This article explores whether Medicare, Tricare, and other private insurances like United Healthcare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield cover the expenses of hearing aids. It also discusses the conditions for eligibility and presents excellent alternatives when coverage is not available.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, many Americans—specifically, over 48 million people—are experiencing hearing loss.
However, Accoring to the research, only one out of every seven individuals with hearing impairment seeks treatment.
Consequently, numerous Americans want to know if their insurance covers the costs when they purchase hearing aids or use hearing-related services.
Does insurance cover hearing aids?
Many insurance plans do not provide coverage for hearing aids, considering them as elective or cosmetic devices.
In the United States, Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people aged 65 and older, does not typically cover the cost of hearing aids.
Medicaid, the state and federally funded program that provides health coverage for low-income individuals, may cover hearing aids in some states for eligible beneficiaries, particularly children.
In more than 20 states, there is a mandate to provide subsidies for hearing aids when purchased for children.
However, the number drops significantly to just 5 states when it comes to mandating subsidies for adults purchasing hearing aids. This is because many insurance plans do not offer coverage for hearing aids, categorizing them as elective or cosmetic devices.
As of 2023, the 5 states that do mandate coverage are:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
However, it's worth noting that the lack of coverage for hearing aids through Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance is not absolute.
Pay attention to the following information to determine if you qualify for assistance.
Does Medicare cover hearing aids?
Medicare Part A:
Unfortunately, Medicare Part A does not cover any hearing-related costs, including the expenses for hearing aid devices.
If you wish to have coverage for hearing aids, it is advised to consider enrolling in private insurance or switching to a different part of Medicare that offers such coverage.
- Medicare Part B:
Being under Part B doesn't significantly alter the situation. Medicare Part B also does not cover the cost of purchasing hearing aids. However, if a device is ordered under a doctor's discretion, services like hearing diagnostics, balance tests, and annual hearing tests related to the use of hearing aids can be supported.
Yet, this only applies if the device ordered by the doctor is entirely self-funded, so Medicare Part B does not provide comprehensive coverage for general hearing health.
- Medicare Part C:
Part C, on the other hand, can offer economic assistance when you need to purchase or repair hearing aids or undergo hearing examinations.
However, the coverage varies even among people enrolled in the same Part C, so it's best to call your insurance planner to inquire about your specific coverage options.
If you haven't specifically enrolled in certain options, there's a high likelihood that you may not be covered.
Does Tricare cover hearing aids?
Indeed, as of 2023, TRICARE, the insurance provided to military personnel and their families, does not cover any costs related to hearing aids and hearing care services.
Considering the frequent occurrence of hearing issues among soldiers due to gunfire, you might feel that this is a problem that needs to be addressed promptly and improved upon.
Private insurance coverage for hearing aids
Some private insurances often provide more extensive coverage for hearing aids and hearing health services compared to Medicare.
Here are some private insurances that handle the costs for typical hearing aids:
United Healthcare is perhaps one of the most popular private insurances in the United States, offering comprehensive coverage for hearing health.
They cover costs for most hearing aid brands.
United Healthcare's website even provides an online test to recommend suitable hearing aids and introduces nearby locations where these aids are supplied.
Through an option called Humana Extend, Humana provides coverage for various health activities, including hearing, vision, dental, and more. If you are enrolled in Humana insurance with the Extend option, you can receive appropriate assistance when purchasing hearing aids or needing hearing services.
Blue Cross Blue Shield:
While not all plans cover hearing aids, some Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage plans do offer coverage. If you are a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance holder, contact your representative to inquire if you qualify. Additionally, members enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Federal Employee Program (FEP) have the opportunity to purchase discounted hearing aids through FEP's subsidies.
However, it's important to note that these private insurances often come with high premiums, and the cost of purchasing hearing aids out of pocket might be lower than the expenses incurred by enrolling in private insurance. Moreover, if you already have significant hearing loss and require hearing aids, there's a substantial possibility that you might not qualify for these private insurance options or their benefits.
In that case, there's a viable alternative: Over-the-Counter (OTC) hearing aids.
Are OTC hearing aids covered by insurance?
OTC hearing aids are devices that can be purchased directly without a prescription, and they are significantly more affordable than prescription hearing aids. While most prescription hearing aids cost over $3000 on both sides, OTC hearing aids can be purchased for as low as $500 for basic models.
Of course, OTC hearing aids may not provide a perfect fit for individuals, leading to potentially lower performance compared to prescription devices. However, for individuals without severe hearing impairment, choosing OTC hearing aids over expensive, non-insured prescription devices can be a wise decision.
A great option for you is Olive Union's product, the Olive Max.
The Olive Max is an OTC hearing aid designed for moderate to severe hearing loss, and it has a modern design that doesn't look like a traditional hearing aid at all.
Its original price falls into the higher range for OTC devices at around $800, but it's currently being exclusively offered at a 50% discount on Indiegogo, selling for $399.
The Olive Max not only functions as a hearing aid but also doubles as earbuds. This means you can not only amplify sounds but also connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth to enjoy videos, music, and phone calls simultaneously. Now, you don't have to carry separate devices for hearing aid and earbuds.
This discounted price will end soon, so if you're hesitating, I recommend making the purchase right away.
You can buy it at this link.