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Hearing loss may affect up to 48 million Americans. From veterans to children born with hearing-related issues, hearing loss can affect all age groups, ethnicity, and lifestyles. Medicare primarily affects the elderly, though.
Almost one-third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing loss issues. From 75 and up, the percentage jumps all the way to 50%. Due to these statistics, asking questions like are hearing aids covered by Medicare and or what will Medicare pay for hearing aids should have an obvious answer.
However, the answer changes with the kind of plan one has. Most Medicare plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids, unfortunately. A hearing loss group has found that those who do not wear hearing aids, although affected by hearing loss, earn $20,000 less per year than their counterparts. With such statistics, it is tough that the answer is zero when asking the number of hearing aids that Medicare will pay for.
Although hearing loss typically affects individuals gradually, it becomes evident at some point. Considering many people may be reluctant to acknowledge and admit to their loss of hearing, whenever they do, it’s because they need genuine help.
However, those individuals who need help, and have an original Medicare plan do not get the assistance they need. For assistance with hearing loss, special Medicare plans, or private health care is needed, which will be explained here.
Medicare Parts A & B
Often called Medicare Original, Medicare Part A and Part B works as a fee-for-service basis. Anywhere in the US that accepts Medicare, the insurance will pay for part of the bill if it falls under a covered service. However, it will not pay the full price. Nor will Original Medicare pay for prescription drugs or similar aids.
Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. Anytime you have an inpatient hospital stay, Medicare helps cover part of the cost. Medicare Part A may also cover care at nursing facilities. Medicare Part B is standard medical insurance. This part will cover certain outpatient care visits, doctor’s visits, medical supplies, and some preventive services.
Medicare Part B will cover diagnostic hearing exams, but the exam must be ordered by a doctor. The hearing exam does include visits to a doctor to get a hearing aid fitting performed. So, if you’re wondering will Medicare pay for hearing aids if you have only Part A and Part B, the answer is no, unfortunately.
Medicare Part C
Otherwise known as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part C is a type of medical insurance offered by private health insurance companies that have to be approved by Medicare. Whenever someone signs up for Medicare Part C, they are automatically enrolled in Parts A and B as well.
Medicare Part C typically offers extra cover, which is why many prefer private companies to be their primary source of health insurance. Medicare Advantage covers services relating to hearing, dental, vision, and sometimes health and wellness programs. Often, private companies include prescription assistance through Medicare Part D.
Medicare Part C plans differ from company to company. The out-of-pocket costs change as do the rules for services like obtaining referrals or going to certain hospitals.
Thus, depending on the private company, Medicare Part C may cover hearing aids, hearing consultations, and more. How much will Medicare pay for hearing aids can only be answered by the Medicare Advantage company.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D is another privately offered branch of Medicare. Private companies vetted by Medicare, offer prescription drug coverage through Part D.
Clients can choose to purchase a Part D plan by itself or in conjunction with a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Each Medicare Part D plan offers different coverage based on the company, so it’s important to check if there is any ear-related medication to treat hearing loss covered.
Hearing Aid Costs
Hearing aids typically cost a hefty sum when purchasing without any health insurance, or with only Medicare Part A and Part B. The cost of quality hearing aids can cost anywhere from $500 to $6000 per individual aid.
The higher-end, premium hearing aids, will function better, last longer, and fit more comfortably. Therefore it’s vital to know your plan with Medicare; will they pay for hearing aids?
Individuals searching for hearing aids need to be meticulous in their search. For such an expensive and important piece of equipment, it’s necessary to know they work best for you. Thus, a visit with an audiologist or ENT specialist is advised by many doctors.
The Bottom Line of Hearing Aids and Medicare
As seen, Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D will not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B will cover hearing-related doctor visits if a doctor says so. Furthermore, some Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Part C, will cover the cost of hearing aids.
The important takeaway is to check your Medicare Advantage Plan and see what hearing aids they cover, how much they cover, and any special methods of obtaining the hearing aids. Medicare Advantage Plans may require you to have a doctor’s visit and appointment clarifying the need for hearing aids before they will reimburse or cover any costs.
If you or a loved one is experienced hearing loss or hearing issues, seek help. Hearing loss can have drastic effects on everyday life, so it’s important to get your hearing checked. As long as you have Medicare Advantage or other private insurance, you should receive assistance in covering the costs of hearing aids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does Tricare Cover Hearing Aids?
A: Tricare doesn’t cover hearing aids or hearing services for retired service members and families. However, through other governmental programs, like the Department of Veterans Affairs, you may be eligible for assistance. For active duty service members and family, Tricare will cover hearing aids and services if you meet the hearing loss criteria they have defined.
Q: How Often Will Medicare Pay for Hearing Aids?
A: The answer to this question depends solely on the type of Medicare plan you have. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, reach out to them for more information.
Q: How Many Hearing Aids Will Medicare Pay for?
A: Medicare Advantage Plans differ from state to state and company to company. Some plans may pay for a set of hearing aids, whereas others may only cover part of the cost.