Hearing insurance

Hearing insurance

Hearing aids can be expensive. It’s not unusual to pay over $1,500 for a pair of basic hearing aids, while devices incorporating the latest technological advancements can cost $6,000 or more per pair. Fortunately, you may be able to offset some of the cost with hearing aid insurance or other forms of financial assistance. 

Your hearing aids are a significant investment in your health and quality of life, so be sure to educate yourself on the available options to make this financially viable for you and your family.

Does my insurance cover hearing?

Your health insurance may cover hearing aids and related services. To get coverage details, call the customer service number on the back of your member insurance ID card. Ask the following questions to help understand your benefit and to find care.

  1. Which services and products are covered? Are there any products not covered?
  2. What is the covered amount? 
  3. Should the provider bill my insurance directly or do I need to pay up front and then submit paperwork to be reimbursed?
  4. Do I need to use an in-network provider? If so, can you help me find an in-network provider? Or, if you already have a preferred clinic, is my provider in-network?
  5. Are there any requirements that I must meet for coverage, such as a certain level of hearing loss?
  6. What is the frequency of my hearing benefit, for example, does it renew every three or five years?

Does my state mandate hearing aid coverage?

Several states require insurance companies to cover hearing for children and/or adults.

Five states -- Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island -- mandate hearing aid coverage for both children and adults. The remaining 17 states mandate hearing aid coverage for children only:

  1. Colorado
  2. Delaware
  3. Georgia
  4. Kentucky
  5. Louisiana
  6. Maine
  7. Maryland
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Minnesota
  10. Missouri
  11. New Jersey
  12. New Mexico
  13. North Carolina
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Oregon
  16. Tennessee 
  17. Texas

In addition, Wisconsin mandated coverage for hearing aids and cochlear implants for children. To learn more about hearing aid insurance in these states and what you need to qualify for such coverage, visit the American Speech-Language-Meaning Association.

Do I qualify through blue cross or blue shield?

If you are part of the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program, you may qualify through Blue Cross or Blue Shield for up to $2,500 in hearing aid assistance every three years.

Other forms of hearing aid insurance

In addition to personal health coverage, large organizations sometimes negotiate with a list of preferred providers to offer discounted hearing aids. AARP offers a hearing care program for their members, and large companies may also offer some degree of hearing aid coverage as add-ons to their regular health insurance.

Does medicare cover hearing?

Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids. It may cover hearing tests if recommended by your primary care doctor or another physician. Some Medicare Advantage Plans offer extra benefits, like hearing, vision, and dental. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, call the customer service number on the back of your member insurance ID card to get coverage details. 

Does medicaid cover hearing?

Medicaid coverage varies state-by-state based on the degree of hearing loss and types of benefits available. Find information about your state’s Medicaid Plan and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) on the national Medicaid website

Financial assistance for veterans

Veterans may qualify for hearing health care benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). They offer two main services including free or low-cost hearing health care (such as hearing aids) through VA Health Benefits.  You may also be eligible for monthly tax-free payments through VA Disability Compensation

Third-party financing

Alternative financing options include securing a short-term loan through a third-party company. Assistive Technology Loan Programs may also be available through the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America.

Hearing aid banks and telephone equipment

Depending on your income, you may qualify for assistance from a hearing aid bank, which is a nonprofit organization that provides or loans hearing aids and assistive hearing devices to people with low income and children. 

While not hearing aids, free or low-cost assistive telephone listening equipment is available through state telephone equipment programs. You can search for such programs in your area through the Telephone Equipment Distribution Program Association.  

Financial assistance

Many non-profit groups at the national, state, and local level provide new or used hearing aids at discounts if you meet their financial criteria. Some of the larger organizations include:

A quick search for local hearing aid financial assistance on Google (search for “hearing aid financial assistance” with the name of your state or city) will often reveal non-profit groups you may not have considered. 

If your hearing loss interferes with continued or future employment, contact your state vocational rehabilitation agency. They may be willing to provide hearing aid financial assistance to help you maintain or secure employment. 

Financial assistance for students

Children, generally, have more options for securing hearing care financial assistance than adults. They may qualify for free hearing aids or assistive hearing devices if their Individualized Education Program, or IEP, determines hearing impairment interferes with access to a free and appropriate education as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Talk to the school’s special needs counselor about the possibility.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, college students may be able to access free assistive listening devices from their university. Talk to your school’s disability counselor to see if you qualify for such assistance. 

College students with hearing loss may also qualify for assistance from the same state vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide hearing aid financial assistance to workers who need assistive hearing devices to perform their jobs.

The good news?
Now more than ever, affordable hearing care is increasingly accessible for people with hearing loss.

This trend will continue as awareness about the connection between hearing and overall health intensifies. This means more options will become available to help you get the hearing help you need, which will improve your quality of life--and you can’t put a price on that.

With you on your journey to better hearing.

It's time to finally treat your hearing loss. Sign up for a free consultation with a licensed hearing care professional today to determine if you have hearing loss. It’s the start of your journey towards better hearing.

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