If you’re wondering if Medicare plans cover hearing aids, then you’re not alone, and you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll examine hearing aid coverage under Medicare, as well as other critical details that might be relevant to you.
Medicare is a government-administered health insurance program that’s available to Americans aged 65 and older who are drawing upon Social Security as they retire. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover all treatment recommendations made by your doctor, which is what makes planning for insurance coverage so complicated. You may need to supplement your insurance coverage based upon your needs.
To better understand your hearing aid coverage options, we suggest talking to a licensed insurer about Medicare Advantage plans that may be right for you.
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
Original Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids. The responsibility of costs rests 100% on the shoulders of the insured.
However, you may be able to receive benefits that Original Medicare (which is Part A and Part B) does not cover under a Part C plan. Since Part C (also known as Medicare Advantage) is offered through private insurers, you can review coverage options by individual providers. Just be sure to ask about hearing aids and testing, especially if it’s a current or future health concern or need.
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Exams?
Yes, Medicare will cover your hearing exams as long as you receive a doctor’s referral. This benefit bottleneck exists to prevent people from billing the government for medically-unnecessary hearing tests under the expectation that Medicare will pay for them.
The other caveat is that Medicare will only pay your doctor 80% of the approved cost, meaning that you’re responsible for paying the other 20%, plus the coinsurance and any remaining deductible.
Other Preventative Exams Covered by Medicare
In addition to hearing exams, there are several types of tests, vaccinations, and screenings that your doctor can order on your behalf. Medicare will cover your flu and pneumonia shots, as well as an annual checkup.
Other exams and preventative maintenance that Medicare may cover at the approved rate include:
- Bone density measurements
- Cardiovascular therapy and screenings
- Cervical, endometrial, and vaginal cancer screenings
- Diabetes management and screenings
- HIV and STD screenings
- Prostate cancer checkups
The list is fairly comprehensive when it comes to doctor-referred exams and screenings to ensure that you are in tip-top shape. Not only can you receive coverage related to the above-referenced list, but Medicare Part B will also extend coverage for health screenings to individuals who might be at risk for or currently experiencing alcoholism, depression, or obesity issues.
Why Medicare Does Not Cover Hearing Aids
The Medicare system is funded by Americans who have paid into Medicare throughout their individual careers. Since Medicare is a public insurance program, strict measures are taken to reduce fiduciary oversight.
Hearing aids and routine care are relatively expensive. So, the Medicare Act decided to trim this area of need to contribute to the larger pool of benefits coverage. Interestingly, Medicare was enacted during a time when people didn’t live as long as they do today. Therefore, hearing aids were not seen as a commonplace medical device as applied to the broader population.
Currently, the Hearing Loss Association of America states that about 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Due to now-outdated social pressures associated with hearing loss, the condition may have been underreported when these rules were enacted. In fact, up to 86% of people who would otherwise benefit from hearing aids don’t use them, according to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
Other Services Not Covered By Medicare
Given that hearing aids aren’t covered under Medicare, you might not be surprised to learn that there are several other treatments, services, and procedures that Medicare doesn’t cover.
Common services that Medicare does not cover includes:
- Hearing, dental, and vision
- Podiatry care
- Plastic surgery
- Holistic medicine
- Chiropractic medicine
- Long-term care
The insurance program seeks to cover treatments that are medically necessary. Anything else falls under Medicare Advantage, third-party plans, or out-of-pocket costs.
If You’re on Medicare and Need Hearing Aids
The best course of action is to talk to a licensed insurance sponsor to learn about what Medicare Advantage plans may offer hearing aid coverage, as well as coverage for associated routine examinations.
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