Medicaid/Medicare Coverage of Hearing Aids

hearing aid
Photo by Kateweb ewing (Flickr)

If you have hearing loss, chances are good that you have looked at hearing aids at some point. They definitely cost more than a movie ticket or two. Add to that the fact that one out of every three adults 65 or older has some type of hearing loss and both Medicaid and Medicare might quickly come to mind.

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

If we ask the most recent Medicare guidelines, “Does Medicare cover hearing aids?” the answer, for the most part, is“no.” However, Medicare will usually pay for hearing exams if ordered by your doctor. It is important to note that Medicare Part C may provide some coverage for hearing aids, but if you do not have Part C coverage, you do not have Medicare coverage for hearing aids.

Who Qualifies for Medicare?

Typically, if you are 65 or older, you probably qualify for coverage under Medicare. There are some circumstances in which a person may qualify for Medicare when they are younger than 65,including things like having end-stage renal disease or if the individual has been collecting Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for the past 24 months or longer. Most people who have had Social Security deductions taken from their paychecks will receive their Medicare card in the mail shortly before they become eligible for coverage. Medicare coverage initially includes Part A and Part B. Part B is optional but requires the payment of a monthly deductible. Neither part A nor part B covers hearing aids.

Does Medicaid Cover Hearing Aids?

Really, the question should be, “Does Medicaid cover hearing aids in my state?” because Medicaid hearing aid coverage varies from state to state. At this time, it seems that around two-thirds of the states provide some type of coverage for hearing aids. To find out whether your state is one of those, you’ll need to reach out to the relevant state agency and ask whether Medicaid covers hearing aids where you live.

Things to Keep in Mind

Medicaid hearing aid coverage is not without its own terms and conditions, however. For instance, in some states, only individuals who have hearing loss above a certain level may qualify for coverage under Medicaid for hearing aids. Only part of the cost of hearing aids might be covered, or only certain types or brands of hearing aids may be covered. There also may be limitations on the time frame between the replacement of hearing aids.

The big takeaways are these: If you’re on Medicare, hearing aids are covered only in very specific circumstances and only if you have Part C coverage. If you’re covered by Medicaid, you’ll need to contact state officials where you live to find out what costs your state’s Medicaid program will cover. Keep in mind that the insurance world is constantly in a state of flux, especially when it comes to government programs, so before you count on getting financial assistance for your hearing aids, it’s best to double-check with your health coverage provider.

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