: The controversial 2.3% excise tax on medical devices goes into effect on 2013. The "ObamaCare" 2013 tax doesn't include hearing aids or corrective lenses, but does include devices like defibrillators, pacemakers, artificial joints and others.
: Hearing aids are not required to be covered
. The PPACA expands coverage to many things, but hearing aids are not part of that. However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be covered by a provider - they’re just not required to be covered.
The gulf between federal and state laws affects this particular issue, as hearing aids are not part of any federal health care act. Currently 19 states require some form of coverage by insurance providers, and even then, certain exemptions apply. Hearing aids come in many different shapes, sizes, and prices - from $500 to several thousand dollars - and the final cost to the patient can be based on various conditions, technological features and physical fitting needs.
Why aren’t hearing aids covered by the federal government? They’re considered an elective treatment, such as LASIK surgery.
: Flexible spending accounts are changing and may change even further. The primary change for flexible spending accounts (which do qualify hearing aids and hearing aid repair as tax-deductible items, though it is up to the plan provider to accept them) is a cap at $2,500. For just about everyone, this is a reduction, as most plan providers put the previous cap at $5,000. However, current discussion exists as to just how to handle the overflow of remaining funds often left in flexible spending accounts. In fact, the Department Of Treasury was taking in public comments up until mid-August regarding what to do with the use-it-or-lose-it model. So while flexible spending contributions will definitely be capped at a lower amount, there’s still some gray area on the topic in general.
: The cost of hearing aid repairs also is a qualified medical expense under Section 213, according to the IRS in Information Letter 2011-0055
. Such expenses therefore are deductible.
That letter adds that hearing aid repair also can be reimbursed through a flexible spending account (FSA). But a caveat: while FSA funds may be used to cover expenses incurred for hearing aid repairs, a plan is not obliged to cover such expenses. Whether or not the FSA will cover that expense depends upon the plan terms.
The medical expense ceiling for which Americans can get a tax deduction is raised from 7.5% to 10% in 2013 due to ObamaCare.