What to Do If You’re on Medicare and Need a Hearing Aid

 

Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, doesn’t cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams to get fitted for hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B may cover a diagnostic hearing test to determine hearing loss and decide if you need further treatment. In this case, you would pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount (subject to the Medicare Part B deductible). If you get this exam in a hospital setting, you may have to pay a hospital copayment.

While Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams, some Medicare Advantage plans, available through the Medicare Part C program, do. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare and may cover benefits that go beyond Original Medicare, such as hearing services and hearing aids.

As another option, many states offer hearing benefits, including hearing aids, through Medicaid or other programs for qualified residents. The Hearing Loss Association of America, at www.hearingloss.org, includes a state-by-state list of such programs and phone numbers to call to find out if you’re eligible.

If you’re a veteran and your hearing loss is connected to your military service, veterans’ benefits may cover the cost of your hearing aid.

Scheduling your hearing exam

Under Part B, you can expect to pay 100% of the cost for exams to get fitted for hearing aids and hearing aids. If you have the financial resources and are willing to pay for it, call your doctor or hearing loss specialist to schedule a hearing exam.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and hearing services are covered, then follow your health plan’s rules for scheduling hearing appointments. For example, don’t call a hearing specialist directly if your Medicare Advantage plan requires you to go through a primary care doctor first for a referral. You might want to contact your Medicare Advantage or other health plan to see if it offers hearing exams and hearing aid discounts through a specific program.

If you belong to Medicaid, or any other program that may help cover hearing costs, then follow the program’s instructions for accessing your hearing benefits or buying a hearing aid.

Shopping for hearing aids

If your doctor confirms that you need hearing aids, he or she may recommend a specific device, possibly through a specific vendor. The amount you pay depends on what type of insurance you have.

You may want to do a thorough search for available options if you’re paying out of pocket for the hearing aids. You can search online for “hearing aids” to find a wealth of products from many hearing-aid companies. Check around for a hearing-aid style that best fits your needs, and compare prices and reviews to ensure that you find a product that will serve you well.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicaid program that covers all or part of the cost for a pair of hearing aids, you may be restricted to buy them through approved companies. Check with your health plan and follow their instructions, or you may not be covered for the cost of the hearing aids.

This article is for informational purposes only. It should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

To learn about Medicare plans you may be eligible for, you can:

  • Contact the Medicare plan directly.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY users 1-877-486-2048; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Contact a licensed insurance agency such as Medicare Consumer Guide’s parent company, eHealth.
    • Call eHealth's licensed insurance agents at 888-391-2659, TTY users 711. We are available Mon - Fri, 8am - 8pm ET. You may receive a messaging service on weekends and holidays from February 15 through September 30. Please leave a message and your call will be returned the next business day.
    • Or enter your zip code where requested on this page to see quote.

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