If you are worried about the cost of hearing aids, you’re not alone. The average adult pays over $2700 out of pocket for these devices, and 16% pay $5000 or more. The cost leads many to ask whether hearing aids are covered by insurance, and the answer to the question depends on location, coverage type, and other factors. Here, we’ll explain which policies pay for hearing aids—and list those that don’t.
Why Don’t Most Insurers Cover Hearing Aids?
Insurance companies operate by taking the expenses associated with uncommon but possible risks and spreading them over wider populations. They profit when individuals pay for coverage without filing claims. Those who experience hearing loss are considered severe risks, which decreases profits—and that’s why most insurance companies don’t cover hearing aids for adults. Thankfully, Earlens offers affordable options.
Medicaid and Medicare
As of the time of this writing, most hearing tests and hearing aids aren’t covered by Medicare. Medicaid typically covers these devices, but rules and exclusions vary by location. The Hearing Loss Association of America’s website offers state-specific details.
FSAs (Flexible Spending Accounts)
If you have an FSA or flexible spending account, you can use those funds to cover some out-of-pocket medical bills. In most areas, hearing aids and batteries qualify for FSA reimbursement. You’ll pay the cost upfront, and the FSA account repays it later.
Are you suffering from service-related hearing loss? Have you sought treatment at a VA medical center? If that’s the case, your VA (Veterans Administration) benefits will cover the cost of hearing aids and testing. If a hearing issue interferes with activities of daily living, you may get hearing aids right from the VA.
Private Health Insurance Coverage
Unfortunately, few private insurance policies cover hearing aids. A few states, such as Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Arkansas, offer exceptions. If you’re in a state with such a rule, private insurers must cover hearing aids for eligible adults. Before shopping for hearing aids, check with your insurance company to learn about coverage.
Federal Employee Health Insurance Plans
If you work for the government—or your spouse does—insurance may cover hearing aids. Most federal employee insurance plans pay for basic hearing aids, leaving workers to pay for upgrades and add-ons.
The Affordable Care Act
Under the ACA or Affordable Care Act, some states offer insurance coverage for hearing tests and hearing aids. For updated information, visit the federal website for Medicaid and Medicare Services.
Health Savings Accounts or HSAs
HSAs are like FSAs in that both accounts cover the cost of hearing tests, batteries, and devices. Unlike a flexible savings account, however, the money in an FSA can roll over from year to year. This can help eligible adults cover the cost of new hearing aids.
Health Reimbursement Accounts
Health reimbursement accounts or HRAs are created and funded by employers. Therefore, it’s up to individual companies to decide whether batteries, hearing tests, and hearing aids are reimbursable. Ask your company’s insurance benefits department whether hearing aids are covered under an HRA.
Paying for Hearing Aids With Insurance: The Takeaway
The health insurance marketplace is challenging to navigate. Policies are constantly changing, which makes it hard to get answers. Now that you’ve learned about different coverage options, however, you should have the information needed to cover the cost of hearing tests and hearing aids.