The end of the year is usually a busy time for health care providers as patients rush to meet their deductibles, use up their benefits, and maybe even qualify for a tax deduction.
Hearing aids are no exception to that rule, but there are some important issues you should be aware of if your goal is to be a savvy saver. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
Have I already met my deductible, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket expenses for my insurance plan?
Insurance coverage for examinations and hearing aids varies from one insurance provider to the next, even from plan to plan under one insurance. Because deductibles and total out-of-pocket expenses have risen significantly in recent years, we often find patients are confused about when their coverage kicks in, and how much it will help.
Also, be sure you understand any “discount options” or “benefits” your plan offers. These often limit your choice to a specific device from a specific provider or manufacturer. They may only be available for a lower cost device and may not include service. Depending on your hearing loss, a low-end device may not work well for you, or may limit your flexibility.
Do I have FSA or HSA funds set aside to pay for my hearing aids?
A flexible spending account (FSA) helps you save pre-tax dollars to pay for medical expenses, including hearing aids. Be sure to take advantage of your FSA before the year ends. Typically, you cannot carry these dollars over from one calendar year to the next. A health savings account (HSA) also allows you to save pre-tax dollars for medical expenses, but these funds are more flexible and can be used at your discretion.
Do hearing aids qualify as a medical expense on my taxes?
Hearing aids do qualify as a medical expense on your income taxes, but first you must meet the federal requirements for itemization. Consult your tax advisor.
Additionally, if you purchase hearing aids or hearing aid batteries through Associated Audiologists, they qualify as medical devices and are exempt from sales tax. That may not be the case if you make purchases through a retail outlet.
The Associated Audiologists team has the expertise to check and verify your coverage, as well as provide detailed estimates of hearing aid recommendations and costs.
End-of-the-year appointments fill quickly. Call 1-855-547-8745 to schedule a hearing evaluation with a doctoral-level audiologist.
Originally published in the Kansas City Star.