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Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids

Summary: As we age, it’s common to lose at least some hearing ability. Many beneficiaries wonder if Medicare covers hearing aids. Here, we will answer that question and more about what Medicare can offer you for hearing aid coverage. Estimated Read Time: 7 mins

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Table of Contents:

  1. Will Medicare Pay For Hearing Aids?
  2. Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Hearing Aids?
  3. Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Hearing Aids?
  4. How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
  5. Changes in Hearing Aid Coverage With Medicare
  6. Will Medicare Cover Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?
  7. Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
  8. Does Medicare Pay for a Hearing Test?
  9. Medicare Coverage for Cochlear Implants

As we age, many of us face hearing loss, and the need for hearing aids increases. Most hearing loss is irreversible, but it is also treatable, thanks to hearing aids. Hearing aids can help you follow conversations and socialize as you normally would. Hearing aid use also lowers the risk of developing dementia later in life.

One of the biggest questions beneficiaries ask when enrolling in Medicare is, “Does Medicare cover hearing aids?” If you are a Medicare beneficiary or will be soon, this question may be on your mind. Below, we provide the information you need about Medicare coverage for hearing aids and how to pay for them.

Will Medicare Pay For Hearing Aids?

Unfortunately, Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. Thus, beneficiaries are responsible for 100% of these costs as Original Medicare does not deem hearing aids medically necessary.

In some cases, Medicare may cover hearing exams if your practitioner orders them in conjunction with another medical issue. For example, if your provider requests a diagnostic hearing and balance exam because you have a history of falling regularly, Medicare Part B will provide coverage.

However, if you discover a hearing problem, Medicare will not pay for hearing aids. If you have Medicare and want to receive coverage for hearing aids, you must seek an additional policy.

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Hearing Aids?

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may offer hearing benefits that include hearing aid coverage. However, not all plans have this benefit, and the coverage varies per plan. It’s also important to note that the availability of any Medicare Advantage plan is based on your state and ZIP code.

Before signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must be sure it’s available in your area and that the network includes your preferred providers and the hearing coverage you require. Also, check to ensure that you have access to a local and reputable audiologist within your plan network for your hearing health needs.

When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you should budget for out-of-pocket costs such as copayments, coinsurance, and the plan’s deductible. If you purchase hearing aids, you will want to keep the plan’s maximum hearing benefit in mind.

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Do Medicare Supplement Plans Cover Hearing Aids?

Medicare Supplement plans work as supplemental coverage to Original Medicare. Also known as Medigap, these policies only cover the out-of-pocket balance of what Medicare covers. Because Medicare does not cover hearing aids, Medicare Supplement plans don’t cover them either.

You can, however, enroll in a separate insurance policy that includes hearing services and hearing aids. Often, hearing coverage comes bundled with vision and dental coverage. Hence, Medicare beneficiaries receive coverage for the most significant gaps in Original Medicare from such ancillary policies. Policy coverage limits vary depending on the carrier.

How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?

Prescription hearing aid costs typically range from around $1000 to $8000 per pair, with an average of $4600. This cost may include a consultation, hearing test, fitting, follow-up adjustments, battery replacements, future cleanings, and a warranty against loss or damage.

However, since late 2022, there are also less expensive over-the-counter options for hearing aids. The average cost of OTC hearing aids is around $1600 per pair, and the typical range is anywhere from $250-$3000 per pair.

Changes in Hearing Aid Coverage With Medicare

In recent years, the high cost of hearing aids has attracted the attention of Congress. Legislation is in the works to make hearing aids more affordable for Medicare beneficiaries. However, nothing has yet been passed to lower the cost of hearing aids for those on Medicare.

In early 2021, lawmakers introduced the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act (H.R. 244) of 2021 in the House of Representatives. The bill would allow Medicare to cover hearing aids for beneficiaries with moderate to severe hearing loss.

If the bill passes, Medicare will pay for one pair of hearing aids every five years for each beneficiary. However, over-the-counter hearing aids would not receive coverage. Additionally, a qualified audiologist or physician would also need to deem the hearing aids necessary for the patient.

The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act was reintroduced in January, 2023 but it still hasn’t passed.

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It is difficult to say if and exactly when those on Medicare can take advantage of expanded hearing benefits in the future. The goal of the legislation is to make costly elements of healthcare more affordable for seniors and disabled individuals.

Will Medicare Cover Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids?

Although the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act is currently in limbo, the federal government has passed some relief for those in need of hearing aids.

Congress has allowed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve over-the-counter hearing aids in a ruling passed in August of 2022. More affordable hearing aids have been available over-the-counter in stores across the country since October, 2022.

OTC hearing aids are designed for those with mild to moderate hearing loss. Though they are available in stores and online without a medical exam or prescription they still must meet strict regulatory standards as approved by the FDA.

At around $250-$3000 per pair, OTC hearing aids are still pretty expensive. However, that’s still a savings from the average cost of prescription hearing aids from an audiologist.

Original Medicare will not cover any over-the-counter hearing aids. Any supplemental Medicare options won’t cover any of the costs either. You can only pay out-of-pocket for OTC hearing aids.

FDA rules for OTC hearing aids include limits on noise levels, frequency, distortion, and insertion depth. They also require safety information on all labels.

It’s important to note that if you have more significant hearing loss, then you may still need stronger prescription hearing aids. If you have trouble hearing louder sounds, such as a horn honking, or if you have trouble hearing conversations in a quiet room, then your hearing loss could be considered more severe. In that case, it’s recommended to speak to an audiologist for a hearing tool that will work for you.

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Why Doesn’t Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

The federal health insurance program Medicare was established in 1965 and hearing aid technology wasn’t well known yet. When Medicare was passed, hearing aids were specifically excluded from benefits in the Social Security Act. The demand for hearing aid coverage has been rising ever since, and it’s not slowing down, as about one-third of adults 65+ have some form of hearing loss.

As of today, CMS still doesn’t deem hearing aids as medically necessary, so Medicare Part A or Part B does not cover them.

Does Medicare Pay for a Hearing Test?

Medicare Part B pays for hearing exams when a practitioner deems them medically necessary. However, it does not pay for tests to measure hearing loss and determine if you need hearing aids.

If your healthcare provider does recommend a medically necessary test, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the costs. You would have to cover the remaining 20% out of pocket unless you also have a Medigap plan which could cover that 20%.

For example, if you have Medicare Supplement Plan G, your hearing exam costs could be fully covered if the procedure qualifies under Original Medicare. You would also have to meet your Part B deductible.

Medicare Coverage for Cochlear Implants

When a doctor deems it medically necessary and the beneficiary has met specific criteria, Medicare Part B will cover cochlear implants. Since Medigap pays after Original Medicare, those who have a Medicare Supplement plan will likely spend the least out-of-pocket for medically necessary cochlear implants.

Talk to your doctor about the cost of cochlear implants with your policy. Further, discuss the specific rules or criteria that may apply.

FAQs About Medicare Coverage for Hearing Aids

Does TRICARE for Life cover hearing aids?
Hearing aids do not receive coverage from TRICARE for Life for retired service members or their families. However, if you are a former service member, you may be eligible for other government programs to help pay for hearing aids. If you enrolled at a VA Medical Center, you could obtain audiology services and hearing aids at the center for no cost.
Does Medicare Part D pay for hearing aids?
Medicare Part D prescription drug plans only provide coverage for prescription medications. These policies do not cover the cost of hearing aids.
Does Medicare Part B Cover Hearing Aids?
No part of Medicare will cover hearing aids. Hearing aids are not considered medically necessary by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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How to Get Help Paying for Hearing Aids with Medicare

Depending on your situation and where you live, federal, state, or local programs may help you pay for an audiologist visit and hearing aids. If you qualify, Medicaid pays for hearing aids in 29 states.

However, if your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to get assistance through your county Social Services department.

Another option for hearing aid coverage when you are on Medicare is to purchase an ancillary policy alongside your Original Medicare coverage – with or without Medigap. To explore policies, call the number above or fill out our online rate form to get started!

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Hearing & Balance Exams, Medicare. Accessed August, 2023.
    https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/consumer-products/hearing-aids/
  2. Hearing Aids, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed August 2023.
    https://www.cms.gov/medicare/coverage/evidence/cochlear
  3. Covered Services Hearing Aids, TRICARE. Accessed August 2023.
    https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/IsItCovered/HearingAids.aspx
  4. U.S. Congress Bill 244. Accessed August, 2023.
    https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/244
  5. U.S. Social Security Laws. Title XVIII Health Insurance for the Aged and Disabled. Accessed August 2023.
    https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/ssact/title18/1800.htm
David Haass

David Haass

David Haass is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. He is a member and regular contributor to Forbes Finance Council and stay up-to-date with the latest Medicare trends and changes. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Florida.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

17 thoughts on "Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids"

  1. I have Medicare and Humana. Will any of the cost of hearing aids be covered? I have trouble hearing my doctors and everyone. Seniors have ears and we need to hear.

  2. I have Medicaid & United Healthcare Dual Complete. I don’t have the money to pay up front; can I bill UHC?

  3. Does medicare cover hearing impaired telephones such as Captel? My father wears hearing aids and struggles hearing on the phone.

    1. Hi Diane! Thank you for your question. CapTel is not covered under Medicare. However, they have a form you can fill out to get him a free phone. It’s called the Third Party Certification Form. The form must be signed by an audiologist or hearing professional in order for him to receive an internet based CapTel at no charge. I hope this helps!

      1. Do any state advantage plans for low income in Ohio on medicaid cover cross over hearing aids

      2. Hi Jason! I would reach out to your local Medicaid office. They do have some coverage for hearing aids. If you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan, you would have to look at your summary of benefits to determine if there is any coverage for hearing aids. There is no way we would know without being able to see your plan information.

  4. On April 6, 2018 I received 2 hearing aids from The Hearing Ctr in Kankakee, IL because I am a surviving spouse of a Ford Retiree. In addition to the price Ford pays I had to pay $1300 and I was wondering why Aetena did not pay some of the bill as that isnow our other insurance besides Medicare. I have just a small pension from Ford and that was a lot of money for me to put on a credit card.

    Juanita M. Baker

    1. Hi Juanita! If you have a Medigap plan through Aetna, it will cover the remaining 20% of the cost of Medicare approved services after Medicare pays their 80%. Hearing Aids are not covered by Medicare, so your Aetna Medigap Plan wouldn’t pick up any of your out of pocket hearing aid costs. You would want to look into a dental, vision and hearing plan to add onto your current Medicare & Medigap coverage. These plans can cover routine hearing tests and sometimes hearing aids. Give us a call for more information!

  5. Why am I not being reimbursed for hearing aids from the Cleveland Clinic? They accepted Anthem and the handbook states reimbursement up to $3,000.00. I sent all the information to Anthem and I’m not getting a direct answer.

    1. Hi Rita! Medicare does not normally cover hearing aids, therefore Medigap plans don’t either. However, some Medicare Advantage plans do, but not all. Advantage plans have a lot of restrictions on these benefits. If you purchased your Anthem plan through us, you can contact our Client Care Team and they will help you with the claim. If you didn’t purchase the plan through us, you’ll have to wait for an answer from Anthem directly.

  6. I HAVE MENIERES DISEASE. AS A RESULT MY LEFT EAR IS DEAF AND MY HEARING AIDS ARE EXTRA EXPENSIVE. IS THERE ANY POSSIBILITY A PORTION OF THE HEARING AIDS CAN BE COVERED BY MEDICARE?

    1. Hi Audrey! The only plans that MAY cover some of the cost of hearing aids are Medicare Advantage Plans. However, they come with many limitations and restrictions. I would contact an agent before making any changes to your current plan to make sure it’s worth switching.

  7. I just heard on tv news that hearing lost can cause dementia. So why doesn’t Medicare help pay for hearing aids. In a reply I read a person can become depressed Both are medical conditions. SO why isn’t it time for medicare to pay for hearing aids. I understand medicaid that is free pays for them. Why are seniors being excluded?.

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