If you are hard of hearing, a hearing aid is a device that can completely change your life. These devices can dramatically improve your quality of life. Hearing aids make it easier to converse, which can drastically improve your work and social life. They can also improve your cognitive functions. These are just some of the benefits that hearing aids can provide.
Since hearing aids can be such life changing devices, many assume that they are covered by health insurance; however, that is not the case.
Why aren’t assistive hearing devices covered by health insurance? Is there any way that they can be covered? Below, we investigate and answer these questions.
The Type of Hearing Loss Matters
Insurance companies are businesses, and in the end, they are in business to make money. With that said, there are a list of health conditions and medical costs that health insurance companies are mandated to cover at both the state and national level.
For each cost that an insurance company incurs, they have to cut coverage from another area so that they can make money. In a perfect world, more people that insurance companies cover would pay for coverage than would actually use the services that the company provides. And here in lies the issue with hearing aids: a large percentage of Americans suffer from hearing loss. As such, insurance providers do not want to cover the expense of hearing aids simply because so many people would then take advantage of this benefit.
Instead, hearing aids are considered an elective medical cost, not a necessary cost. This means that insurance companies do not end up losing money, but unfortunately, the millions of Americans that do suffer from hearing loss and need hearing aids to improve their quality of life and well being end up losing out.
Are Hearing Aids Covered At All?
The majority of health insurance providers will not cover the cost of hearing aids. But, there are certain situations that will allow for coverage. For example, if hearing loss is considered a birth defect or has suffered a sudden trauma that has resulted in hearing loss, than hearing aids may be covered. However, the most insurance companies do not include hearing benefits. Some do offer a specific amount for reimbursement, which can help to lower the out of pocket expense for those who require hearing aids; but, some companies consider this reimbursement a part of the deductible that those they cover pay.
If you are suffering from hearing loss and require a hearing aid, check with your health care provider to find out if they offer a hearing aid partner. If they do, you would be eligible to receive hearing aids at a reduced rate.
Does State Insurance Cover Hearing Aids?
There are 22 states that have laws that pertain to health insurance companies offering coverage for hearing aids. The majority of these states only offer coverage for children who are suffering from hearing loss. Only four states require coverage for adults, as well. These states include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Arkansas, and New Hampshire.
Sadly, insurance providers do find ways to get around the mandates that are set forth by the states regarding hearing aid coverage. With that said, it’s important to check with your insurance carrier before you purchasing a hearing aid and submit a claim.
How to Get Hearing Aids for Less
While hearing aids can drastically improve your life, the cost can be exorbitant. If you require hearing aids and are looking for a way to get them at a more affordable price, you do have options.
One option is to purchase an insurance policy specifically for hearing aids. These insurance policies will help to cover the cost of hearing aids. The cost of insurance for hearing aids can vary, ranging between about $100 and $400 a year, depending on the insurance provider and the amount of coverage that you have. When considering the cost of hearing aids themselves, the cost of this insurance can certainly be a worthwhile investment.
Another way to save money on hearing aids is to consider writing them off as a tax deduction. Hearing aids may be considered a tax deductible medical expense. If that’s the case, you could end up saving a large amount of money on the cost of your hearing aids. Check with a reputable tax professional to learn more.
The Bottom Line
While hearing aids are certainly a valuable medical device for those who suffer from hearing loss, generally, they aren’t covered by health insurance companies. Fortunately, however, there are ways that you can save on the expense. Speak to your health insurance provider or a tax professional to find out if there is any way that you can save money on your hearing aids.