Medicare and Hearing Aids Coverage

While Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) does not cover hearing aids or routine hearing exams, many Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) cover hearing aids and other routine hearing care.

Most Part C plans also offer other benefits that are not covered by Original Medicare, such as prescription drug coverage.

A husband wearing hearing aids looks at his wife

Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover hearing aids

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies and offer the same benefits covered by Medicare Part A and Part B under one plan.

Medicare Part B may cover diagnostic hearing exams if they are considered medically necessary by your primary care physician.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional benefits, such as coverage for hearing. These hearing benefits could potentially include, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Routine hearing exams
  • Hearing aids
  • Hearing aid maintenance
  • Prescription drugs related to hearing

If you need coverage for hearing exams or hearing aids, you can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers hearing coverage. Not all plans are available in all locations.

Some Medicare Advantage plans require a monthly premium, while and some plans may be available in your area that offer $0 premiums.

Deductibles, cost-sharing and the amount of hearing coverage offered will vary by plan. 

Medicare Advantage plans come in a variety of types, such as Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans and Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans.

The network of participating hearing doctors and pharmacies can also differ by plan and location. 

Woman getting a hearing aid from her doctor

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.
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  • If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for financial help for your hearing aids through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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  • 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 in 2019:
    • 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

Does Medicare cover cochlear implants?

Cochlear implants are permanent electronic devices that help those with severe hearing loss.

Unlike hearing aids which amplify sound, cochlear implants help provide sound signals to the brain by replacing the function of the damaged inner ear. Cochlear implants are surgically placed behind the ear. 

Medicare Part B sometimes covers cochlear implants if they are considered medically necessary by a doctor and if you meet certain qualifications.

How important is getting hearing coverage?

Hearing loss is one of the most common health conditions affecting older adults.

In fact, it’s estimated that as many as one out of every three people ages 65 to 74 has some form of hearing loss, and that number goes up to nearly 50 percent of people above the age of 75.1

Hearing loss can greatly affect the quality of life for an older adult.

Hearing loss has been linked to stress, depression, loneliness and low self-esteem due to the difficulty of communicating and the embarrassment, insecurity and isolation that can result. 

Hearing loss can also cause relationships with spouses, children, grandchildren and friends to suffer.  

Find a Medicare Advantage plan that may cover hearing aids

Some Medicare Advantage plans that offer coverage for hearing aids may be available in your area.

Other additional benefits that some Medicare Advantage plans may offer include coverage for prescription drugs, routine dental vision care and gym memberships

In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a ruling that granted Medicare Advantage plans even more freedom in the benefits they can offer.

Some of the additional benefits some Medicare Advantage plans may offer in 2019 and beyond include:

  • Wheelchair ramps, bathroom grab bars, handrails and other items designed for aging in place
  • Non-emergency medical transportation
  • Home health aides
  • Air conditioners for people with asthma
  • Home meal delivery services following surgery

To find out more about your options and to compare plans that are available where you live, call to speak with licensed insurance today.

 

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