Can I Get Free Hearing Aids
Free hearing aids aren’t the norm, but you might be able to snag a free pair. This is welcome news if you’re on a Medicare plan that won’t help with the cost.
Here are some groups that may offer free or highly discounted hearing aids to seniors:
- Your insurance company
- Medicare Advantage
- Department of Veterans Affairs
- Vocational rehabilitation
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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids
En español | Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids.
It might cover a physician-ordered hearing test or treatment of a hearing-related medical condition, but Medicare will not pay for devices to improve hearing or exams to fit them. You are responsible for 100 percent of these costs.
The average price of a pair of digital hearing aids is about $1,500, according to the National Institutes of Health. High-end devices can be as much as $5,000.
The same holds true if you have a Medicare Supplement plan. These plans, also known as Medigap, generally have no hearing-aid coverage.
But if you have a Medicare Advantage plan from a private insurance company, it might cover some of the cost of hearing aids. Check with your plan provider.
If youre a veteran, you have another route to take in searching for help to pay for hearing aids: the Department of Veterans Affairs . If you qualify for VA health benefits, you may qualify for hearing testing and paid-in-full hearing aids.
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Legislation To Help With Hearing Aid Costs
Congress passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act in August 2017, making hearing aids more accessible to patients with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. After the Food and Drug Administration composes updated regulations that assure the safety of these products, the OTC hearing aids will become more widely available for purchase without a doctor’s prescription. This legislation is a step in the right direction to help people who cannot afford to pay the high price of hearing aids, but for many people, the price will still be restrictive. The goal of the new law is to continue to reduce hearing aid prices in the future to make them accessible to more people.
What Hearing Aid Services Are Covered By Medicare
If your doctor believes you have a medical condition requiring treatment that can be diagnosed with a balance test or diagnostic hearing exam, Part B may cover 80% of allowable charges for these tests . If you get these tests as an outpatient at the hospital, the hospital copayment may also apply.
Under Original Medicare, you usually pay 100% of the costs associated with routine hearing exams and hearing aids.
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Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act Of 2017
In the past few years, legislation has been introduced in Congress to expand Medicare coverage to hearing aids. This includes the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2017 and the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act. The latter would also provide Medicare beneficiaries with coverage for vision and dental care.
In late 2019, a pair of lawmakers introduced the Medicare Hearing Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives. The bill would allow Medicare to cover hearing aids for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
Medicare would pay for one pair of hearing aids every five years, but it wouldnt pay for over-the-counter hearing aids. The hearing aids would also need to be deemed necessary by a qualified audiologist or physician.
Its difficult to say if and exactly when in the future beneficiaries will be able to take advantage of expanded benefits for hearing. The goal of the legislations listed above is to make costly elements of healthcare more affordable for seniors and disabled individuals. Well keep this page up-to-date with the latest information about the status of these legislations.
Customer Service And Satisfaction
The Oticon support page is complete with how-to videos, instruction manuals, care guides, and articles. If you need help with something specific, you can email or call the companys support team directly.
Its worth noting that Oticon has mixed ratings on third-party review sites:
- Oticon is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau but has an A- rating on the site, with four complaints closed in the last three years.
- On Trustpilot, Oticon has a 2.7- out of 5-star rating based on 30 reviews as of mid-November 2021.
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Oticon Hearing Aid Customization
Oticon offers a range of styles with invisible options to keep the hearing aids discreet, including receiver-in-the-ear , behind-the-ear , invisible-in-the-canal , completely-in-the-canal , and in-the-ear styles. Users can also be fitted with custom hearing aids, especially with the Oticon Opn model.
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 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.
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Do Medicare Plans Cover Hearing Aids
No, Medicare Supplement plans dont cover hearing aids.
Medicare Supplement plans are supplemental health insurance plans that can be purchased to help cover costs Original Medicare doesn’tsuch as copays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Medicare supplement plans don’t add new covered services or devices to Original Medicarethey only help pay for the benefits that Medicare already covers.
What Else Should I Know About Medicare Advantage And Hearing Aid Coverage
Here are some things you should know about Medicare Advantage and hearing aid coverage:
- When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan with hearing aid coverage, you may have to pay a monthly premium in addition to your regular Part B premium.
- With many Medicare Advantage plans, you may need to use a doctor or audiologist in the plans network in order to access benefits for your routine hearing services and hearing aids.
- You may also have a copayment or coinsurance amount. Some plans pay a percentage of your hearing aid costs while others pay a set amount you can apply toward the purchase of a hearing aid.
- There may be an annual limit on the amount of money your plan will pay each year toward your routine hearing care and hearing aids.
Its important to note that not all Medicare Advantage plans include these extra benefits for hearing aids and routine hearing care, and not all plans may be available in all areas. Your premium may vary depending on where you live and the type of plan you choose.
If you would like more information about Medicare coverage for hearing aids, Im happy to help. To request information via email, or to schedule a telephone call, click one of the links below. You can view a list of plans in your area you may qualify for by clicking the Compare Plans button.
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Medicare Part B May Cover Diagnostic Hearing Exams
While Part B wont cover hearing aids, it will cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders these tests to see if you need medical treatment for a recent injury or illness, such as vertigo or other balance problems.
If you do have an exam covered by Medicare, youll still have to pay the Part B deductible and 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the doctor’s services. If you have testing done in a hospital outpatient setting, you will also be responsible to pay a hospital copayment.
If your doctor recommends you get other hearing-related services Medicare doesnt cover, you may have to pay some or all the costs. Before you do anything, be sure to ask why your doctor is recommending certain services and whether Medicare will pay for them.
Cost Of Hearing Aids And How To Save
Hearing aids cost an average of $2,300 each. For both ears, thatâs $4,600 a pair.
Among the range of brands, Eargo tends to be a little less expensive, and Phonak hearing aids can be priced higher. Despite the sticker shock of spending thousands of dollars to manage hearing loss, savvy consumers have several ways to save money on hearing aids:
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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
Which Plans Would Be Best To Cover All The Costs Of Hearing Aids
Along with Medicare Part C, Medicare Part B may cover diagnostic hearing exams. This is as long as your doctor or other healthcare provider orders your hearing exam. But here are a few things you should know:
- Medicare Part C is a Medicare Advantage plan. Common Advantage plan types are PPOs or HMOs . Medicare Part C plans are provided by health insurance companies that have been approved by Medicare.
Original Medicare will pay a fixed amount each month to insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage Plans. These plans must adhere to rules set by Medicare.
Its always best if you compare Medicare Advantage plans because they charge different out-of-pocket costs. They also have different rules for how you can get services, and these rules can change each year.
- Medicare Part B This part of Medicare covers services or supplies necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition that complies with accepted medical practice standards.
Medicare Part B also covers preventive healthcare services . You won’t need to pay for your hearing exam as long as you get these services from a healthcare provider who accepts Medicare.
Some people automatically get Medicare Part B . However, its important to note that you might need to sign up for Part B.
You will need to pay this amount every time you pay for your premiums. This is so for as long as you are covered by Medicare Part B. Plus, the penalty amount will increase the longer you go without Medicare Part B.
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What About Medicare Advantage
By law, Medicare Advantage must provide at least as much coverage as Original Medicare though it can come with additional costs and network restrictions. However, since Medicare Advantage is private insurance contracted through the federal government, the benefits of each individual policy are unique.
The good news is that many Medicare Advantage plans do cover hearing aids, although they may limit the maximum amount theyll pay and a deductible may also apply. Your initial hearing exam may even be free if you use an in-network doctor.
Copays for hearing aids vary dramatically among insurers, ranging anywhere from $0 to a few thousand dollars. For this reason, its important to examine and compare all available plans carefully before making your choice.
If you have Original Medicare and want to switch to Medicare Advantage, you can make the move during the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period from Jan. 1 to March 31, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
Pros And Cons Of Oticon Hearing Aids
- Wide range of hearing aid styles for mild, moderate, severe, and profound hearing loss, as well as one-sided deafness
- Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids with wireless connectivity
- Rechargeable battery styles available
- Deep neural network technology for advanced sound processing
- Cost: $2,712 to $3,750, according to HearingTracker and $1,599 to $2,399, according to ZipHearing
- Type of Hearing Aid: Receiver-in-the-ear
- Type of Hearing Loss: Mild to severe
- Rechargeable Battery: Yes, with miniRITE R style
- Bluetooth Streaming: Yes
Oticon More is the companys newest hearing aid model. Its the first of its kind equipped with Oticons BrainHearing technology, an on-board deep neural network offering superior sound processing for people with mild to severe hearing loss. The Oticon More was released in 2021 and has already won several industry awards for its artificial intelligence capabilities and design.
According to Oticon, the neural network in Oticon More was trained with 12 million real-life sounds, delivering 30 percent more information to the brain than its Opn S model while improving speech understanding by 15 percent. Its new Polaris chipset provides an eightfold increase in memory and double the processing power of its predecessor, the Velox S.
Using Oticons separate ConnectClip device, users can stream sound wirelessly from any Bluetooth-connected device to their Oticon More device, with directional microphones and two-way audio streaming capabilities.
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Does Medicare Pay For Hearing Aids
Original Medicare does not pay for hearing aids typically, but it may cover hearing exams. Some Medicare Advantage plans 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.
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.
The text relating to the hearing benefit proposal can be read here.
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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.”