According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, 20% of Americans suffer from some form of hearing loss. 1 And at age 65, that number rises to one in three.2 If you’re one of the millions with hearing loss, or if you have a family history of hearing loss, you might be wondering if Medicare pays for hearing aids.
For the most part, Medicare does not cover hearing aids or hearing exams—unless you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. We’ll cover which plans cover hearing aids in more detail, and we’ll also address other options outside of Medicare.
Are hearing aids covered by Original Medicare?
Original Medicare—which is Medicare Part A and Part B combined—does not cover hearing aids. Medicare Part B will cover hearing exams if your doctor determines they are medically necessary—for example, they might perform a hearing exam to see if you need treatment for an illness or disease. However, even in those circumstances, hearing aids are not covered.
Does Medigap cover hearing aids?
Medigap plans, or Medicare Supplement plans, are excellent for extending Original Medicare coverage. Unfortunately, they are subject to the same restrictions Medicare Part A and Part B are, meaning they don’t cover hearing aids or routine hearing exams either.
Does Medicare Advantage cover hearing aids?
Medicare Advantage plans are insurance plans that combine Medicare Part A and Part B into one plan. Many also include Part D prescription drug coverage and may also cover services that would not ordinarily be covered by Medicare—like hearing aids. These plans are sometimes called Medicare Part C plans.
If you don’t mind moving away from Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are great for several reasons:
- They often cover services, like hearing aids, that Original Medicare does not.
- They can help simplify Medicare by combining Part A, Part B, and Part D into a single plan.
- They more closely resemble traditional health insurance plans you may be familiar with, with clear deductibles and copayments.
The specific Medicare Advantage plans available to you will depend on where you live. Our comprehensive guide to Medicare Advantage plans can help you decide if one of these plans is the right choice for you.
What are my other options if I only have Original Medicare and need coverage for hearing aids?
If you have only Original Medicare and need hearing aid coverage, there are options, though you will have to look outside Medicare. Below are a few of the ways you can get hearing aids covered. These are all viable options for getting coverage, though which are available to you will depend on personal circumstances. Not everyone is eligible for Medicaid, for example.
Medicaid is a government-provided health insurance program for individuals with limited resources. You might qualify for Medicaid if your income or financial situation prevents you from paying for health care. Medicaid covers hearing aids in certain states (but not all). States where hearing aids are covered include Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Texas, and Vermont. A full list of states that offer coverage, as well as the limitations of that coverage, can be found on the Hearing Loss Association of America’s website.
If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for assistance paying for hearing aids if the hearing loss is connected to your military service or if you meet other requirements. You may also be able to get hearing aids through the VA if the hearing loss interferes with your everyday life.
HSAs and FSAs
HSAs and FSAs are special saving accounts offered by some insurance policies that allow you to save money for health care purposes. HSA stands for health savings account, while FSA stands for flexible spending account. Money placed into either of these accounts is not subject to taxes, which makes them a smart move for individuals with regular health care expenses. The two account types are similar, with the main difference being that an HSA carries over from year to year, while funds in an FSA must be used by the end of the year or they are lost. Both account types can be used to pay for hearing aids and related expenses.
Affordable Care Act
Some states include hearing aid coverage on their health insurance exchanges. Like with Medicaid, hearing aid coverage is up to the individual states and not all offer it. Some states that do offer hearing aid coverage under the Affordable Care Act are Arizona, Hawaii, and Texas. Many states offer hearing aid coverage for only individuals under a certain age or children experiencing hearing loss. The Hearing Loss Association of America offers more information.
Private insurance plans
Private insurance that covers hearing aids is available in some states. A few of the states that require insurance companies to cover hearing aids and exams include Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. In this situation, insurance companies must offer a certain amount of coverage for hearing aids and related services, though the exact amount varies by state.
We know Medicare can be complex, and we hope you’ve found this information helpful. If you have additional concerns or questions about Medicare, feel free to reach out to our licensed insurance agents. We can help you find the right plan for your situation and needs. Contact a licensed agent today at 855-802-1206. We’re available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT.