicare regulations, hearing loss evaluations and hearing aids are not covered. This means that you will have to pay all costs for testing and hearing aid devices and supplies out-of-pocket. If you have suffered hearing loss because of an accident or workplace neglect, Medicare may pay for most or all costs for a hearing aid. You will have to prove, however, that the hearing loss was the direct cause of an injury or accident.   If your hearing problem is due to a specific disease—such as removal of a brain tumor or head injury—Medicare may cover the charges. Your doctor or hearing specialist will be able to explain which hearing exams are covered by Medicare, and the conditions for a diagnostic hearing exam.

If you are approved by your physician for a Medicare-covered diagnostic hearing exam, you pay 20% of the charges. You must pay your deductible for any Medicare services and supplies before Medicare begins to pay its share. If a doctor, health care provider or supplier does not accept assignment, the amount you pay may be higher.

If your insurance is original Medicare with a supplemental, it is possible that some supplementals cover a portion of the hearing exam. You would need to check with your individual policy to determine if hearing loss is covered. If you are in the process of going on original Medicare and need to purchase a supplemental, check with several different supplemental coverages for specifics on hearing loss coverage.

Medicaid. Medicaid often covers hearing aids, but each state's requirements differ. The Hearing Loss Association of America's website has information by state.

Medical Flexible Spending (MFS) accounts. For those with these accounts, capped at $2500 for the 2013 plan year, the cost of a hearing aid and batteries is considered reimbursable.

Veteran benefits. Veterans get hearing aids if their hearing loss is connected to their military service or linked to a medical condition treated at a VA hospital. Also, veterans can get devices through the VA if their hearing loss is severe enough to interfere with activities of daily life.

Federal employee assistance. Federal employees and their families are entitled to coverage through some insurance plans. Health plans pay for a basic hearing aid, and employees pay for extras and upgrades themselves.

An affordable option. Simple Ear is technically a Personal Sound Amplifier Product.  No prescription is required and no fitting is needed.  They are not covered by insurance.  However, they cost up to 80% less than comparable high-quality, digital prescription products.

Insurance for hearing aids varies by company, policy and location.  Some will cover certain costs periodically; most don't cover any costs as outlined above.  Please check with your insurance carrier for any questions related to coverage.

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