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
Despite the prevalence of hearing loss in older adults, Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) offers little in the way of coverage for hearing care. So, what exactly does Medicare cover as it relates to hearing, and how can you find a Medicare Advantage plan that offers hearing benefits?
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.
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 hearing exams, fittings for hearing aids and even the cost of hearing aids themselves. 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 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. CallTTY Users: 711 24 hours a day, 7 days a week 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.
1 Hearing Loss and Older Adults. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-loss-older-adults.
2 Phillips, Cameron. When Should I Get My Hearing Tested and How Often? July 15, 2016. The National Campaign for Better Hearing. Retrieved from http://campaignforbetterhearing.ca/2016/07/when-should-i-get-my-hearing-tested-and-how-often.
3 How Much Does a Hearing Test Cost? CostHelperHealth. Retrieved June 28, 2018 from http://health.costhelper.com/hearing-test.html.
4 Calderone, Julia. 5 Ways to Cut Hearing Aid Costs. Consumer Reports. Feb. 2, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/hearing-aids/save-on-cost-of-prescription-hearing-aids.
5 National Academies of Sciences Release Report on Hearing Aid Accessibility, Affordability. The Hearing Review. June 2, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.hearingreview.com/2016/06/national-academies-sciences-release-report-hearing-aid-accessibility-affordability.
6 MedicareAdvantage.com's internal analysis of CMS Medicare Advantage landscape source files, May 2018. Data retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn.
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