Recently, President Joe Biden proposed spending $3.5 trillion over the next decade on climate change, health care and family-service programs. Included is that proposal is an expansion to Medicare that would cover hearing care, as well as dental and vision.
For millions of Americans, this would be a huge financial relief because original Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for these services. This has led some people to skip much-needed care.
No specifics about the proposed expansion and exactly what would be covered have been released, and this legislation may face an uphill battle, but it does signal recognition among lawmakers that these services are important in order for older Americans to stay healthy.
In the meantime, health insurance benefits can be tricky to navigate, especially for older Americans on Medicare.
At Associated Audiologists, we provide a number of financing options with discounts for patients who are on traditional Medicare and pay out of pocket.
We also are a participating provider for the following commercial insurance programs:
- AARP Medicare Advantage
- Aetna (HCA/HMCC plans require special exception letter that must be obtained from Aetna by your PCP)
- Aetna Medicare Plans
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield
- Cerner Healthcare
- Cigna Healthspring
- First Health
- Freedom Network
- Humana Medicare Advantage Plans
- Medica Select
- Medicare (written order from PCP required prior to service)
- United Healthcare
- United Healthcare Medicare Advantage Plans
For those who have a Medicare Advantage Plan, be sure to read the fine print of what your plan covers with regard to hearing aids, or better yet, check with our team and ask them what your plan actually covers. They have the knowledge and expertise to sort through the fine print that you may miss.
For example, 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. It may in fact be “new,” but for those who are Associated Audiologists patients, they probably already have technology that is far better than the coverage these plans provide.
Or, the plans may 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. Or sometimes the provider you use is in-network, but the insurance company doesn’t let you know that.
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.
To help you better understand the ins and outs of insurance when it comes to hearing aids, including Medicare Advantage plans, we created an e-book.