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Health Insurance and Hearing Aids – All You Need to Know

Losing your hearing is a natural part of life. More than half of all seniors over the age of 75-years old live with some form of the condition. Some seniors are not aware of the extent of their hearing loss, and it takes an intervention from a spouse or family member to make them realize they may have a problem with their hearing.

Fortunately, hearing aids provide a practical solution to the issue of losing your hearing.

Most hearing devices contain advanced audio technology that restores your brain’s interpretation of sound, allowing you to return to normal social activities, such as taking part in a conversation.

However, purchasing hearing aid devices can put a severe dent in your monthly expenses. Some models cost more than $5,000, and many seniors don’t have that kind of budget available. There are affordable hearing aids available; all you need to do is scour hearing aid reviews to find a few options that suit your needs and your budget.

Medical Insurance and Hearing Aids

Searching the internet for the best hearing aids leaves you with plenty of options. Hearing aids can range in price from less than $100 to $5,000, depending on the brand and the retailer where you purchase the unit. Hearing aids cost a significant amount of money, and many seniors think that their medical insurance covers the cost of the device.

However, the truth of the matter is that the majority of health insurance plans don’t cover hearing aids at all. These companies state that as hearing loss is a normal part of aging, the additional costs of providing every senior with a hearing aid will increase the premiums on all their other clients.

While most companies refuse to pay contributions, there are a few that recognize the needs of their customers and offer some form of compensation.

Checking to Determine if Your Health Insurance Covers Hearing Aids

Locate your health insurance policy and call the service hotline. Please speak to a consultant and ask them about contributions to the hearing aid price. Even if you strike it lucky and your insurance covers a portion of the coststhe amount may vary depending on where you live or how often the hearing aid requires replacement.

Around 24-States mandate health insurers provide hearing aids for children. However, only a fraction of these states institutes the same legislation for seniors. If you reside in a mandated state, you’ll need to complete further research into the qualifications for coverage, as well as claim frequency. Your medical practitioner will provide you with more information as well.

Unfortunately for seniors, there are only three states that currently mandate medical health insurers to provide hearing aids for seniors. These three states are;

  • Rhode Island – $800 per hearing aid, paid every 3-years.
  • Arkansas – $1,400 per hearing aid, paid every 3-years.
  • New Hampshire – $1,500 per hearing aid, paid every 60 months.

Insurance companies are constantly updating their policies concerning hearing aid contributions, so make sure you check with them first, before you go out and spend your hard-earned retirement savings on top-of-the-line rechargeable hearing aids.

Questions for Your Medical Insurance Company

When calling your insurance company, here is a list of questions you may find useful when enquiring about hearing aid coverage.

  1. What are the policy benefits for hearing aids?
  2. Are their specific insurance providers for hearing aids? If so, is there a list of providers available?
  3. If the policy caters for hearing aids, does the insurance cover the cost upfront, or reimburse you after purchase?
  4. Are there any limitations on brands or technology when choosing your hearing aid?
  5. Are there any specific requirements that qualify you for a hearing aid – such as a certain level of hearing loss?

Asking these questions allows you to avoid being ripped off, and gives you an idea of the price range you can afford when searching through hearing aid reviews.

How to Get Hearing Aids If You Don’t Live in a Mandated State

If you don’t reside in a mandated state, that doesn’t mean that your insurance will not cover your hearing aid – it only means that there’s no state legislature on the matter. Speak to a consultant at your health insurance provider to inquire about coverage in your state.

Healthcare systems, state, and city government employee groups, and teacher retirement groups often work with a network of preferred healthcare providers that offer discounted services on hearing aids. AARP is another organization offering programs for its clients that provide discounts and savings on hearing aid devices.

Surveying the Health Insurance Industry

The Hearing Loss Association of America recently released its results of a survey where they consulted with the leading healthcare firms in the country.

The results were shocking, to say the least, with only 25-percent of all surveyed seniors stating that they received contributions toward their hearing aids form their healthcare provider. Less than 5-percent of all seniors receive full coverage for their hearing device.

As a result, many seniors have to resort to purchasing cheap hearing aids that they can afford on their pension budget. More than 74-percent of seniors state they receive no contribution for their hearing aid from their medical insurance.

How Much Do Medical Insurance Companies Cover?

The contribution toward your hearing aids varies depending on which health insurance provider you choose to use. We found that most insurance companies offer around $1,000 to cover your costs. Here is a full list of contributions for the medical insurance companies that took part in the survey.

Insurance Company Coverage per Hearing Aid

BCBS Association $1,205.27

UnitedHealth Group $1,363.64

Cigna $1,231.62

Aetna $1,160.29

Kaiser Permanente $1,004.05

Humana $821.88

Wrapping Up – Speak to Your Medical Insurance

Please don’t take our word for it, ask your insurance company. However, we recommend that you thoroughly review your policy before you decide to make any purchase decision. The last thing you want to happen is your medical insurance refusing your claim for your hearing aids cost, leaving you with an expense you can’t afford.

April 7, 2019

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