Finding an insurance company that provides reliable and comprehensive healthcare coverage often feels like walking through a minefield blindfolded. Although we spend more on healthcare insurance in the USA than in any other country in the world, far too often we experience a complete let down when we need the coverage most.
Consequently, we often have to respond to a common question from our Bay area patients: “Will my insurance cover my hearing aids and hearing care?”
There is no simple answer to this question, so we have put together some basic information related to insurance coverage of hearing care.
Variables Involved in Insurance Coverage for Hearing Care
Whether or not your hearing aids and hearing care are covered comes down to a few variables:
- Where you live
- What type of coverage you have
- Whether you take a reactive (take action when needed) or proactive (prepare in advance) approach to hearing care
Unfortunately, very few private insurers cover the cost of hearing aids and/or hearing care. Although there is a growing trend to offer more coverage and coverage riders, most still lag behind.
Only Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island make it mandatory for insurers to provide coverage for eligible adults, while nearly every state requires hearing care coverage for children under the age of 18.
Medicare and Medicaid
Neither hearing tests nor hearing aids are covered by Medicare. Medicaid provides benefits to cover the cost of a hearing aid in some states but not others. To find out whether your state is included, visit the Hearing Loss Association of America website.
In spite of the lack of coverage provided by Medicare and Medicaid, BCBS, Humana, Aetna, Tri Care, and Cigna among others provide Medicare supplemental coverage plans that do provide varying degrees of coverage under certain plans.
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act offers subscribers in some states coverage for hearing aids and related expenses just like Medicaid. By visiting their federal site for services provided by the Affordable Care Act, you can learn whether or not your state provides benefits and at what levels.
Veteran (VA) Benefits
If you are one of our nation’s heroes who served in the military and can provide evidence that your hearing loss relates to conditions of your service, there is a strong chance you could be treated at a VA hospital.
Eligible veterans can expect coverage for hearing aids and associated tests from VA facilities as long as your symptoms are severe and interfere with daily living activities.
Federal Employee Assistance
If either you or your spouse is a federal employee, your insurance plan offers some coverage for hearing aids. Your plan will cover the cost of basic hearing aids while employees may choose to pay for extras and upgrades, which can be deducted from your pay packet.
Health Savings Accounts
A more proactive approach to ensuring the availability of funds to cover hearing aids and hearing care includes having a contingency cash reserve to protect you from unavoidable pay-outs like hearing aids.
Various savings accounts allow you to plan ahead for a future need for hearing aids and hearing care.
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) allow you to use funds for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including hearing aids, and batteries qualify for reimbursement.
- Health Savings Account (HSA), similar to FSAs, cover the costs of hearing aids and batteries, but your HSA accumulates from year to year, allowing you to save toward the cost of a new device.
- Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA) are set up and funded by your employer, which means your employer decides whether hearing aids and batteries are reimbursable.
Hearing and Balance Doctors Can Check Your Insurance for You
Hearing aids and hearing care are an essential element to better overall health, but few insurance companies provide coverage for them. In order to encourage you to take advantage of the great benefits available from better hearing care, Park Place Hearing will check your insurance coverage for you.
Whether you are in Petaluma, San Rafael, or any of their surrounding communities, just contact us with your policy information and our insurance specialist will check into your coverage and then call you with what they find.