Insurance benefits for hearing aids are confusing, to say the least. Though many people have health insurance plans or Medicare replacement plans that claim to provide an insurance benefit, most of those same people have no idea what that really means.
Unfortunately, in this case, you MUST read the fine print in order to understand what your plan covers, if anything.
First, be aware that discount and warehouse chains typically don’t accept insurance benefits as payment. They expect you to pay out of pocket for your hearing aids, or finance the cost through their financing plan.
At Associated Audiologists, we provide a number of financing options with discounts for patients who pay out of pocket. We also accept almost every insurance plan, including plans from popular providers like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United HealthCare, Humana and Aetna.
If you are still in the workforce and have a conventional insurance plan, your plan may cover hearing aids up to a specified amount once you reach your annual deductible.
Things get confusing though when patients have Medicare Advantage plans. Remember that traditional Medicare DOES NOT pay for hearing aids. However, these advantage plans (or Medicare replacement plans) may promote that they offer a benefit for hearing aids, but be sure to read the fine print. Many patients are disappointed to learn when they check closer that coverage for “new hearing aids,” may only be for a very basic $500 hearing aid. Often, patients of Associated Audiologists already have technology that is far better than the coverage these plans provide.
Or, the plans will only cover the cost of a specific hearing aid from an off-brand manufacturer. Again, these can be entry-level hearing aids, and if you don’t get them from an in-network provider, you may be out of luck. Sometimes, there are no providers near you that are in-network.
In many cases, we’ve found that for the same cost or a small amount more, the patient can get more advanced hearing aids from a clinic such as Associated Audiologists, rather than using the so-called benefit that comes with their plan.
Before you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, check the benefits very carefully as they relate to all your health-related services. For hearing aids, call our clinics and we will check the benefits to see if they would be helpful for you. In some cases, these are mail order devices and in others, they have very few providers enrolled to provide coverage, causing confusion and delays for beneficiaries who want to utilize their benefit.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to change plans, you can do so during the next open enrollment period.
Associated Audiologists, Inc., advocates for patient choice and quality hearing care. Patients should expect and demand choice both in their options for hearing aid technology and in regard to the quality provider and professional they can work with to get their hearing aids. Associated Audiologists works hard to advocate for all our patients, especially those with Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans. We participate with many of the Medicare Advantage programs and also have special pricing and benefit match options available if we aren’t in network, or if patients prefer or need more choice than their benefit provides.
Associated Audiologists created an e-book to help better explain the ins and outs of insurance when it comes to hearing aids. In the book, we feature:
- Key terms used by the insurance industry
- Associated Audiologists’ experience working with insurance companies
- Medicare and Medicare coverage plans
- Traditional insurance benefits
- Other payment options
- Patient examples