Medicare and Hearing Aids
While approximately .08% of children born in the U.S. have some degree of hearing impairment, the vast majority of audio-impaired people are over age 50. Because the people in this age range often have limited resources for health coverage, purchasing hearing aids can be financially difficult.
It is not unusual for older people to procrastinate about going to hearing evaluations. They usually know if they are losing their hearing and know that hearing aids are expensive. If they are uninsured or underinsured, they may have trouble making such a purchase.
Unfortunately for those without private health insurance, hearing aids may have to be purchased out-of-pocket. The debate of the issue of Medicare and hearing aids has been a lengthy and ongoing battle. With only a few exceptions, Medicare continues to exclude hearing aid coverage in both of the plans: A & B. Even people who purchase additional Medigap policies through private insurance companies will not receive hearing aid coverage.
Luckily, however, over the past few years, Medicare has increased health coverage options. Some seniors now have the option of a Medicare HMO plan. Similar to private HMO’s, seniors must choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP) and only visit doctors and specialists in their particular network. By paying a small co-payment each time they visit a physician, they are able to save money on premiums and often get additional benefits.
If Medicare and hearing aids are of concern to you, you should become a wise consumer. Learn as much as you can about the Medicare HMO you plan to choose and make sure that they offer additional benefits such as vision care and hearing aids. These plans will generally offer services for auditory evaluations and fittings for the hearing aid. Medicare sometimes pays the full amount and other times you may be asked to meet a deductible. It depends on your specific coverage.