Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

While it’s estimated that hearing loss affects two-thirds of people over age 70, Medicare parts A and B do not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover hearing aids.

Hearing loss often occurs gradually as we age. This can lead to trouble hearing conversations, the TV, or even alarms or warnings. Hearing aids can help with hearing loss by making sounds in your environment louder to you.

Read on as we explore this topic and discuss the parts of Medicare that may provide coverage for hearing aids.

Which parts of Medicare cover hearing aids?

Let’s start by breaking down the different parts of Medicare and discussing the coverage as it relates to hearing aids.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It covers services like inpatient hospital stays, limited care at a skilled nursing facility, and hospice care.

Part A doesn’t cover hearing aids.

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers things like doctor’s appointments and other outpatient services. It can also help pay for some services or equipment when they’re medically necessary, as well as some types of preventive services.

Medicare Part B doesn’t cover the cost of a hearing aid or the exams that are needed for fitting one.

However, Medicare Part B does cover diagnostic hearing exams if your doctor orders them to help detect and diagnose a hearing problem. In this case, you’d pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost for the exam.

A bill, HR 1518, has been introduced to Congress that could remove the exclusion of the coverage of hearing aids from original Medicare. However, it’s not known when or if these changes will be enacted.

Medicare Part C

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans are offered by private insurance companies and are approved by Medicare. These plans provide the benefits covered under parts A and B and may include additional coverage.

Additional coverage provided by Part C plans can include hearing benefits, including the cost of hearing aids. They may also cover things like vision, dental, and prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D

Like Medicare Part C, Part D is offered by private insurance companies to cover the cost of prescription drugs. It doesn’t cover hearing aids.

Medigap

Medigap is also called supplement insurance. Medigap plans are provided by private companies and help to cover costs or services not covered by parts A and B. However, Medigap typically doesn’t cover hearing aids.

Which Medicare plans may be best for you if you know you need hearing aids?

Learn more

Original Medicare (parts A and B) and Medigap plans do not cover hearing aids. So what type of plan may be best for you if you know you’ll need a hearing aid in the coming year?

If you’re enrolling in Medicare and know you’ll need a hearing aid, you may want to look into a Medicare Advantage plan. In addition to offering the benefits of parts A and B, many Part C plans also cover additional services like hearing aids and other hearing care services.

How much do hearing aids cost with Medicare?

Hearing aids can be expensive. One study estimated that individuals needing a hearing aid for each ear could pay close to $6,000.

While some Part C plans cover hearing aids, the cost you’ll pay out of pocket will depend on your individual plan.

You may also notice that there’s a lot of variation by plan, such as factors like:

  • monthly premium
  • deductible
  • copayments and coinsurance
  • out-of-pocket maximum
  • amount of coverage or coverage limits for specific services or items

Because of these variations, it’s very important to carefully compare several Part C plans before selecting one. This can help you pick one that best suits both your health and financial needs.

Before getting your hearing aid, check with the insurance company to ask how much of the cost will be covered. You can then use this information, along with the total cost of the hearing aid, to help estimate your out-of-pocket cost.

Remember that getting a hearing aid doesn’t just include the cost of the device — it also includes the exams and fittings. You may want to ask about this coverage and include these costs in your estimate as well.

The takeaway

Hearing loss can have a variety of causes but often occurs as we age. Hearing aids can help people cope and improve their hearing.

Original Medicare (parts A and B) doesn’t cover hearing aids. However, some Medicare Part C plans may include coverage for hearing services, including hearing aids.

When enrolling in Medicare, it’s important to consider your individual health needs, such as if you’ll need a hearing aid in the near future. If considering a Part C plan, compare multiple plan options to ensure you get the coverage that’s right for you.

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