October 6, 2016

Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, doesn’t cover most types of hearing care, including routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams to get fitted for hearing aids. If you need a hearing aid, you may have to pay the full cost out-of-pocket. Unfortunately, hearing devices can be extremely expensive, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Although Original Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aids, you may have other ways to get help with the costs associated with hearing aids.

Medicare Advantage coverage of hearing aids

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage beyond Original Medicare, which may include hearing benefits. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by Medicare-approved private insurance companies and are required to provide the same coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B (with the exception of hospice care, which is covered under Part A). If you have Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the Medicare Advantage plan’s service area, you may be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that offers coverage. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your plan by calling Customer Service or look in your Evidence of Coverage to see if hearing aids are covered benefits. If you are not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, or if your plan does not offer hearing aid benefits, you may want to check to see if other Medicare Advantage plans are offered where you live and if they provide a hearing aid benefit. You may be able to change to a Medicare Advantage plan that offers this benefit if you desire during your next Annual Election Period (also called Fall Open Enrollment Period).

Help with hearing-aid costs

Veterans benefits may cover hearing aids for veterans who have hearing loss because of a service-related injury. You may need to meet additional criteria to qualify for coverage. For more information and to see if you qualify, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Some Medicaid programs may cover hearing aids. Note that Medicaid is not the same program as Medicare. Because Medicaid is run at the state level, each state may have additional eligibility criteria and coverage limits. If you’re eligible for Medicaid, contact your state’s Medicaid department to see if your state covers this benefit.

Some states or local assistance organizations may provide free or reduced-cost hearing aids for people with certain income levels. There are also loan programs available where hearing aids can be borrowed on a temporary basis. For more information on state or local resources in your area, visit HearingLoss.org.