Does your insurance covers hearing aids Purchase and Use
As a hearing aid manufacturer for over 15 years, the most we want to see is for our users to thrive and enjoy life with better hearing. However, like all jobs, I hate one part of my job... that is dealing with insurance companies!
If you don't have hearing health insurance, hearing aids can be a significant health investment, typically costing anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. The cost of hearing aids is a combination of factors, including the expertise and service required to install and adjust hearing aids for a patient's hearing loss, as well as the advanced computer circuitry built into the device. Many people don't realize that these tiny devices have more computing and processing power than a full-size desktop computer (a desktop computer won't last long if you're in the shower 14 hours a day - something like a humid, warm environment to your ear canal). While the cost of technology has come down over the years, another aspect of hearing aid cost is the R&D used to create the advanced algorithms that make hearing aids so "smart" (e.g. state-of-the-art hearing aids) that can tell the speech you want to hear (e.g. The difference between your spouse sitting in front of you) and the speech at the table next to you, which is actually processed as background noise and reduced rather than amplified). Labs have spent millions developing the technology, so while the device itself may be relatively cheap to manufacture, the R&D costs are paid back when the technology hits the market. In the end, most of the cost you pay is for the time and expertise of a professional, such as a doctor of audiology to evaluate you and recommend the right options for your hearing loss, as well as the installation, programming and Continuing care. This is similar to having a knee replacement. The implant itself may be $2,000 or $3,000, but the success of the treatment is largely in the hands of the surgeon performing the procedure, which is where most of the cost comes from. Fortunately, most patients do not need surgery to hear better!
Unlike knee surgery, however, most insurance plans, including Medicare, do not cover hearing aids. In fact, Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids, dental care, or vision care. If you have Medicare supplements that follow Medicare guidelines, your supplements won't cover them either. I wish they did! More than 80% of people over the age of 60 will experience some degree of hearing loss, so it is necessary. Some private insurance companies have hearing aid benefits, for example, they will cover $500 or $1000. It usually depends on whether the doctor is in or out of network, or whether the patient is meeting their deductible or out of pocket. To complicate matters, some insurers outsource their hearing care benefits to a "third-party" provider, thereby bringing another entity into the mix. This is very confusing for both patients (and doctors)! In fact, when you get your hearing aids, some of the professional services you pay your doctor go toward hiring someone who has to verify, file, and follow up on patient coverage. With third-party coverage, many patients will find that they don't actually have real hearing aid benefits - it's a discount program where you have to choose from a limited list of hearing aids before you get a "discount" device price from your hearing aids suggested retail price. Many professionals choose not to participate in these third-party programs due to the limitations of available technology and the reduced services covered. Depending on the program, sometimes the reimbursement the clinic receives doesn't even cover the cost of providing the service, so it can't participate. As a result, many private practice physicians do not participate in third-party programs. All in all, healthy hearing is a top priority, and care can be a major investment. The success of your results depends on many factors, including the provider's expertise and technical quality. Become an informed consumer, investigate what benefits you can expect, conduct research, choose the most qualified provider, and work with your doctor to choose the best treatment plan and hearing aids to maximize your success - your ears depend to it!