When people are considering purchasing new hearing aids, two of the most common questions we hear are, how much do hearing aids cost, and will my insurance cover them? Because every insurance plan differs, insurance coverage for hearing aids is a complex topic best addressed individually, but here are five tips to keep in mind:
- Nearly all insurance companies provide basic coverage for a comprehensive hearing evaluation. This includes the testing necessary to determine if you have a hearing loss, as well as the type and degree of hearing loss. Your audiologist uses this information to make recommendations for you, including if hearing aid technology would benefit you and what might be best suited for your lifestyle, needs, and budget.
- Insurance coverage for hearing aids varies greatly between each insurance provider and between specific plans. Plans can vary widely, even within each company. One type of plan may pay for hearing aids, while another may not. So, even though you and your neighbor may both have insurance with the same company, you may have different plans that provide different coverage for hearing aids. It’s always best to contact your insurance provider to find out the specifics for your plan.
- It’s important to understand the difference between a real hearing aid benefit and the promotion of a low-end hearing aid sold through your insurance provider. Some insurance companies promote a “hearing aid benefit,” which is actually the distribution of a very basic low-cost device that you can also purchase privately. Be sure you understand all your options. Often, the benefit restricts choice to a specific device, a specific provider, or devices obtained through a third party distribution center. Depending upon your type of hearing loss, this may not be appropriate for your needs. Remember, it’s only a benefit if it actually helps you hear better.
- Even if your insurance company helps cover the cost of hearing aids, you need to meet your deductible before your coverage kicks in. If you have a high deductible, say $5,000, you’ll have to meet that before your hearing aids are covered. Once the deductible is met, many insurers will then cover a percentage of the hearing aid cost, often 70 to 80 percent.
- Currently, there is no tax credit for the purchase of hearing aids, though Associated Audiologists has been involved in lobbying Congress for passage of a tax credit. In the meantime, hearing aids do qualify if you itemize your medical expenses on your income taxes. And, many people use their flexible medical savings plan through their job to save the money to pay for their hearing aids.
The bottom line is, more and more insurance companies are covering hearing aids, but coverage varies widely depending on the company and plan. Our staff has the expertise to check and verify your coverage, and can provide detailed estimates of our hearing aid costs and recommendations. We are extremely knowledgeable about the pros and cons of different plans and what those plans may mean to you. In addition, we have many options available to help you navigate insurance and hearing loss to come up with individualized solutions that are best for your hearing while being sensitive to your budget.
Please feel free to contact us to verify your insurance coverage, or if you have any other questions about if and how your insurance plan pays for hearing aids or has specific options available for hearing aids.