This may come as a surprise, but the truth is, insurance companies rarely provide coverage for hearing aids. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), only 20 states mandate insurance coverage for hearing problems, with the majority just covering children. Hearing aids are expensive and are an item that so many need yet so few can afford. Why do insurance companies not include hearing aid coverage and what can you do about it?
The Reason for no Coverage?
A hearing aid as far as an insurance company is concerned is elective. If you have a hearing loss, you can appreciate the necessity of a hearing aid. You realize that hearing aids can affect your quality of life, your relationships, and your mental and physical well-being, and even your safety. Health insurance companies operate by taking the cost of an uncommon, but insurable risk, and spreading it out over a large population. So It is convenient for an insurance company to declare a medical device as elective, as the underlying reason is a financial one.
Sources of Financial Assistance
Start by determining if your health insurance company will cover hearing aids by checking your plan. Even if you have it, be aware that insurance companies vary in the way coverage is administered. Coverage can also vary depending on where you live. Prepare a list of questions for your insurance company such as:
- What is my health plan benefit for hearing aids?
- Am I to use specific providers, and can I get a listing of those providers?
- Are my benefits limited to specific hearing aids and technology?
- Are there criteria or specific stipulations in place for coverage?
- Do I pay the provider the full amount and submit paperwork to get reimbursed?
If your state is not a mandated state, it does not mean that you do not have insurance coverage for your hearing aids. It just says your state laws do not require coverage.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicaid coverage for hearing aids also varies by state. The majority of hearing aid providers do not accept Medicare or Medicaid due to complicated paperwork and a low, slow reimbursement rate. Although there are Medicare Advantage plans that include coverage for hearing aids, the federal program for those age 65 and older do not contain any coverage.
Some Good News
Advocacy for hearing loss might be the answer to getting the insurance industry’s attention. Remember that insurance is not the only financial assistance available to you for hearing aids. Here is a guide that can assist you in finding national organizations that help in obtaining hearing aids. Finally, be aware that hearing professionals are in the business of helping people to hear better so they may offer affordable financing options for you. If you have a hearing problem, please do not let financial obstacles prevent you from hearing. Coverage may be available for you so be sure to contact your insurance company. If not, check out the numerous organizations provided in the guide to find one that may be able to help you purchase your hearing aids.