When it comes to Medicare and the extent of their coverage can be sometimes unclear. The above question of hearing aid coverage by Medicare is always met by a no answer. However, looking at the question analytically is often confusing.
The federal health insurance program Medicare offers coverage for people who are 65 and above. Medicare also provides health coverage for younger people with serious diseases and disabilities. While this is so, Medicare still does not offer coverage for the total cost of medical services. This is the point where the rules as regards Medicare coverage become a bit complex. There are certain issues that affect coverage. It is important that all individuals take into consideration all the available types of coverage.
It is important to understand what Medicare covers and what it does not. This is the only way we can provide an answer to the above question.
What services do you need to pay for?
Before you finally settle for a particular health insurance plan, it is important to put certain factors into consideration. You need to consider your income and ensure that any choice you settle for will offer you full coverage. It is important to always inquire from your doctor is he/she will accept Medicare. Often times, even your trusted healthcare provider will reject Medicare.
Which healthcare plan is more relevant to your situation? For patients suffering from hearing loss, it is important to go for a plan that covers part of your care cost.
Medicare Part B may provide coverage of hearing loss treatment to an extent. However, in general, Medicare does not provide coverage for scheduled hearing exams. Notwithstanding, if you get approval for a medical hearing diagnostics, you may be required to pay only a percentage of the charges (usually 20%).
Those who subscribe to Medicare will enjoy medical coverage of services that are important when treating a disease condition. These services include surgery, the supply of wheelchairs and walkers including laboratory tests. For those who subscribe to the Medicare Advantage plan, they remain under the coverage of original Medicare plan.
Medicare Part A
Medicare Part A is also widely known as Hospital Insurance. Below are some of the services covered under Medicare plan A.
- Nursing home care
- Hospital care
- Home health services
- Skilled nurse facility care
Medicare Part B
The Medicare insurance part B covers types of services – precautionary services and medically essential services. Precautionary services are made up of early detection of disease/infections. Most of the services covered by part B Medicare plan are provided at no cost. Below are some of the services covered under part B.
- Long-lasting medical equipment
- Medical research
- Ambulance services
- Inpatient, outpatient and partial hospitalization of a patient with mental illness
- Consulting a second physician before a surgery
- Some drugs prescribed to outpatients.
Medicare Part C
The Medicare Part C also known as the Medicare Advantage plan is run by a private insurance company under a contract agreement with Medicare. The Medicare advantage plan typically covers all the services across all Medicare parts.
Medicare Part D
This plan is not so popular. Medicare Part D covers drugs. Medicare drug prescription plans cover a list of available drugs. The drugs are divided into different levels. This is based on the amount of money you can afford for each level. The drugs that are listed at the lowest level will cost you less, while top level drugs tend to cost more. There are basic coverage rules for Part D that needs to be studied carefully.
Drugs for outpatients: when a prescription drug is given in a hospital outpatient setting they are typically not covered by Part D. these drugs are considered as self-administered drugs. There are, however, exceptional cases where the Medicare plan will also cover outpatient drugs.
Coverage for Vaccines: All vaccines commercially available for the prevention of diseases are covered by the Medicare drug plan.
Automatic refill services: A lot of changes were made to Medicare automatic refill services in January 2014. These changes were geared towards reducing waste. When a prescription refill is required, it has to go through approval before sending the medication. Prescriptions will also be sent when you request for it particularly.
List of items that are not covered under the Medicare insurance plan
This section is very important. Before going for the Medicare insurance option, it is important to know what it does not cover. In case the service you require is not covered by Medicare, there are other options insurance companies you can subscribe to. You can also pay for such services if you have the financial muscle.
The following list of services is not covered by Medicare.
- Cosmetic surgery
- Hearing aid and hearing aid fitting
- Dental care
- Foot care
- Care for the eyes
- Custodial and long-term cares
Medical screenings covered under the Medicare plan
As earlier mentioned, Medicare plan covers some kind of medical screening. This includes precautionary tests covered under the Medicare Part B insurance policy. Some of the medical screening covered by Medicare includes a test for flu, pneumococcal and Hepatitis B. it also covers a yearly wellness visit to the hospital.
Other essential service Medicare plan covers includes:
- Glaucoma tests
- Cervical and Vaginal Cancer Screening
- Measurement of bone mass
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
- Self-management training for patients with diabetes
- Screening for patients with Diabetes
- Heart diseases screening and behavioral therapy
- Screening for HIV
- Screening for STDs
- Screening for prostate cancer
- Alcohol abuse
- Nutrition therapy
How to apply for Medicare Insurance
The easiest and most convenient way to apply for Medicare is through the Social Security website. Sign up via the online platform.
Why are supplementary healthcare insurances important?
Since Medicare does not offer insurance coverage for hearing aids, there is a need for supplementary insurances. When you subscribe to Medicare and other insurance, both are referred to as payers. Bills are sent to the primary payer first. The rest of the bill will now be forwarded to the secondary payer. The primary payer will pay for what it covers while the secondary pays the rest.
What is the cost of hearing aids?
Hearing aids are quite expensive investments. The cost of hearing aids varies depending on the style and features. Some hearing aid professionals offer funding plans. There are some insurance plans that can also provide you discount through the insurance company or a third party company.
At average, the cost of hearing aids ranges from 1,000 USD to 2,400 USD. This, however, depends on the functions. There are other hearing aids that are much higher in price. Like other products, there are different grades of the hearing aid. The best hearing aid for you hugely depends on the outcome of your diagnosis. What if most important in hearing aid selection is to weigh the features against your need?
For those with an active working life or the social butterflies, a more discreet, automated and advanced hearing aid might just be what is required. For those who enjoy more of a quiet life at home, a hearing aid with basic functions and less luxurious level of technology might just be the required model.
When it comes to the purchase of hearing aids, it is always important to weigh its importance against your family and personal needs.
It is very important to visit the hearing aid professional. The hearing aid professional will work closely with you to identify which hearing aid model is best for you. His duty is to carry out a comprehensive test on you to ascertain the level of your hearing loss. He might also ask questions about your private life during the examination. It is the duty of the patient to give sincere answers to all the questions. These questions come together to form the basis of selection of a hearing aid that perfectly suits your lifestyle.
Regardless the outcome of your diagnosis, be it mild or severe, hearing aids can help improve the quality of your life. It keeps you active in the day-to-day activities around you. It also restores your connection to the people around you and your loved ones.
Studies show that the use of hearing aids can help improve the mood of those with hearing loss. Most people with hearing loss have admitted to the importance of the device. Hearing aids are certainly worth the investment.
Securing financial assistance for hearing aids
There are a couple of ways you can secure financial assistance for your hearing aids. While Medicare does not cover for hearing aids, there are typically other government bodies that can offer some assistance. It is important to check with your hearing professional to assist you with securing one of such plans.
We will look at some of the means through which you can secure funds for your hearing aids.
Medicaid programs in most states cover the payment for hearing aid in part or full as the case may be (Medicaid must cover the cost of hearing aids for children).
Different states have different conditions for eligibility. It is the duty of your hearing specialist to help you determine if you are qualified for this program. Further inquiries on the eligibility for Medicaid program can be requested form your state center of the Medicaid program.
The Veteran Administration’s benefits
Qualified veterans can benefit from audiology services and hearing aids from the Veteran Administration. If you are a veteran, it is important to contact the nearest VA contact office near you. There are a couple of websites and online directories that can help you find the nearest VA office to you.
Sign up to a private healthcare insurance
There are some states that do not make it mandatory when it comes to hearing aid coverage for adults. There are, however, some private insurance companies that offer coverage for hearing diagnosis, hearing aid assessment and even offer to pay some percentage of the cost of hearing aids. There are also others that do not provide coverage for hearing aids. It is, therefore, important to verify with the insurance company first before subscribing.
There are a few questions you need to ask your insurance company. Most insurance company care lines are made available on their insurance card.
Important questions to ask your insurance provider
- Does your insurance company policy cover for the hearing aid?
- To what extent does it cover, is it partial or full coverage?
- Does it also require that the patient use a specific hearing aid provider to be eligible?
- If yes, kindly provide details of the supported hearing aid brands in my location.
- If the coverage limited to specific models and technology?
- Are there additional recommendations as regards the coverage?
Flexible medical plans
There are a couple of employers who agree to sponsor flexible medical plans. This plan allows the employee to set aside a portion of their earnings on a pre-tax basis. The money can be accessed throughout the year to take care of medical expenditures. This is used to pay up medical bills that are not covered by your insurance company.
The pre-tax is one good way to take care of your hearing aid costs. Using the pre-tax, an employee on hearing aids can save up enough money to take care of their hearing requirements.
Health savings plan
Some states offer a health savings plan for taxpayers. This kind of savings plan is a tax-advantaged savings account. The money deposited for this health saving is not liable to tax. They also accumulate yearly with interest benefits. A health savings plan can be utilized in offsetting medical bills not covered by the insurance company. This includes payment for hearing aids.
State-sponsored vocational rehabilitation centers
In case your vocation requires hearing aids, a center like this will provide you with financial assistance for the purchase. Locate your local office to find rehabilitation centers near you. There are websites that can provide you with this information.
Credit financing programs
There is a lot of licensed hearing specialist that are willing to provide financing programs with a range of reasonable plans for the treatment of hearing loss and payment for hearing aids. Check your local directory or online directory to find out what each specialist offers.
Itemizing your taxes will help you pick out some of the healthcare costs that exceed a particular percentage of your gross income. These costs can be deducted from your federal income tax. Items such as the hearing aids and its batteries are part of the eligible medical items with deductible costs. You can request more information from your tax officer.
Service foundations and organization
There is a lot of communal and service organization with programs that enable patients to gain assistance with hearing aids. Organizations such as the Lions Club, Moose Lodge, Masonic Lodge, etc. offer this kind of assistance.
There might be such agencies existing in your local residence. Try out some important keywords to help you search for one… such as your local habitat, hearing aid programs, hearing facilities or free service for those with hearing loss.
There are also some hearing aid manufacturers that sponsor foundations with the aim of providing hearing aid to those that can’t afford the financial requirements. Such foundations take it upon themselves to care for the financial need of patients. Some go these foundations go as much as taking care of their emotional needs.
Federal employee assistance
There are some available insurance policies designed to take care of federal employees and their families. These kinds of health coverage might also pay for the basic hearing aid while the employees take care of maintenance and upgrade costs.
Organizations such as “Sertoma,” assist people with hearing loss problem to secure a hearing aid. They also take care of a hearing aid recycling program, SHARP via its 420 clubs. HEAR NOW is a program sponsored by Starkey Hearing Foundation. They provide hearing aids for people who cannot afford it. However, clients are required to pay assessments and around 125 USD for each hearing aid.
Affordable Care Act
There are a few states where it is possible to access some coverage for hearing aids and other related services. This is enshrined in their health insurance exchanges. You can get more information about this health insurance coverage from the Hearing Loss Association of America. You can also access this information through the Department of Health and Human Services. A lot of information on government-proposed important health benefits standard plans can be accessed through the Department of Health and Human Services.
OTC hearing aids –How it Impacts Hearing Aid Costs?
The OTC Hearing Aid Act of 2017 may offer some assistance. This bill was sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass). This bill when in full implementation will grant individuals the permission to purchase certain kinds of hearing aids over the counter. This will cut down all the protocols required to purchase a hearing aid. No medical approval will be required to purchase a hearing aid.
By 2020, the Food and Drug Administration will be required to propose standard regulations for the purchase of OTC hearing aids.
We all know that there are a lot of people who need hearing aids but can’t afford them at the moment. We are hoping to see a change in this with OTC hearing aids in full operation. This depends on how effective they will be and the cost factor as well. However, there will always be the need for professional examination to ascertain the level of hearing loss.
One important fact about OTC hearing aids is that they provide instant relief for those needing urgent care for their hearing loss.
Like other fields of medicine, some patients might tend to abuse the opportunity. This might increase the number of people who indulge in self-medication. Others might see it as a replacement for proper care for their hearing loss.
There are also moves to ensure that state insurance policies provide a full cover for the hearing aid. However, it remains a thing of the future.
For further inquiries about the hearing aid coverage, you can talk to your hearing aid professional. He might be able to assist you in finding affordable plans to help you pay for your hearing aid.
There have been quite a number of persons in recent times that require hearing aid treatment. Due to the soaring costs of procurement, a large number of these people can’t afford to purchase one. This is due to the fact that most of them don’t know there are channels that can help reduce the cost they spend on hearing aids.
If you are among the people suffering from hearing loss, it is important to understand that Medicare does not cover for hearing aids and hearing loss treatments. However, there are ways in which you can access funds to pay for your hearing aids and hearing loss treatment.
There are steps in which you can take to secure assistance for your hearing aids purchase. The first place to turn to should be your health care provider. Your healthcare provider or hearing aid professional may be able to offer some assistance on some of the ways you can secure assistance for your hearing aids.
There are also a number of sites who are dedicated to providing health care assistance to individuals with hearing problems.
We have carefully in this work provided you with guidelines on how to secure assistance for your hearing aids through various governmental as well as private channels.
With the OTC hearing aids act passed into law, we are hoping to see a lot of improvement on the cost of purchasing a hearing aid and treatment in the future. OTC hearing aids will certainly not replace professional treatment: however, it has the tendency of affecting soaring prices positively.