Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

No. However, certain Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for hearing aids.

Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, fittings or routine hearing exams, but many Medicare Advantage plans do offer coverage.

This coverage might be helpful for older adults who may need hearing aids in the future or could benefit from them. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, nearly 25% of people aged 65-74 experience hearing loss. Half of those over 75 also suffer from it.

What is Original Medicare’s coverage for hearing aids?

Hearing aids are not covered by Original Medicare. Neither do most Medigap plans. This coverage will likely require you to pay out of pocket for hearing aids, fittings and routine hearing exams. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services define a routine hearing exam to be an examination for the purpose or prescribing, fitting, or changing hearing aids.

Original Medicare may cover more thorough hearing exams if certain criteria are met. Medicare Part B provides 80% coverage for a diagnostic hearing and balance exam that your doctor or health care provider orders to see if you need medical treatment — for example, to determine appropriate surgical treatment of a hearing deficit.

If you’re eligible for coverage, 20% of the Medicare-approved exam cost will be yours. You’ll also have to pay your deductible if it hasn’t been met. Your hospital copay will also apply if you have your hearing exam at a hospital. These coinsurance costs may be covered by your Medigap plan.

What about Medicare Advantage?

By law, Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) must provide at least as much coverage as Original Medicare — though it can come with additional costs and network restrictions. Each policy’s benefits are different because Medicare Advantage is private insurance that has been contracted through the federal government.

Good news! Many Medicare Advantage plans cover hearing aids. However, they may limit the amount they will pay and may require a deductible. If you are a member of an in-network network doctor, your initial hearing exam could be free.

The copays for hearing aids can vary greatly between insurers. They can range from $0 to several thousand dollars. For this reason, it’s important to examine and compare all available plans carefully before making your choice.

If you have Original Medicare and want to switch to Medicare Advantage, you can make the move during the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. You can switch between Medicare Advantage plans during the Medicare Advantage Open Entry period, which runs from January 1 through March 31.

How much do hearing aids cost?

A pair of hearing aids can cost between $1,000 and $8,000 depending on the model. The price may include a consultation, hearing test and fitting, as well as follow-up adjustments. Some sellers include periodic cleanings, replacement batteries, and a warranty that covers future cleanings, fittings, and protection against loss or damage.

Sometimes, it is as easy as talking up to lower your hearing aids cost. Ask about discounts when purchasing hearing aids. Additional price breaks may be available for veterans, union members, and employees with company retirement plans.

People with mild hearing loss and who cannot afford hearing aids can use personal sound amplification products, which typically cost less than $500 per set. These products don’t need a prescription or fitting, sync with smartphones, and can be worn right out of the package. These devices don’t replace the care of a doctor and won’t treat all aspects.

How can I tell if I require hearing aids?

Sometimes hearing loss is subtle and gradual. It can sometimes be difficult to tell if it has really become that severe. A hearing exam is the best way to determine if hearing aids would be beneficial for you. These are signs it is time to schedule one.

  • Everyone keeps telling me that you have the TV/radio turned too loud.
  • When you don’t have a clear view of their faces, it can be difficult to understand what they are saying.
  • Sometimes it sounds like someone is mumbling.
  • It is difficult to hear others in groups, such as at parties or dinners.
  • You are missing some of the words spoken by actors in plays and movies.
  • Sometimes, you will need to ask other people to repeat themselves.
  • It can be difficult to hear the other person on the phone.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to hear high-pitched voices and other sounds.
  • It’s not always possible to hear the doorbell or phone ring.

For more information on hearing exams, please contact your primary physician or health care provider.