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 2022, the average premium for a Medicare Advantage plan is $62.66 per month.
Some popular Medicare Advantage plan companies include:
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Tests
In some cases, yes, but only if recommended by your primary care doctor or another physician. In other words, you can’t go to a hearing clinic without a referral and expect Medicare to pay for it.
Here’s how Medicare explains hearing exam coverage: “Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders them to see if you need medical treatment. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor’s services for covered exams, and the Part B deductible applies. Medicare doesnt cover hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids.”
Can You Get Free Hearing Aids From The Veterans Health Administration
Hearing loss is the most common service-related injury for U.S. veterans.2 If you were in the service and are experiencing hearing loss in your golden years, the Veterans Health Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs , may be able to give you free hearing aids, or at least a significant discount on them.
Getting Your Hearing Tested
Don’t wait to address your hearing health as the guidance is sorted out. Get tested by an audiologist, take an online screening test, or visit a hearing center that has licensed hearing health providers. Find a hearing aids guide at hearingloss.org.
Take advantage of hearing aid discounts. Costco offers its own brand of hearing aids and other hearing services. Drugstore chain CVS has opened 32 hearing centers in seven states, with plans to expand this year, a company spokesperson says. Single device costs range from about $400 to $2,500. Try a high-tech device that’s not a hearing aid. Hearing technology company Nuheara sells wireless earbuds that work with a smartphone app for about $300 a pair. Wearers can tune out background noise at restaurants, offices or outside and “control how they hear the world around them,’ says company co-founder David Cannington.
The Good The Bad And The Unanswered
As a practice dedicated to the hearing health of our patients, we were excited about both of these provisions, as cost can be a barrier for proper hearing healthcare in this country.
Having Medicare pay for hearing healthcare, either hearing aids themselves or the professional healthcare services necessary to maximize the benefits the devices can provide, would allow more people to afford quality hearing healthcare.
However, there were many questions that remained unanswered in the proposed legislation.
What technology level of hearing aids would Medicare cover for people with a moderately-severe to profound loss? Would folks be able to pay extra in order to upgrade their hearing aids above what Medicare provides?
What services would Medicare cover? Hearing aids are important tools for hearing healthcare, but they are only a tool. The professional care of the audiologist remains the most critical factor for successful treatment of hearing loss.
There was also a lack of clarity regarding consumer protection, patient choice, competition, and transparency.
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Find Cheap Medicare Plans In Your Area
Hearing aid coverage varies based on the type of Medicare. Hearing aids are not covered by Original Medicare or Medigap plans. However, most Medicare Advantage plans have some coverage for hearing aids. Even with these plans, enrollees pay an average of $1,817 per hearing aid, a discount from the typical cost of $2,300.
For those who are dual-enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, hearing aids are covered through Medicaid in 28 states. There is broader coverage across all types of Medicare for hearing exams and implantable hearing devices.
Let The Medicare Helpline Help Find The Right Hearing Coverage
Our licensed insurance agents can help you find the hearing coverage options in your area and provide side-by-side comparisons, making it easier for you to decide which Medicare plan is right for you. Dont miss out on the benefits you deserve. Get started by entering your zip below:
The Medicare Helpline is a licensed and certified representative of a Medicare Advantage organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal. By completing the contact form above or calling the number listed above, you will be directed to a licensed sales agent who can answer your questions and provide information about Medicare Advantage, Part D or Medicare supplement insurance plans. Availability of carriers and products are dependent on your resident zip code.
The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company. Medicare Supplement insurance is available to those age 65 and older enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B and in some states to those under age 65 eligible for Medicare due to disability or End Stage Renal disease. Medicare Supplement insurance plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program.
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Which Medicare Plans Should You Select If You Know You Need Hearing Aids
You should select a Medicare Advantage plan available in your area that includes extra benefits for hearing if you know you need hearing aids. If you dont have hearing aids yet, but you anticipate needing them based on your family history, you should consider MA plans with hearing aid benefits.
If you are already working with a professional for your hearing and hearing aids, its a good idea to check with your provider to see which MA plans include them in their network.
If you already have a MA plan with hearing aid benefits, consider making an appointment with their in-network audiologist to conduct a screening or exam to determine if you have hearing loss and whether or not it could be helped by hearing aids.
Search for plans here. You will input your zip code to begin the search for Medicare plans that are offered in your area.
- Select Medicare Advantage plans to find plans with hearing aid coverage.
- Take the time to compare plan benefits and providers.
- Contact the plan to discuss details
- Review the EOC document that is associated with each plan. You can find this by clicking on Plan Details, then scrolling to find the EOC. One more click, and you should be able to view the EOC. Refer to the table of contents to find the details about hearing benefits.
On Medicare Options For Hearing Aids
Recently, President Joe Biden proposed spending $3.5 trillion over the next decade on climate change, health care and family-service programs. Included is that proposal is an expansion to Medicare that would cover hearing care, as well as dental and vision.
For millions of Americans, this would be a huge financial relief because original Medicare doesnt provide coverage for these services. This has led some people to skip much-needed care.
No specifics about the proposed expansion and exactly what would be covered have been released, and this legislation may face an uphill battle, but it does signal recognition among lawmakers that these services are important in order for older Americans to stay healthy.
In the meantime, health insurance benefits can be tricky to navigate, especially for older Americans on Medicare.
At Associated Audiologists, we provide a number of financing options with discounts for patients who are on traditional Medicare and pay out of pocket.
We also are a participating provider for the following commercial insurance programs:
- AARP Medicare Advantage
- United Healthcare
- United Healthcare Medicare Advantage Plans
For those who have a Medicare Advantage Plan, be sure to read the fine print of what your plan covers with regard to hearing aids, or better yet, check with our team and ask them what your plan actually covers. They have the knowledge and expertise to sort through the fine print that you may miss.
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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Exams
Original Medicare doesnt cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids.
So if you opt for only Original Medicare and you need a hearing aid, youll be paying 100% out-of-pocket for your device and any exams related to getting it. The same holds true for a Medigap policy , which typically has no hearing coverage.
Your primary care doctor, however, will check you for hearing issues during your annual wellness visit, which is covered by Original Medicare.
Medicare Part B applies when you see your doctor for preventive or outpatient care. Under Part B, you dont have to choose just one primary care physician. You can generally see a specialist like an ear, nose and throat doctor without a referral as long as the specialist participates in Medicare. However, patients who need to see an audiologist do need a doctors order.
Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders them to see if you need medical treatment. .4 For example, Medicare Part B might cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor orders the tests to help diagnose a condition like vertigo or dizziness.
In that situation, your cost with your Original Medicare plan will be 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctors services for covered exams, and the Part B deductible applies. If youre getting the hearing-related tests in a hospital outpatient setting, you will also pay a copayment to the hospital.5
Using My Eargo Hearing Aids
Eargo hearing systems are designed to be user-friendly. To insert a hearing aid, you pick up the device by the plastic removal thread, flip it over, and gently insert it into your ear canal. Each device is marked R and L for identification. I found it easier to insert the devices by pulling gently on my earlobe with one hand and inserting the device with my other hand. The device will sit entirely inside your ear canal with the removal thread resting on your earlobe facing downwards.
FYI: Wait at least 30 minutes after swimming or showering to insert your hearing aids to ensure your ear canals are dry.
To remove the device, grasp the removal thread and gently pull. The important thing with handling these devices is to treat them with care. They are delicate, so you dont want to jam them in or out of your ear.
Eargo devices work by pressure switches, so if you want to change sound profiles at any time, you simply tap on your ear. The method that worked best for me was using the flat of my hand to double-tap on my ear canal. You will know it worked when the device says the sound profile name such as program two. In the factory settings, one is the lowest amplification and four is the maximum amplification.
The Eargo mobile app can adjust bass and treble along with personalizing environment settings. Default audio environments include:
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Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Audiology Services As Physician Services And Practitioner Status For Audiologists And Hearing Aid Specialists
Following the latest White House proposal, the House Rules Committee released a draft of the reconciliation text on Thursday afternoon. A number of significant changes to how audiologists and hearing aid specialists would be treated under Medicare are included in the latest draft, including:
Inclusion of qualified audiologists and qualified hearing aid professionals as RHC and FQHC Practitioners Section 1861 of the Social Security Act ) is amended by inserting or by a qualified audiologist or a qualified hearing aid professional
Hearing aid coverage is said to be provided for individuals with severe to profound hearing losses, approximately every 5 years.
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Will Medicare Pay For My Hearing Aids
According to their website, basic Medicare does not cover hearing aids or the exams youll need to be fitted for a hearing aid.
When the original Medicare bill passed in 1965, people didnt live as long, and age-related hearing loss wasnt as common, so hearing aids were excluded.
In recent years, legislators have attempted to include hearing aids in the scope of traditional Medicare, and it may be added soon.
In the meantime, Medicare beneficiaries can get coverage for hearing, dental care and vision through supplemental Medicare Advantage plans.
How Is Hearing Loss Treated
The standard treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids. Most people need the devices in both ears, while others need a hearing aid only on one side.5 Most hearing aids use air induction, which means they amplify the sound that moves through your ear canal into your inner ear. However, if your outer or middle ear cant conduct sound, you may need bone-conduction hearing aids that send sound straight to your inner ear.6
Hearing aids come in several styles, from behind-the-ear to completely-in-canal devices. Each style has different benefits and limitations, so its important to choose carefully. Prices for a single hearing aid may vary, but they can cost anywhere from less than $1,000 to as much as $4,000 per ear.7
Hearing aidseven the most expensive modelsare only half the treatment for hearing loss. The other half is aural rehabilitation, which is all about learning to adapt to your situation.8 Hearing aids are one of the tools that we have in our toolbox for managing hearing loss, Shakespeare says. But they are not the only thing that we have for managing hearing loss.
For example, an audiologist can suggest ways to improve the sound environment in your home. Some of Shakespeares patients have benefited from things like adding a soundbar to their television setup or installing carpet to dampen echoes.
Shopping around for hearing aids? You may be able to save if you have the right coverage. Call a licensed insurance agent at today.
Eargo Hearing Aid Pricing
Hearing aids are an investment. While Eargo hearing aids arent inexpensive, theyre about half the price of some other hearing aids on the market. Eargo prices range from $1,500 to just under $3,000.
Eargo does have a 10 percent discount on certain models for military personnel, veterans, teachers, nurses, doctors, or first responders.
These hearing aids are available directly from Eargo by phone or online, or via . Theyre also sold at a very small number of stores.
Monthly financing plans are available from Eargo, starting at $86 per month.
Eargos Max and Neo have a 1-year warranty, while Neo HiFi has a 2-year warranty. The warranty covers unlimited repairs and one-time loss or damage per hearing aid.
You can return your Eargo hearing aids within 45 days for a full refund, but note that a couple phone calls will probably be involved.
Learn more about Eargos return policies from their help center.
Return policies of retailers who sell Eargo hearing aids may differ. Check the stores policy.
Eargo customer reviews are mostly very positive. Customers report that they hear much better and that the devices are comfortable, easy to use, and virtually invisible. Reviewers also give high marks for the service, including the technical support.
Customers also note that Eargo hearing aids were comfortable while wearing glasses and a face mask.
Notably, Eargo replied to complaints made on some websites, such as ConsumerAffairs, and offered solutions.
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Do You Need A Hearing Aid
The following are some signs of when to consider having your hearing tested, according to the Food & Drug Administration:
- You hear better out of one ear than the other.
- People say you are shouting when you talk.
- You often ask people to repeat themselves.
- You canât hear a dripping faucet or high-pitched musical notes.
Hearing Aid Assistance For Low
Many individuals over the age of 65 cannot afford the cost of hearing aids, despite needing them to communicate and avoid hearing loss-related issues like dementia.
The Hearing Loss Association of America has a list of resources for those who need financial assistance. Programs like Medicaid and the VA may be able to help.
Also, donât forget to talk to your audiologist or hearing aid provider. They may have programs or payment plans to help.
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Do Medicare Supplements Cover Hearing Aids
It fills the gap that the original medicare doesnt cover. Such gaps are copayment, coinsurance, and deductibles. A point to note is that Medicare supplements dont cover people using Medicare for the first time. This took effect on January 1, 2020, but you can buy some deductibles if you were a member before then.
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Audiology Medicare Access: When Will You Be Eligible
To even see an audiologist, you must first meet with your primary care physician. The current Medicare program only covers diagnostic services â not follow-up treatment or ongoing care. Hearing aid customization and fitting also arenât covered under the program.
These exclusions seem like a fairly big omission given that non-congenital hearing loss disproportionately affects older Americans. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders , 25% of those between the ages of 65 and 75 experience some type of âdisablingâ hearing loss. And that number jumps to 50% among those who are 75 and older.
Why even have a Medicare program if retirees are expected to cover out-of-pocket expenses for such a common medical condition? It just seems wrong.
However, recently proposed legislation could correct some of these glaring gaps.
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