Medicare and Hearing Aids
How does Original Medicare cover hearing loss and hearing aids?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) does not cover routine hearing exams or fittings for hearing aids. Medicare also does not cover hearing aids. Additionally, most Medicare Supplement (or "Medigap") plans do not cover hearing aids. That means, without other insurance, you would pay 100% of the cost for routine hearing exams, fittings and hearing aids.
Medicare does, however, cover diagnostic hearing tests if your doctor orders it for a medical need such as a recent hearing loss due to an illness or injury. If your doctor orders a diagnostic hearing test, then you would pay 20% of the amount approved by Medicare (subject to the Medicare Part B deductible). If your doctor does not accept Medicare assignments, you could also pay any amount charged above the amount approved by Medicare. Regardless of the outcome of the diagnostic test, Medicare still does not cover a hearing aid itself.
Why isn't a hearing aid covered under Original Medicare?
Simply put, hearing aids are expensive. Each hearing aid can potentially cost Medicare from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Four out of every ten Americans who may benefit from a hearing aid are Medicare eligible. That's about four million people.
How can Medicare recipients get coverage for hearing exams and hearing aids?
Some Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) cover hearing exams and hearing aids. Medicare Advantage often offers benefits not typically included with traditional Medicare, such as routine hearing exams and hearing aids. Since each Medicare Advantage plan is different, you should compare plans carefully to find one that fits all of your medical needs. You can see if any Medicare Advantage plans in your area cover hearing aids and exams by visiting www.planprescriber.com or other similar websites.
Some states also have hearing benefits, including coverage for hearing aids, for qualified residents through Medicaid and other state programs. Visit the Hearing Loss Association of America at www.hearingloss.org for state-specific information on hearing aid coverage.
How can Medicare recipients get a hearing exam?
Remember that Medicare does not cover hearing exams unless a medical need exists, such as a loss due to an accident or illness. If you have other insurance that covers hearing exams, such as Medicare Advantage or Medicaid, follow your plan's instructions for getting an exam. If your doctor does not perform hearing exams, he or she may refer you to a specialist. Again, follow your health plan's rules for getting referrals.
How can I get a hearing aid?
The cost for hearing aids can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Remember that Medicare does not cover hearing aids. Be wary of any ads that say they know how to get Medicare to pay for your hearing aid. You can get hearing aids directly from a manufacturer or from large retailers and pay 100% of the cost. If you have health insurance that covers hearing aids, such as Medicare Advantage, be sure to read your plan documents carefully because you may only be covered if you buy your hearing aid from certain suppliers or through a certain process.
Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed this information.