First off, let’s just say that at this time, unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids. In this article, however, we will discuss what other options are available for seniors on a budget. In addition, we will determine what exactly parts A and B Medicare cover.
If you have purchased supplemental insurance, the cost of your hearing aid and exam may be covered. Check your plan coverage or call your representative to learn the details.
Part C Medicare Coverage
As stated earlier, original Medicare-Parts A and B do not cover the cost of hearing aids. You will be responsible for the entire cost of the hearing aid. However, under Part C which is also called the Advantage Plan you may have coverage. When signing up for Medicare, take this into consideration if you are in need of hearing aids. Keep in mind, however, that with Advantage Plans, you will have an additional premium.
What About Hearing Tests?
Original Medicare will in certain instances pay for a hearing test. However, you will need to obtain a referral from your primary care doctor. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have a genuine loss of hearing. Remember, that you cannot simply decide for yourself that you want a hearing test. Walking into a clinic for this service without a referral will mean you are willing to pay the entire cost.
Hearing Aids for Veterans
If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for help with some if not all of the costs of hearing aids. If your hearing loss is in any way due to your service, you will have coverage. In addition, if you are currently receiving your medical care from the Veterans Administration, you will be covered. If you haven’t already, make sure that you are registered with the VA.
There are several non-profit organizations that may be able to assist individuals in need of hearing services. Generally, these programs should be considered by low income seniors in need of hearing aids. We will discuss three of them below.
Sertoma Service Organization
Sertoma is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help low income people obtain the hearing services they need. They provide lists by state of organizations that will help. One program they use is SHARP. This stands for Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling Program. SHARP receives donated hearing aids and distributes them to those in need. Check their website at Sertoma.org to find a list of places in your state that will help. However, a one time charge may be involved.
National Hearing Aid Project
The National Hearing Aid Project is organized by the Hearing Charities of America. It is designed specifically for low income individuals in need of hearing aids. They will restore used hearing aids and distribute and track them. Of course, there is an application process. In addition to hearing aids, you will receive follow up care. Be sure to check their website at hearingaiddonations.org.
Hear Now is a program provided by the Starkey Hearing Foundation. This too, is a program for low income people that you will need to apply for. If accepted, you will receive new custom made hearing aids. With this in mind, professionals donate their time and experience to this program. In other words, Hear Now is purely a donation driven program. Check the Starkey Hearing Foundation website for more information.
The hearing aids are lifestyle devices that must be chosen with a bit of care, and they must be checked by a professional.
Medicare Part A
To help you understand Medicare Part A here is a brief list of exactly what is covered under this part of Medicare. Hospital care and nursing home care is covered with Part A. In addition, services from Hospice are covered. Lastly, home health services as well as a skilled nurse facility care are covered.
Medicare Part B
Medicare Part B essentially covers two services. 1. Those that are medically needed and 2. Preventive care. Specifically, these services include ambulance service and durable medical equipment (such as walkers). Care for mental illness is also covered whether inpatient or outpatient. Second opinions are covered if surgery is involved. Certain prescription medications as well as some clinical research is covered under Part B.
If you are suffering from a loss of hearing you don’t need to rely totally on Medicare. There are organizations and programs available to you. Don’t forget to check any supplemental plans you may have purchased. You may very well have coverage.