If you are someone who is suffering from hearing loss, you will likely be wondering whether or not your regular health insurance covers the cost of hearing aids. The truth, unfortunately, is that health insurers in most U.S. states do not ordinarily provide cover for hearing aids. That said, you will find plenty of cases where patients have been reimbursed by their health insurer for hearing aids that they have bought. So, it will be correct to say hearing aid insurance coverage not only differs between insurers but also from state to state.
Some of the States in the U.S. Now Mandate Hearing Aid Insurance
There are some states where hearing aid insurance is now mandatory, but the extent of coverage varies. Generally, though, these states stipulate minimum coverage of specific amounts over regular time periods.
The good news is the number of states where hearing aid insurance is now guaranteed by law is growing. But, if you live in one of these states, you still shouldn’t assume you will necessarily be covered. While there are now states that extend mandatory coverage to adults, some states will still only mandate coverage for children.
There are also even variances with what coverage people using the same insurer can claim. It is, thus, advisable to check with your insurer to know if your plan covers hearing aids.
Why Aren’t Hearing Aids Covered by Some Insurance Providers?
The reasons behind this are quite complex. Here are a few of the reasons:
- In short, most health insurance companies declare hearing aids as ‘elective’. There is obviously much debate around this, especially considering how drastically a hearing aid can enhance a person’s quality of life.
- Another reason is that most Americans have a sizeable risk of suffering some form of hearing loss in their lifetime, making it quite likely for them to need a hearing aid at some point in the future. As a result of this, the majority of health insurance companies do not consider hearing loss to be insurable. Think of it this way – it is the same situation as if a home insurance provider promised to replace your roofing tiles when they eventually wore out. This is something that is very likely to happen, and would mean that the insurance provider would need to pay to have it done for almost all of its clients. Very costly indeed!
Coverage options for hearing aids
Among the insurers that do offer it, hearing aid insurance is often administered differently. Here are a couple of ways in which it may be handled:
- Commonly, the health plan will pay a specific amount of money towards the purchase of your hearing aids. The amount may be paid for each ear or for the entire purchase, whether one or two hearing aids are bought. The benefit usually renews after a specified number of years.
- Under other health plans, hearing aid coverage takes the form of an allowance. The allowance will specify an amount that will be deducted from the total cost of the hearing aids, the difference from which will then be paid out of pocket. But, this financing will be extended only if you purchase from a contracted provider.
When looking for suitable cover, it is important to read the fine print, as not all health plans are created equal!
The good news is that where a health plan does not explicitly extend hearing aid coverage the insurer may offer you the option of purchasing your hearing aids at discounted prices. But, again only if you buy from contracted providers.
If your medical insurance plan does not cover hearing aids, you should consider the affordable options we have at the Chenault House of Hearing. Visit our hearing centers or contact us for information on how we can help improve and protect your ear health.