Instances of hearing loss skyrocket after retirement age. In fact, one-third of Americans aged 65 to 74 have hearing loss, and about half of Americans over 75. To make matters worse, many retirees can’t afford to buy a hearing aid.
With the average price of hearing aids up to $4,600 a pair, you’d think that Medicare would help us pay for them. Sadly, not all Medicare plans pay for hearing aids, but some do.
Here’s the quick answer:
Original Medicare (Parts A and B): These plans do not pay for hearing aids. Part B might pay for some of the costs related to your hearing care, but not the cost of hearing aids.
Medicare Advantage (Part C): In many cases, these plans do pay some of the costs of hearing aids. Depending on the plan and the provider, you may be able to use your Medicare Advantage OTC Supplement Benefit to pay all of the cost of an affordable, FDA-registered hearing aid from MDHearing (see below).
If you want to know more about getting hearing aids with Medicare, this article provides some valuable tips for using Medicare to pay for your hearing care costs!
Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage at a Glance
Covers Hearing Aids?
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part B
It may cover the cost of doctor-prescribed hearing tests.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage)
Depends on the plan and provider
Private insurers offer these plans. Some plans offer OTC hearing aid coverage through OTC supplement benefits.
Medicare Part D
Medicare Tips for Hearing Care Patients
These are the eligibility requirements for receiving Medicare benefits:
Be a U.S. citizen or be a permanent legal resident living in the U.S. for at least 5 years
Be 65 years of age or older
Be eligible to receive social security benefits and/or railroad benefits.
Some younger Americans and permanent residents can also qualify for Medicare if they have end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
To begin receiving Medicare benefits, eligible retirees have a seven-month window to sign up for Part A and/or Part B coverage. This window includes the month you turn 65, the three months before, and the three months after. If you miss the window, you can sign up during the first three months of any year (January through March).
Now let’s review the hearing care and hearing aid benefits the different Medicare plans provide.
Medicare Part A
Does Medicare Part A cover hearing aids? No, it does not. Part A won’t pay any of the costs related to hearing care or hearing aids.
Medicare Part A is the free version of Medicare. It offers benefits for inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, lab tests, surgeries, and home health care.
As for hearing care, Part A won’t pay for a set of hearing aids. In fact, there are a lot of things Part A doesn’t pay for, which is why many people choose to pay extra for Medicare Part B benefits, if they can afford it.
Medicare Part B
Does Medicare Part B cover hearing aids? No, it does not. However, Part B may cover the cost of a doctor-prescribed hearing test as well as treatments for other conditions that affect your hearing.
Medicare Part B is an add-on program. It costs a minimum of $164.90 per month as of 2023. Part B offers benefits for doctor visits, services from certain medical professionals, and various types of outpatient care. It also covers home health care, some preventative services, and durable medical equipment. If your hearing care requires any expenses related to these, then Part B could help with the costs.
As for hearing care, Part B may cover physician-ordered hearing tests or treatment for a hearing-related medical condition, but it won’t pay for hearing aids.
Medicare Part D
Does Medicare Part D cover hearing aids? No, it does not. However, Part D does help pay for medicine when required, and sometimes medicine is required for hearing care.
Medicare Part D is another add-on program with extra costs, which vary by plan. It offers benefits to help pay for prescription drugs.
As for hearing care, Part D doesn’t pay for hearing aids, but it could help pay for medications to treat some of the medical conditions that cause hearing loss. For example, antibiotics may be needed to treat infections that cause hearing loss, and steroids may be needed to treat sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL).
Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap)
Do Medicare (Medigap) Supplement Plans cover hearing aids? No, they do not. However, a Medigap plan could pay for some other medical costs surrounding hearing loss.
Private insurers offer “Medigap” plans to pay for important things that Medicare doesn’t cover. Medigap policies often cover the cost of copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles for Parts A and B.
As for hearing care, Medigap plans don’t pay for hearing aids, but a Medigap plan might pay for certain medical costs related to hearing loss, depending on the plan and your particular health needs.
Medicare Advantage Plans Part C
Do Medicare Advantage Plans cover hearing aids? Many Medicare Advantage plans cover the cost of hearing aids. If your plan covers hearing aids, it probably offers up to $300 to $1,000 worth of coverage. Best of all, many can use this coverage to pay the full price of a hearing aid from MDHearing!
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) are private insurance add-ons that come with a seal of approval from the U.S. federal government. These plans combine the benefits of Medicare Parts A and B (and often D) with additional private insurance coverage, including hearing aids.
Best of all, because of a new partnership between MDHearing and Medline (a large supplier of OTC hearing aids and hearing products to Medicare Advantage plans), some Medicare Advantage plan participants can use the free money that comes with their OTC supplemental benefit allowances to receive over-the-counter hearing aids. These allowances may also pay for other hearing care products and services.
With $300 to $1,000 worth of hearing aid coverage from Medicare Advantage, the Medline-MDHearing partnership means your Plan C benefit may pay the full cost of your hearing aids.
Using Medicare Advantage to Get Hearing Aids: Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up for Medicare Advantage?
You can visit the Medicare website to shop for a Medicare Advantage plan that offers coverage in your area. Make sure to choose one with a hearing aid benefit and check the details carefully! For example, Aetna Medicare Eagle (PPO) provides a hearing aid benefit, but it’s not available for everyone in all locations. Also, the Aetna plan requires a copay for hearing exams and out-of-network evaluations and fittings.
How does the Medline-MDHearing partnership help plan participants get hearing aids?
Medline and Medicare Advantage go hand-in-hand because Medline is a large supplier of medical devices to Medicare Advantage participants. As a result of the Medline-MDHearing partnership, Medicare Advantage members can now use their over-the-counter hearing aid allowances to buy MDHearing hearing aids, which are priced within the range of most hearing aid coverage limits.
Is Medicare Advantage allowed to provide over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids without a hearing loss diagnosis and without visiting a hearing clinic?
Thanks to the new OTC hearing aid law, Medicare Advantage plans can sell OTC hearing aids—like MDHearing hearing aids—to retirees with mild-to-moderate, age-related hearing loss without a prescription and without a hearing test. This has opened the door to companies like MDHearing to provide their affordable, FDA-registered hearing aids to the people who need them most.
Why are Medicare Advantage plans and Medline choosing to partner with MDHearing as their OTC hearing aid provider of choice?
There are three important reasons why Advantage plans and Medline want to work with MDHearing:
Affordability: Instead of $4,600 a pair for hearing aids from a clinic, MDHearing's aids are just a few hundred dollars. Many of these plans provide an average of $400 in OTC hearing aid benefits. Because of MDHearing’s low prices—between $299 and $999 a pair—plan participants can get a pair of hearing aids fully (or mostly) covered.
Support: MDHearing has a U.S.-based support team of licensed audiologists and hearing instrument specialists. These professionals are available by phone, email, text message, and video call.
Convenience: MDHearing customers don’t have to leave their homes for a hearing clinic or doctor’s visit to treat their hearing loss. The hearing aids are delivered directly to their homes in just a few days.
Why You Should Ask Your Congressperson to Support the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2023
The fact that Original Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aids is a tragedy. Fortunately, a recently proposed piece of legislation, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2023, wants to make hearing care benefits available through Medicare so retirees can get the hearing aids they need.
With affordable, quality OTC hearing aid companies like MDHearing, hearing aids are more affordable than ever—so adding the benefit doesn’t have to weigh down the federal budget or put additional burdens on American taxpayers.
To increase the chances of this bill passing, call your congressperson and tell them how you feel.
Remind your representative that hearing treatment isn’t just about improving the ability to hear. It’s about preventing the debilitating physical and psychological health dangers associated with untreated hearing loss.
Health problems associated with hearing loss include:
Increased risk of falling: Poor hearing can affect your mobility and increase the chance of falling because of the way your body uses sound cues for balance.
Decreased cognitive ability: With hearing loss, your speech comprehension ability may decline because you aren’t participating in as many conversations. This can affect overall cognitive abilities and, in some cases, increase the onset of dementia.
Social isolation: When you have hearing difficulties, you may feel socially isolated since participating in conversations becomes challenging. Many with hearing problems avoid social gatherings because it’s hard to understand what people are saying.
Depression: Social isolation and loneliness can lead to depression, a condition that already affects many retirees.
When enough congressional representatives hear their constituents asking for hearing aid benefits—and when they understand that affordable hearing aids like MDHearing are available—our combined efforts could bring the legislative changes that hearing loss patients need.
What If You Can’t Afford Hearing Aids and Don’t Have a Hearing Aid Benefit With Medicare Advantage?
If you can’t afford conventional hearing aids because Medicare won’t pay for them, here’s how you can improve your hearing for less:
Sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan with a hearing aid benefit: Shop around for a Medicare Advantage plan, and you may find that they are more affordable than you think. Look for one with a hearing aid benefit and ask what the limitations are.
Treat your hearing loss with a hearing aid you can afford: Today, budget-conscious Americans can choose between a wide variety of affordable, medical-grade hearing aids that work to treat hearing loss. MDHearing devices start at just $299 a pair, and you can purchase them directly from the MDHearing website without the need for a doctor’s visit or hearing exam. This means that even the most budget-conscious patients can afford to treat their hearing loss with or without a Medicare Advantage plan.
Try some apps to exercise and improve your hearing: Exercising your ability to understand speech in noise can radically improve your hearing comprehension. Try downloading an app like Lace Listening. This app includes some brain exercises that will boost your listening powers naturally.
Practice listening comprehension with a friend: Similar to apps for brain exercises, you can do your own exercises with a friend. Try listening to people reading aloud and practice having conversations in noisy environments. You’ll be listening better in no time.
Take vitamins and improve your nutrition: A one-a-day multivitamin and better nutritional practices are great places to start when it comes to naturally improving your hearing. Fish oil, magnesium, and folic acid can also help, and so will a balanced, healthy, and nutrient-rich diet.
The MDHearing Solution
At MDHearing, our mission is to provide Americans with clinic-level quality hearing care without the high cost of going to a clinic. After nearly a decade and a half of experience designing, manufacturing, and selling affordable, high-quality hearing aids, the current line of MDHearing products and services are the best they’ve ever been—and we are eager for you to try them.
Best of all, our new Medline connection to Medicare Advantage plans means that many hearing loss patients will be able to get a pair of MDHearing aids fully (or mostly) covered by insurance.
Here’s how the MDHearing process works: After taking our free online hearing test, you can discuss your results over the telephone or by video chat with one of MDHearing’s licensed hearing professionals. The professional will suggest whether a hearing aid from MDHearing could help your condition. If you choose, you can skip the hearing test and go directly to ordering a hearing aid.
So far, we’ve helped over 750,000 people improve their hearing with our remote hearing care services and our affordable, FDA-registered, high-quality hearing aids. With our 45-day risk-free trial period, you don’t have anything to lose by giving MDHearing a try!
Even though Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, many Medicare Advantage plan participants can now cover the full price of an MDHearing hearing aid with their Plan C benefits.
Of course, even if you don’t have Medicare Advantage, you can still get the most benefit from your hard-earned dollars by trying MDHearing risk-free!
Order your hearing aids today and get free shipping!
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