Hearing aids are expensive. The devices retail from $900 to $3,500 or more per ear and are usually not covered by Medicare or private insurance companies. The Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017 includes a provision for selling hearing aids over the counter which will lower the cost to roughly $300 per ear. However, there are numerous concerns with over-the-counter hearing aids at this time. So what financial help is available to a consumer wishing to purchase a set of hearing aids?
Medicare does not cover hearing aids. According to Medicare.gov, Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for the hearing aids. However, it will cover specific diagnostic hearing tests. If your diagnostic hearing test qualifies under original Medicare, you will be responsible for paying the Part B deductible plus 20% of the test.
Although Medigap does provide coverage beyond that of original Medicare, it still does not cover hearing aids. Medigap plan C or F will cover 100% of the Medicare Part B deductible and 100% of the hearing test coinsurance which means you will pay nothing for the diagnostic test.
The majority of Medicare Advantage plans do not cover the cost of hearing aids and diagnostic testing. Medicare Advantage plans are not standardized leaving the cost of hearing aids to the discretion of each plan.
Other Financing Options
Flexible spending accounts (FSA) or healthcare spending accounts (HSA). This type of spending account allows you to save money earned from an employer to cover your medical expenses without the burden of paying taxes on the money.
Veteran benefits. If your hearing loss is directly related to your service, you can get a hearing aid device through the VA.
Credit cards. Consider applying for a new credit card with a 0% introductory APR to avoid paying interest.
Nonprofit organizations. Some organizations provide financial assistance for low-income individuals who are in need of hearing aids.
Family and friends. Relatives and friends might be able to help with your cause.
Refurbished Hearing Devices
Purchasing a pair of refurbished hearing aids is another way to offset the costs involved with hearing devices. Refurbished hearing aids are available from manufacturers often at a fraction of the cost of a new pair of hearing aids. A hearing healthcare provider can assist you in finding the right fit and the necessary technology for your particular hearing needs. Here is a brief listing of organizations that may be able to help you in finding a refurbished hearing aid as well as instructions for donating a hearing aid:
A hearing aid is not cheap. It is essential for a consumer to research the numerous options available for offsetting the cost of hearing aids. Take time to investigate your options with Medicare, the Veteran’s Administration, and nonprofit organizations. A refurbished hearing aid might fit your needs as well. No matter which option you pursue, please remember that your hearing is precious, so take good care of it.