- Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and Medigap plans don’t cover hearing aids.
- Both Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) provide some coverage for hearing exams.
- Medicare Advantage plans often cover hearing aids, but the amount of coverage varies by plan.
- You may be responsible for deductibles, copays, or coinsurance for hearing services, depending on your Medicare Advantage plan.
- Other ways to save money on hearing aids include going through the VA, wholesale clubs, and cheap hearing aid companies, and using an FSA or Medicare MSA.
Hearing loss is common among seniors. With roughly one in three people between the ages of 65 and 75 experiencing hearing trouble, and almost half of adults over the age of 75, many Medicare recipients wonder whether they have hearing aid coverage.
Hearing aids have been excluded by Medicare coverage since it was established by Congress in 1965. Fortunately, in recent years, legislation has been brought before Congress that may has helped expand the coverage offered by Medicare for hearing aids.
This includes the following:
- The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2017
- Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act
- The Medicare Hearing Act, introduced in late 2019
The Medicare Hearing Act has yet to be approved by the House and Senate.
Under this Medicare Hearing Act, hearing aids for those with severe hearing loss would be covered. Unfortunately, this piece of legislation will not cover over-the-counter hearing aids and only includes one prescription hearing aid every five years.
This article will cover the following:
- What is Medicare?
- Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
- Which Plans Would Be Best To Cover the Costs of Hearing Aids?
- How Much Do Hearing Aids Typically Cost?
- How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost with Medicare?
- Alternative Options To Medicare for Covering Hearing Aid Costs
- Cheap Hearing Aids
- Why You Can Trust Our Expert Reviews
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance plan for:
- People 65 years and older
- Younger people with certain disabilities
- People with end-stage renal disease
Medicare insurance consists of multiple parts that cover different services. There are various ways to use Medicare, with options including Medigap and Medicare Advantage Plans. Exactly what your plan pays for depends on the plan you choose.
Medicare Part A: Hospital Insurance
Medicare Part A covers inpatient and hospital expenses. It’s the only type of Medicare without a monthly premium—providing you or your spouse worked 40 quarters, during which you paid Social Security taxes. Expect to pay an annual deductible along with copayments for covered expenses.
Medicare Part B: Medical Insurance
Medicare Part B provides insurance coverage for outpatient care, such as going to your primary care physician or a specialist. Unlike Part A, most people pay a monthly premium for their Part B insurance. The standard premium as of 2022 is $170.10 per month, and there is an annual deductible of $233 and a 20 percent coinsurance cost after you meet your deductible.
Combined, Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B constitute Original Medicare.
Medicare Part D: Prescription Insurance
Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. Part D is not mandatory, and users do have to pay for coverage. You must join a medicare-approved Part D plan for coverage, and most people pay a monthly premium, annual deductible, and medication copays.
Medicare Part C/Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage plans (MA plans), also known as Medicare Part C plans, provide the most comprehensive medical coverage. These policies, which you must purchase from a private insurance company, offer an alternative to Original Medicare. Instead of having a Part A, Part B, and Part D plan, MA plans bundle everything into one (although not every policy provides prescription drug insurance).
A perk with Medicare Advantage plans is that many have more extensive coverage than Original Medicare. There are policies with benefits like hearing, vision, dental and fitness coverage.
Medigap is an optional policy that you purchase from private insurance companies to fill in the “gaps” in Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B). Medigap plans cover annual deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance to various degrees. If you want prescription drug coverage, you must purchase a separate Medicare Part D policy.
Note that you cannot have both a Medicare Advantage plan and Medigap—you must choose one or the other when you want additional coverage.
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) plans may cover hearing aids and hearing care services. According to Rudolf Probst, MD, with Audiology Research, “Medicare Part C plans may offer hearing benefits like hearing tests, the cost of hearing aids, and other hearing services.” Medicare Advantage plans vary, so not every policy includes hearing aid insurance. Original Medicare—that is, Part A and Part B—does not cover hearing aids.
Be sure to check with your insurer to see if your Medicare Advantage plan covers hearing services and products. You can change plans annually, so you may want to look for a plan with extensive hearing benefits if your current plan doesn’t provide this coverage.
What About Hearing Tests?
Hearing tests are one of the few hearing-related benefits of Medicare coverage. Medicare Part B covers diagnostic hearing exams. When we interviewed Dr. Probst, he explained, “Part B may cover diagnostic hearing tests if your doctor orders them to detect and diagnose a hearing problem.”
When using Part B coverage, you’ll likely be responsible for some of the cost. With Part B, you have an annual deductible and 20 percent copay for the Medicare-approved cost of the test. Both Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans may also pay for hearing tests, depending on the policy.
Which Plans Would Be Best To Cover the Costs of Hearing Aids?
Some of the best plans available to cover hearing aid costs are through Humana. Humana recently added many benefits to its Medicare Advantage plans. One of these benefits is hearing benefits, including coverage for the cost of hearing aids.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Typically Cost?
With no insurance to cover the cost of hearing aids, a single hearing aid may cost you well over $2,000. The price can range from $800-$4,000.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost with Medicare?
Hearing aid prices can cost up to $8,000 per pair without insurance, with prices being even higher for the most advanced models that you can find at local audiologist offices.
The exact cost of hearing aids with Medicare depends on the Medicare Advantage plan you select. Some policies have a $0 copay, which means you won’t pay anything for your hearing aids once you’ve met your annual deductible. Keep in mind that policy limits may restrict hearing aid coverage to a specific dollar amount.
If you’re shopping for a new Medicare Advantage plan and want a policy with generous hearing aid coverage, visit the Find a Medicare Plan page and follow the prompts for Medicare Advantage plans. Select “Hearing Coverage” under “Plan Benefits,” and then click on “Plan Details” to learn more about the hearing aid insurance.