Hearing aids are expensive. When the time comes to shop for hearing aids, many people wonder if they are covered under Medicare. The answer? It depends. Join us as we discuss what type of Medicare plans cover hearing aids, where to shop for hearing aids and the alternative options you may have!
Medicare Supplement and Hearing Aids
Medicare Supplement plans do NOT cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. Medicare Part B will sometimes cover hearing tests and cochlear implants if the patient meets certain qualifications and their doctor considers them medically necessary.
With a Medicare Supplement plan, you will have to pay for them out of pocket for hearing aids. You may be able to use a cheaper PSAP device or the new OTC hearing aids. We will discuss these options below.
Medicare Advantage and Hearing Aids
Medicare Advantage plans CAN cover hearing aids. Some plans offer a reimbursement benefit between $1000-$2500. Other plans offer hearing aids for a copay between $199-$999, this varies per plan and by the quality of hearing aids they purchase.
Considering that hearing aids can cost up to $6000+ if you buy them at full price, this is a great benefit and something you should consider when comparing Medicare Supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans.
Need help deciding the best Medicare plan for you?
Obviously you need to consider more than just hearing aids when picking your Medicare plan. That is where we come in! We can help you weigh all the options and make the best decision. Schedule an appointment with our lead agent and owner Terri Potter to get started!
Where to shop for hearing aids
If you are getting hearing aids through your Medicare Advantage plan you will need to get hearing aids through an in network provider. If you are paying out of pocket, you can get hearing aids several places:
- Look for a hearing aid store near you. We recommend that you look up hearing aid stores on google maps and read through the reviews of the different stores. You will be able to quickly tell who cares about their customers and provides top level service!
- Buy hearing aids online. There are multiple online, discount hearing aid stores that will ship directly to you. These are often much cheaper than what you will buy in a store. The downside is you may not get the proper hearing aid that you need, and the quality may be lacking. It is still a viable option for those that are on a budget.
- If you qualify for VA benefits, you may be able to get hearing tests and hearing aids covered for free!
Please note that, usually, you need to have a hearing test before you can buy a hearing aid. Some online sellers will allow you to take a online hearing test.
Alternatives to hearing aids: Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs)
Personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) are basic sound amplifiers. They are not intended for those who are diagnosed with hearing loss. PSAPs are not regulated by the FDA but they can increase environmental sounds for those that are experiencing minor hearing difficulties.
While PSAPs are not as powerful as hearing aids, they are much cheaper. For those that are going without hearing aids because of the cost, a PSAP may be a viable alternative.
Coming in 2020: Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
One of the main hassles with getting hearing aids is that they generally require that you see a licensed professional for an appointment, testing and fitting. Because of the hassle and the price, many people that could benefit from hearing aids go without.
Thankfully, this should change soon due to a law that was passed in 2017. The law will allow over-the-counter hearing aids that will be easier to get and cheaper. They will also be easier to use, for example BOSE has a hearing aid that will be adjustable via a mobile app.
The FDA still has to write the rules that will govern the sale of OTC hearing aids, and the deadline for the rules to be in place is August 18, 2020.