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.
Why Hearing Benefits For Seniors Are So Important
Imagine being unable to effortlessly communicate with your friends and loved ones. For many adults over age 65, this is the reality. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders states that approximately a third of people ages 6574 have hearing loss. For those 75 and older, that goes up to half.
Hearing loss can have several side effects. You may have trouble understanding your doctors advice, responding to warnings, or hearing doorbells and alarms. In fact, studies have shown that seniors with hearing loss have a greater risk of developing dementia and declining cognitive abilities .
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Does Humana Medicare Cover Cochlear Implants
Some older adults may need to go a step further than hearing aids and persue cochlear implants. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover everything included under Original Medicare. And because Original Medicare provides coverage for cochlear implants, so too do Humana Medicare Advantage plans.
Cochlear implants are covered by Medicare Part B and by Humana Medicare Advantage plans when deemed medically necessary by a doctor. The exact coverage and cost requirements may vary by plan, but you may contact a Humana representative or use your online MyHumana account to check your plan benefits.
Do Any Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Hearing Aids
Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also called Medigap, do not provide coverage for hearing aids. In fact, these plans dont provide coverage for any health care services or items at all.
Instead, Medigap plans provide coverage for out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare, such as Part A and Part B deductibles, coinsurance and copayments.
Learn more about Medicare Supplement Insurance plans.
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How Much Does Medicare Part B Cost
Medicare Part B requires you to pay a monthly premium for your Part B benefits. In 2022, the standard Part B premium is $170.10 per month.
Some beneficiaries may pay more than the standard Part B premium because they have a higher income. This extra amount is called the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount .
The highest income earners will pay $504.90 per month for their Part B coverage in 2022, based on the Medicare IRMAA.
Medicare Part B also has some out-of-pocket costs that you must pay, including:
Medicare Part B is optional. Many beneficiaries are automatically enrolled. If you aren’t automatically enrolled, you may need to sign up during one of the Medicare enrollment periods.
Additional Resources For Hearing Aid Assistance
If you have Medicare and require assistance with the cost of a hearing aid, there are a few programs that may assist you.
- The Foundation for Sight and Sound assists individuals with limited financial resources to obtain hearing aids. For questions and more information about the program, please visit their website.
- If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for financial assistance from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for your hearing aids.
- Certain local organizations, such as Lions Club International, may also assist individuals experiencing hearing loss. Contact your local branch to determine your eligibility for assistance.
- In the following states, Medicaid may cover hearing aids: AK, CA, CT, DC., FL, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OR, RI, SD, TX, VT, WI, WY.
Through NewMedicare.com we help you to compare rates from different carriers so that you can make smart decisions about your insurance coverage.
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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.
Individuals Can Choose From Various Types Of Medicare Advantage Plans:
- Private Fee-for-Service Plans
As with Medicare, you can see any doctor or healthcare provider if they accept the plan. Individual plans decide how much you pay when you receive care.
- Preferred Provider Organization plans
This insurance generally offers in-network and out-of-network care options.
- Health Maintenance Organizations
Generally limited to providers who are in-network only. You may need a referral from a primary care provider for hearing-related and other coverage. You may add out-of-network care by using an HMO Point-of-Service plan.
- Special Needs Plans
Specifically, for people with special needs, these plans often are designed for people who carry both Medicare and Medicaid, live in a nursing facility or have serious/chronic medical conditions.
- High-deductible, Medical Savings Account Plans
These plans combine a high-deductible healthcare plan with a special medical-related bank account. Generally for these plans, Medicare will deposit money into an MSA account from which you use the funds to cover healthcare-related expenses.
Medicare Advantage Plan coverage varies widely. Even within the same company, people may have different coverage. Sometimes this covers hearing-related visits, and some MA plans include hearing aids .Coverage varies widely, and your policy may provide partial or full coverage. As Medicare may make updates from time to time, please visit Medicare.gov for the most recent information regarding Medicare coverage and plans.
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
Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Hearing Aids
Medicare Supplement plans work together with Medicare. They cover the same healthcare services that Medicare does. Since Medicare doesnt cover hearing aids, Medicare Supplement plans dont cover them either.
You can, however, buy a separate insurance policy that includes hearing services and hearing aids. Hearing insurance may be sold together with vision and dental coverage. The specifics of these policies will vary depending on the carrier of the policy you choose.
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Get Help Paying For Hearing Aids Today
If youre one of the 1 in 6 Americans suffering from hearing loss in 2022 and youre feeling ready to improve your hearing and overall wellbeing, dont wait for better hearing aid coverage from your Medicare plan. Hear.com can help you maximize your current benefits, book an appointment with an audiologist, find the hearing aid thats right for you, and answer any question you may have about the process, products, financing, and beyond.
To start the process, simply give our friendly experts a call at 520-2456 or find your state below:
Additional Resources For Help With Hearing Aids
If you have Medicare and need help paying for a hearing aid, there are some programs that might be able to offer some assistance.
- Foundation for Sight and Sound provides hearing aids to individuals with limited financial resources. Visit their website for more information about the program.
- If youre a veteran, you may be eligible for financial help for your hearing aids through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Some local organizations such as the Lions Club International may also be able to help people with hearing problems. Reach out to your local branch to find out if you qualify for assistance.
- Medicaid may cover hearing aids in the following states:
- AK, CA, CT, D.C., FL, GA, HI, IN, KS, KY, ME, MD, MA, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, OR, RI, SD, TX, VT, WI, WY
Do I Need A Hearing Aid
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine whether or not its actually time to start using a hearing aid. Some older adults even avoid getting a hearing aid for as long as possible. If youre unsure about whether or not you need one, then its important you spend some time looking at the common signs of hearing loss.
There are several different symptoms of hearing loss that you may experience. Some of the most prominent are:
- Complaining often that people are talking too softly
- Frequently asking people to repeat what theyve said
- Preferring to keep the radio or television louder than most people
- Having trouble with understanding the dialogue at movie theaters
- Straining to hear conversations
If you have more than one of these symptoms, then theres a good chance that youre experiencing some type of hearing loss. If you believe that you do, then its important that you consult with a physician who specializes in hearing to learn more about what your next steps should be.
How Are Hearing Aids And Hearing Care Covered Under Part C Plans
Private insurance companies sell Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage plans frequently cover hearing, vision, and dental care in addition to prescription drug coverage. In addition, certain comprehensive Part C plans include coverage for hearing aids and their maintenance.
If youre considering enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, its essential to compare the cost and coverage of the policy. This is because these can vary significantly between individual policies. For example, in 2021, the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage will be approximately $34.
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Scheduling Your Hearing Exam
Under Part B, you can expect to pay 100% of the cost for exams to get fitted for hearing aids and hearing aids. If you have the financial resources and are willing to pay for it, call your doctor or hearing loss specialist to schedule a hearing exam.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and hearing services are covered, then follow your health plans rules for scheduling hearing appointments. For example, dont call a hearing specialist directly if your Medicare Advantage plan requires you to go through a primary care doctor first for a referral. You might want to contact your Medicare Advantage or other health plan to see if it offers hearing exams and hearing aid discounts through a specific program.
If you belong to Medicaid, or any other program that may help cover hearing costs, then follow the programs instructions for accessing your hearing benefits or buying a hearing aid.
How To Know If You Need A Hearing Aid
Although most hearing problems affect older people, there have been several cases of deficiencies with young adults, and in some cases, children.
The major problem when you need a hearing aid is that you may not immediately know you need one! It is a problem that graduates naturally. But there are signs that you need to observe to know if you should see an audiologist about your ears.
Signs such as hearing a ringing sound in the ears, and trouble hearing people speak over the phone are obvious red flags. If you need to pay closer attention before hearing what someone is saying or you need to increase the volume of a speaker before hearing audibly, then you may have started developing ear problems.
Note that hearing loss can be treated, but the hearing may not be restored. Thats where hearing aids and other types of procedures come in.
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How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost
Hearing aids can vary significantly in cost, but most basic models cost around $1,500. Specialized hearing aids can cost between $5,000 and $7,000. In addition, seniors often have to pay for hearing tests and other specialized care to determine whether they need hearing aids.
Medicare Advantage plans that offer hearing coverage will cover some or all of that cost. The actual amount covered depends on the specific plan and may vary based on factors, such as the premium amount, deductible level and how much the insured has already paid out-of-pocket for co-pays and other expenses during that calendar year.
How Much Does A Hearing Aid Usually Cost
The cost of hearing aids varies. According to a 2015 report by the Presidentâs Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the average cost of one hearing aid is about $2,400.
Some people may need two hearing aids, which would put the cost at $4,800.
The high cost of hearing aids may make it difficult for some people to treat their hearing loss. However, these devices can considerably improve the quality of life for people with hearing conditions.
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What Hearing Care Does Medicare Part B Cover
Regular hearing exams, screening services, hearing aid fittings and hearing aid maintenance are not included in Original Medicare, though some hearing-related services may be covered by Medicare Part B in certain situations.
A primary care physician may, for example, order a hearing test as part of the diagnostic work for dizziness or vertigo. Hearing tests may also be part of certain neurological exams, cancer screenings and other preventive care.
Note that, in 2022, beneficiaries must pay the full Part B deductible of $233 for the year before Part B benefits kick in, and screening services can include a 20% out-of-pocket coinsurance cost to enrollees after they meet their Part B deductible.
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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How Is Hearing Loss Diagnosed
If you are having trouble hearing, see your health care provider. He may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to determine if there is a medical cause for your hearing loss. You may also see an audiologist for a hearing test. Hearing tests can help identify the cause of the hearing loss and also measure its severity.
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids Overview
Its estimated that hearing loss is prevalent in two-thirds of individuals above 70 years in America. Original Medicare does not pay for the cost of hearing aids or other related aspects such as checks and fitting hearing aids.
However, Medicare Part B can, to some extent, cover the cost of typical hearing checks when a physician deems it a necessity to have hearing examinations. Also, some Medicare Advantage plans cover some hearing aid examinations and devices.
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Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage 2022
Whether or not Medicare provides hearing aid coverage will depend on the type of Medicare plan you have.
Original Medicare Doesn’t Provide Hearing Aid Coverage
Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids in 20221. If you have a Medicare Part A or B plan, you will need to pay for your hearing aids out of pocket or with other insurance.
Medicare Advantage may Provide Hearing Aid Coverage
Some Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C plans, do provide some hearing aid coverage. For example, Humana, Aetna, and Blue Cross Blue Shield all offer at least one Medicare Advantage plan with hearing aid coverage.
Costs that might be covered include:
- Hearing aids
- Hearing test
- Audiologist visits for fitting and adjustments
Because Medicare Advantage plans are offered through private insurance companies, the benefits vary from plan to plan. And some insurers choose not to offer hearing aid benefits at all. Others only offer a plan with hearing aid coverage to seniors in certain states.
Did You Know: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 88 percent of Medicare Advantage plans offer hearing aid coverage, which can significantly lower your out-of-pocket cost.2
You should also be aware that plans with hearing aid coverage may cost more than those without it. But given how expensive hearing aids are, it’s likely worth paying the higher premium if it means you won’t need to pay for your hearing aids entirely out of pocket.