While some private insurance companies are beginning to cover a portion of hearing aid costs, Medicare and a number of other insurance companies still provide no coverage when it comes to hearing aids. Here are several reasons why:
- Medicare’s stance on hearing aids
Medicare’s refusal to cover the cost of hearing aids dates back to the days when hearing aids were sold door-to-door. Unscrupulous hearing aid salesmen gave the impression that hearing aids were just “snake oil.” While there are still some unscrupulous hearing aid dealers in the industry, this issue has been largely resolved by licensing boards requiring dealers to follow a code of ethics when selling hearing aids. Despite this, Medicare would rather cut costs than add more in the form of hearing aids or non-medical hearing treatment.
- The hearing aid billing structure
For decades, the cost of hearing aids has been bundled with the cost of services that are required to make those hearing aids work properly. This means that when you buy a pair of hearing aids, all of your future care is already paid for. Insurance companies do not operate this way. In other words, they won’t pay for services not yet rendered. While some hearing-care professionals are beginning to separate the cost of devices from the cost of services, insurance companies have been slow to react to this change.
- Why pay for them now?
Hearing aids have gone so many years without insurance coverage, so why would insurance companies start to offer coverage now? Consumers have become so used to the fact that hearing aids are not covered by insurance that it doesn’t usually factor into their consideration when choosing an insurance company. Little incentivizes insurance providers to deviate from the status quo and offer coverage of hearing aids after decades of refusing.
Hearing aid coverage and discount plans are becoming more common in the world of insurance. However, even if you do have coverage, it doesn’t mean that you will get the treatment that is most appropriate for you. For more information how insurance works if you do have coverage, watch this video.
If you are unsure if your insurance plan covers the cost of hearing aids, we can help. We are able to perform a benefits investigation and explain your coverage in an easy-to-understand way.