Insurance for Hearing Aids

Trying to Get a Necessity Covered

Many companies have largely refused to provide insurance for hearing aids. While it is understandable that they would refuse to cover them for older adults on the grounds that too many people would want or need them, what about children? As the cost of hearing aids continues to rise, more parents and individuals are challenging insurance companies.

Coverage for hearing aids with insurance

To determine if your health insurance covers hearing aids, check with your individual plan.

Look for the toll-free number for member services listed on the insurance card. Even if you have it, insurance coverage for hearing aids varies in how it is administered. In addition, hearing aid coverage within a plan can vary depending on where you live. For example, Kaiser Permanente offers a hearing aid benefit with a credit per ear option available every 36 months, but it depends only in certain places.

About two dozen states currently mandate health insurance companies provide full or partial hearing aid coverage for children. Unfortunately, only a few states mandate health insurance companies provide hearing aid coverage for adults. 

If your state mandates coverage, you will need to do a little research to find out about the amount covered and how often a claim can be made, as well as any other qualifiers for the coverage. Your hearing care professional can often provide some guidance as you search.

Insurance coverage and discounts are always changing. When you’re considering the purchase of hearing aids, call your insurance provider and ask about your plan.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company

  1. What is the health plan benefit for hearing aids?
  2. Do I have to use specific providers, and, if so, may I have a list of providers in my area?
  1. If the health plan has an allowance or benefit, do I have to pay the provider the full amount and then submit paperwork to get reimbursed? Can the provider bill the health plan directly?
  2. Is the benefit limited to specific hearing aid models or technology? Ask your plan representative to specifically define terms such as “routine” hearing aids. 
  3. Are there any criteria or stipulations for coverage? Some health plans may require that your hearing loss must be a certain degree in order to receive their benefit.

Always be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine if you or your loved one qualifies for a hearing aid benefit.

If you do not live in one of the mandated states, it does not mean that you do not have insurance coverage for hearing aids, it simply means your state laws do not require it. Check with your employer or benefits coordinator. Often healthcare systems, teacher retirement groups, city and state government employee groups and any other large employer or group will sometimes coordinate with a network of preferred providers to offer some level of discount or service.

The AARP organization offers a hearing care program for their members that provides “savings on hearing aids and hearing healthcare products.” 

References:

Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Aids and the Affordable Care Act. http://www.hearingloss.org/content/hearing-aids-and-affordable-care-act

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