Approximately one out of every three people between the ages of 65 and 74 suffer from hearing loss, and the number jumps to one out of every two people age 75 and over.1
Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for routine hearing exams or hearing aids, however.
Medicare beneficiaries who want routine hearing coverage can consider enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C) that offers hearing benefits.
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Original Medicare does not provide coverage for the cost of hearing aids, hearing exams or fittings for hearing aids.
In other words, Original Medicare does not provide coverage for routine or preventive hearing care, or for natural, age-related hearing loss. Only in the event of an emergency or during testing for other conditions might Original Medicare provide any coverage for hearing-related treatments or procedures.
Without Medicare coverage for hearing care services, a Medicare beneficiary could be left to pay for any necessary hearing aids, exams, treatments and prescription drugs out of pocket.
Below is a breakdown of what those services and equipment might cost in 2019.
The costs provided are typical costs and are not intended to illustrate known prices for hearing care where you live. These services could come with higher or lower out-of-pocket costs than those listed below.
If your doctor accepts Medicare assignment and orders a hearing and balance test, your Medicare Part B medical insurance benefits will help cover the cost of your exam.
After you meet your Part B deductible (which is $185 per year in 2019), you are responsible for 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the exam.
Be sure to ask your health care provider why they are recommending your hearing test and whether Medicare will cover it. Medicare Part B does not cover exams that are meant for fitting your hearing aids.
All Medicare Advantage plans offer the same benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B, except for hospice care, which is still covered by Medicare Part A.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may also offer hearing benefits not found in Original Medicare, such as:
Because Medicare Advantage plans differ in their coverage and service area, consumers can shop around and may be able to find a plan that offers the hearing coverage they need.
Many Medicare Advantage plans also provide prescription drug coverage, which may be able to help cover the costs of any drugs required for ear infections or other hearing treatments.
All told, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries paid an average premium of under $36 per month in 2018.6 And some Medicare Advantage plans even feature $0 premiums.
A Medicare Advantage plan with hearing benefits could be a good fit for Medicare beneficiaries looking for hearing coverage.
Find a Medicare Advantage plan in your area. Call to speak to a licensed insurance agent who can guide you through the plans sold where you live and detail the hearing benefits that those plans may offer.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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