There are a lot of working parts to the Medicare hearing aid coverage. It’s pretty startling that by age 65 one in three seniors will suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss. So are there plans for Medicare hearing aids that seniors can afford? It seems that there is if you dig a little deeper into the coverage provided by Medicare.
EXPLAINING MEDICARE HEARING AID COVERAGE
First of all, a senior’s medical insurance under (Medicare Part B) will take care of diagnostic hearing and balance exams. This is providing that the senior’s health care provider orders them for specific medical reasons. For example, a senior might be suffering from vertigo and a hearing test might help discover the cause.
Unfortunately, there is a deductible to pay. Unless a senior has some sort of Medicare supplement plan, they will have to pay Medicare’s 20% coinsurance. In the event the test is performed in a hospital, the senior will have to pay a hospital co-payment, so there is really no way to avoid it without a supplement plan in place.
it’s important to remember that it has to be a hearing test that a senior’s doctor recommends. Seniors will not be covered for routine exams or hearing aids.
COST CAN BE HIGH
The costs involved can be very high for seniors on a fixed income. Because hearing aids are not actually covered by Medicare, seniors will have to foot the bill themselves. This can be pretty daunting because the cost of a hearing aid averages out at about $2400.
What usually happens is that seniors will forego a hearing aid because they simply can’t afford it. Without being able to hear properly, a seniors quality of life is severely impacted.
If you can’t hear properly it can easily lead to loneliness and isolation. Overall health could also go into decline because of it. However, there are a few options available to seniors that might help defray the cost of hearing issues.
Seniors should be aware that there are many scams offering free hearing aids. As soon as you see the word free, alarm bells should be sounding.
Here is an excellent video that points out many hearing aid scams seniors should watch out for.
MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTS THAT MIGHT HELP
There is Medicare Parts A and B and Medigap, which is private insurance meant to supplement the A and B Plans.
Most Medigap plans won’t pay for a hearing aid, but at least it will help defray the cost of diagnostic hearing tests. The doctor requested hearing test is included in Medicare Plan Part B, but there is the coinsurance of 20% to consider.
This 20% charge for a diagnostic exam is covered under Medigap.
The cost of Medigap Insurance Plans can be as little as $31. If a senior is very fortunate, they may find a Medigap Plan that covers the cost of a hearing aid, but chances are very slim.
THE ADVANTAGES OF MEDICARE PLAN C
MEDICARE Plan C is also a privately-issued insurance policy. It has the advantage of covering a few medical costs not covered under Plans A and B.
For instance, the plan might include vision care, dental care, hearing exams, and even prescription drug coverage. The problem is, very few Medicare Advantage plans will cover hearing aids.
THERE IS A WAY TO GET AFFORDABLE HEARING AIDS
Thanks to President Trump signing a hearing aid act, there is a way to get hearing aids that are a bit more affordable for seniors.
He signed the Over the Counter Aid Act in August 2017. What this did was allow over-the-counter sales of certain types of hearing aids for seniors. In this case, a prescription would not be necessary.
New regulations were written by the Food and Drug Administration to make sure the devices were deemed to be safe. When that was done the hearing aids became widely available.
Seniors benefit greatly from this because over-the-counter hearing aids are far less expensive than hearing aids purchased by prescription. The hope is that one day that competition will lead to a lower cost for hearing aids.
WHY SOME SENIORS RESIST HEARING AIDS
For a variety of reasons, some seniors resist getting a hearing aid. This means there are a lot of folks out there struggling to hear. Especially when you consider that hearing loss due to age occurs in almost half of seniors between the ages of 75 and 84.
That number increases to a whopping 95% by the age of 94. At one time, there would’ve been few seniors who reached that lofty longevity goal, but not anymore. More and more seniors are living well into their 90s these days.
They are staying fitter, paying attention to diet, and taking up sports like running, weight lifting, and even triathlon. This means they are taking huge steps to improve their quality of life and longevity. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid the ravages of time impacting their hearing.
When hearing loss happens there are a few main reasons why seniors avoid hearing aids like the plague.
- The Age Stigma Wearing a hearing aid is associated with old age in the mind of many seniors and they will have none of it. They would rather struggle to hear people than admit they need a hearing aid.
- Difficulty Adapting A lot of seniors are not big fans of change. They assume it will be too hard for them to adapt to a hearing age in the late stages of their life. As a result, they don’t bother to get one.
- It’s All About Looks When hearing aids are made, manufacturers are well aware of the importance of the way a hearing aid looks. Many seniors hesitate to get hearing aids that are big and bulky. To them, it’s like a huge advertisement that they are practically deaf. Fortunately, hearing aids are being made small enough to fit inside the ear.
Hopefully, this article on Medicare hearing aids seniors can afford will help seniors understand the process and what options are available to them when it comes to getting a hearing aid that is more affordable.
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