Does Medicare Pay for Hearing Aids?
Are you one of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss? If so, you’re not alone. Hearing loss is a common problem, affecting about 1 in 3 people over age 65 and nearly half of those over 75. It can be caused by aging, genetics or exposure to loud noise.
Hearing loss may lead you to ask the question – does Medicare pay for hearing aids? Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams for fitting them. But there are other options to help you hear better without breaking the bank.
We at Hearing Health Clinic will help make it easy for you to get started on your path towards better hearing today – without breaking the bank.
Before we answer the question “does Medicare pay for hearing aids,” we need to talk about what Medicare is –
Medicare is important to know about because it covers people who are 65 or older, as well as younger people with disabilities or serious diseases. However, Medicare does not cover all costs of medical services. There are a number of factors that affect coverage so it’s imperative you take the different kinds of coverage available into consideration when looking at your options for health insurance.
Does Medicare pay for hearing aids? As reflected on the website of Medicare:
“Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. You pay 100% for hearing aids and exams. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover – like vision, hearing, or dental. Contact the plan for more information.”
Even though it may seem like a sign of aging, baby boomers should not be afraid to get their hearing tested. They are spending too much money on avoiding the test and not realizing how much they will end up paying in the long run due to all the missed opportunities. People who have lost their hearing can experience loneliness and depression which is why it’s so important for people to do what they can before things get worse.
In recent years, hearing aids have come a long way from the clunky devices that once only allowed you to hear high pitched sounds. These new over-the-counter hearing aids will be available for purchase by people with mild to moderate hearing loss and will cost much less than what is currently marketed.
It’s often confusing that there are some over-the-counter alternatives to hearing aids available now. Quality and prices for the devices vary widely; some disposables sell for $20 to $30 per pair while high tech sound amplifiers cost several hundred dollars and last longer as well. It can be difficult deciding which one is better for you or making sure it fits your needs!
Some people who need hearing aids but cannot afford them may try an over-the-counter personal sound amplifier product instead. These range in quality and price from about $20 to $3000 with many more expensive models lasting much longer than cheaper ones do. However, they’re also less reliable so it’s important not only to buy the best model you can afford (low end or high end) but also make sure it will fit your lifestyle since these products don’t always work reliably.
Does Medicare pay for 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.
Medicare covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders them. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for your doctor’s services for covered exams, and the Part B deductible applies.
Why doesn’t Medicare cover hearing care?
The Medicare Act excludes hearing aids for a number of reasons. First, it was thought that they were low-cost items and so people could afford them on their own. It also wasn’t anticipated that seniors would live as long as they do now, or that there would be such an increase in the incidence of age-related hearing loss.
As a clinical review explains, “The Medicare Act of 1965 statutorily excluded coverage of hearing aids under the premise that they were ‘routinely needed and low in cost,’ suggesting that consumers would be responsible for their purchase.” Also, at the time many seniors didn’t live as long as they do today and so fewer people had age-related hearing loss.
Will coverage on hearing aids change?
As a whole, people would like to see Medicare evolve to cover dental, vision and hearing care. This is because of the many benefits that these three services can provide for those who receive them. For example, if someone has cataracts in their eye which are left untreated then they will not be able to see much at all and so they could benefit from a surgery that restores their sight. Or if someone needs treatment for arthritis or diabetes then they may need access to an eye doctor or dentist respectively in order to help with managing these conditions as well as maintain healthy teeth and gums. In general, everyone could have better health outcomes with these additional benefits provided by Medicare.
Following the introduction of a bill that would require Medicare to pay for certain audiological services, many people are waiting with baited breath. The proposed legislation was introduced just recently and will take time to be passed.
There is a new bill that will improve the lives of millions of senior citizens in America. The Medicare Hearing Act of 2019, sponsored by Representatives Lucy McBath (D-Georgia) and Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), amends the Social Security Act to provide insurance coverage for hearing aids to all seniors enrolled in Medicare. The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed the bill, giving hope to seniors getting more insurance coverage on their hearing health.
Why You Should Not Ignore Hearing Loss
Solid human relationships are the key to health and longevity. And when you can’t hear well, it impacts your ability to build strong interpersonal relationships. So if hearing aids are needed in order to maintain healthy interactions with family and friends and an active lifestyle then it’s essential that they be used.
People with hearing loss can still enjoy the sounds of life, and they’ll live a lot longer too. The Harvard University study found that strong human relationships are the best predictor for health and longevity. So when you lose your hearing, or if you have a loved one who has lost their hearing, be sure to get them a set of modern-day hearing aids. In fact, research has shown that people with mild to moderate levels of hearing loss experience an increase in socialization and vitality after just six months of wearing those devices.
Hearing loss can be a difficult disability to deal with. After being diagnosed, people may worry about what they need to do and how much it will cost them if they want to improve their hearing.
If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and require a hearing aid to improve your hearing, we have the following suggestions for how you can pay for it.
Below are some ways that may work well for paying for your new piece of equipment:
- Depending on the severity of your condition, there may be free or low-cost options available at public health clinics.
- Many private insurance providers will offer assistance if they cover medical devices such as this one.
- You could always consider applying for financial assistance from organizations like Medicare or Medicaid; they often have programs designed just for situations where someone is having trouble affording their needed medical treatment.
If you’re in Osseo MN, visit us at Hearing Health Clinic. We can give you hearing aids that can fit your budget. Our staff will also be glad to discuss different payment options to make sure that you get the hearing aids that you deserve. It’s time to hear better and enjoy life to the fullest!