Though many people don’t have an insurance plan that covers the cost of hearing aids, there are other options that you may not be aware of that are available to you and may help with the expense.
One of the most important is a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). You can use this plan to save and pay for copayments, deductibles, some medications, and some other health care costs, including hearing aids. Using an FSA also can reduce your taxes. Here’s how an FSA works.
Throughout the year via your employer’s plan, you have a designated amount of funds withdrawn from your paycheck and deposited in a special FSA account. You don’t pay taxes on these dollars. That means you reduce your taxable income by the amount you’ve set aside in the FSA. There are some limits to how you can use these accounts though.
First, FSAs are limited to $2,750 per year per employee in 2021. If you’re married, your spouse also can put up to $2,750 in an FSA with their employer too.
Second, you can use funds in your FSA to pay for certain medical and dental expenses for yourself, your spouse if you’re married, and your dependents.
Third, you can spend FSA funds to pay deductibles and copayments, but not for insurance premiums.
FSAs may be used to cover costs of medical equipment like hearing aids, crutches, supplies like bandages, and diagnostic devices like blood sugar test kits. Plus, they can be used to pay for prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines with a doctor’s prescription.
You use your FSA by submitting a claim to the FSA plan administrator (through your employer) with proof of the medical expense and a statement that it has not been covered by your insurance plan. You will then receive reimbursement for your costs. Your employer should be able to tell you how to use your specific FSA.
In most cases, you must use the dollars you’ve saved in your FSA by the end of the calendar year. That’s why it’s important to plan carefully and not put more money in your FSA than you think you’ll use and use what’s in there by the end of the year. In many cases, if you don’t use those dollars, you lose them.
Health Savings Accounts
According to healthcare.gov, a Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a type of savings account that lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses, including hearing aids. By using untaxed dollars in an HSA to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses, you may be able to lower your overall health care costs. HSA funds generally may not be used to pay premiums.
While you can use the funds in an HSA at any time to pay for qualified medical expenses, you may contribute to an HSA only if you have a high deductible health plan, which is generally a health plan that only covers preventive services before the deductible. For the plan year 2021, the minimum deductible is $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family. The minimum deductibles for an individual and family are the same for the 2022 plan year.
HSA funds roll over year to year if you don’t spend them. An HSA may earn interest or other earnings, which are not taxable.
The Associated Audiologists staff has the expertise to provide detailed estimates of hearing aid recommendations and costs. We also can provide you with the receipts necessary for reimbursement from your FSA or HSA plan.