Why aren't hearing aids covered by insurance?

If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, hearing aids may be recommended for you to improve your hearing. Costing anything from NZD 1,600 to more than NZD 15,600, hearing aids are a significant investment. But while the benefits of using hearing aids can often outweigh this initial cost, you may want to consider whether your insurance can cover it.

Are hearing aids covered by insurance?

Hearing aid insurance coverage can vary widely across different insurance providers. Your household/contents insurance may cover your hearing aids if they get damaged or lost. Check your current policy or contact your insurance provider to see what you are covered for.

If you are eligible for hearing-aid insurance coverage, it’s worth noting that some insurance providers may require you to choose from a list of preferred suppliers. However, you may be able to choose your hearing care professional or request a cash payout rather than going to a clinic specified by your insurance provider.

If you cannot get insurance coverage for your hearing aids, there are other options to fund your hearing aids in New Zealand.

Why are hearing aids not covered by insurance?

As hearing aids are such a lifeline to people with hearing loss, you may ask why are hearing aids not covered by insurance? But for insurance providers, people with hearing loss often pose too high a risk for them, as they are more likely to make a claim.

Insurance providers make their money on the back of people paying for their coverage, but never actually needing to make a claim. Hearing aids, however, are generally replaced every five years, so this only adds to the cost for the insurer and as a consequence, reducing their chance of making a profit on your policy.

Hearing aid funding

Hearing aids for children are free. Meanwhile, adults can access several government subsidies which may cover the entire cost of your hearing aids or require you to contribute some of your money towards them.

Ministry of Health subsidy

Permanent New Zealand residents aged over 16 are entitled to a government grant of $1022.22 towards a pair of hearing aids or up to $511.11 for one hearing aid. This subsidy is available once every six years.

Work and Income loan

You may be eligible for a hearing aid loan up to $1,000 from Work and Income if you already receive support from Work and Income.

Veteran Affairs

If you have developed hearing loss as a result of active military service than you may be able to receive funding towards your hearing aids.

ENABLE/EMS

Under the Enable New Zealand EMS regulations, financial assistance towards hearing aids is available for people experiencing financial hardship or living with multiple disabilities.

Hearing Aid Funding Scheme (MoH)

If you are aged 16 years or over and have been diagnosed with a permanent loss of hearing, you may be entitled for the Hearing Aid Funding Scheme. This scheme will help you pay for hearing aids (but not batteries or repairs) as long as you qualify under one of the following criteria:

  • Lived with a significant loss of hearing since childhood.
  • Have another disability along with hearing loss that limits your communication abilities.
  • Experienced a sudden hearing loss within the last six months
  • Have a community services card and are in full-time education, work more than 30 hours a week, are looking for employment, caring for a dependent or engaged in voluntary work.

If your hearing care professional has recommended that you have hearing aids, don’t let the cost put you off. Even if you can’t get hearing aid insurance coverage, there is help available that will help towards paying for your hearing aids so you can look forward to enjoying better hearing.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

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