If you’re confused about whether your insurance plan helps covers the cost of hearing aids, you’re in good company. Many people don’t understand whether their plan offers a benefit for hearing aids, and if it does, how it works.
So here are some questions you should be sure to ask or understand:
- Does my plan have a benefit for hearing aids?
- If my plan does have a benefit, what is the benefit and how much does it provide?
- Do I have to meet a deductible and out-of-pocket amount before my benefits kick in, and if so, what is that amount?
- How often does my plan cover the cost of new hearing aids or how often does it renew?
- Does my benefit allow me to see the audiologist of my choice, or am I restricted to specific practices/providers?
- Does the audiologist or practice I prefer accept my insurance?
- Does my benefit cover the cost of a diagnostic hearing evaluation, or do I need a referral from a primary care provider in order for it to be covered?
- Can I choose the hearing aids I like best? Or am I restricted to a generic brand/type that’s covered?
While there are lots of other questions you may want to ask, these will get you started, and be sure to read the fine print. Many people who have a benefit are disappointed to learn that it’s limited to an amount much less than they anticipated, or it dictates who they can see for care or restrict product options.
For example, we’ve had several patients whose plans state their benefit provides for new hearing aids, but when they check the fine print, they find the new hearing aids they’ll cover are only up to $500 per ear. Many individuals who wear hearing aids already have better technology than what may be available through their current insurance plan. Or their plan may state they have to see someone different than the provider they’ve seen for years. Some only cover specific brands of hearing aids and won’t cover advanced features that many people want in new hearing aids.
Many people wait until the end of the year to use their insurance benefits, and buying hearing aids is no exception. In addition, people often assume they have good coverage, and when they come in for their examination, they learn their benefit covers the bare minimum, or nothing at all.
Our suggestion is to start investigating your benefit now if you think you might want to purchase new hearing aids before the end of the insurance plan year. To avoid unwelcome surprises, call the audiology clinic where you prefer to be seen and ask if they accept your insurance. Then ask them if they can check your benefit to see what’s covered or how your specific plan works.
Many professional audiology clinics accept insurance as payment, but some big box stores don’t.
When the clinic checks your insurance benefit, be sure they find out exactly what’s covered. Will you have to meet a high deductible before coverage for hearing aids kicks in? Or do you have to use a clinic or brand that you’re unfamiliar with?
If you find that’s the case, when your plan comes up for renewal, shop around for one that provides better benefits for hearing aids. Associated Audiologists is happy to help you determine whether a plan is of true benefit to you. This is especially true of Medicare Advantage plans. In our experience, some provide a decent benefit, while others just aren’t that helpful. In these cases, the details matter.
As you investigate who you would like to work with and the brand of hearing aids you think would be the best option for you, keep in mind that your audiologist can be a very helpful guide on this journey. Audiologists are doctoral-level health care professionals who have advanced experience in diagnosing and treating hearing loss. Independent clinics, like Associated Audiologists, offer most major brands of hearing aids to choose from, not just one brand. This helps you find the best solution for your specific hearing loss, lifestyle and budget.
Your audiologist should be an expert in the many features today’s hearing aids offer, and should be able to answer your questions regarding whether one brand has an advantage over another in terms of the sound quality and features it offers.
So, don’t wait until the last minute to start asking questions about whether your insurance plan covers the cost of hearing aids, and don’t assume it does.
If you’re still trying to figure your benefits out, Associated Audiologists has created a special guide to help called “Your Guide to Insurance and Hearing Aids.”
The useful information included in this guide can help you better understand the complexities of your insurance plan, especially when it comes to hearing aids. This resource also offers examples of patients and different types of coverage, and what their plans cover.
The Associated Audiologists staff has the expertise to check and verify your insurance coverage, as well as provide detailed estimates of hearing aid recommendations and costs. We also can provide you with the receipts necessary for reimbursement from your flexible spending plan and accept health savings account plan payments.