How to Pay for Hearing Aids
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If you’ve been diagnosed with hearing loss and require hearing aids, then you’ve probably shopped around and found the cost of hearing aids is higher than expected. Recent technological improvements render some brands more expensive than others, but financial assistance for hearing aids can help alleviate some of the costs.
Below, we’ve listed nine ways to pay for a hearing aid.
Ways to Pay for Hearing Aids
First, review your insurance status and determine what coverage, if any, is available. Then, locate community-specific resources to compare discount programs and get financial aid.
Unfortunately, hearing aids are typically not covered by health insurance. However, depending on the type of insurance you have, it may partially cover the cost. Some private insurance plans will cover aspects such as hearing exams or offer discounted prices on hearing aids, while others may provide a separate hearing aid benefit.
If you are unsure what’s covered under your insurance plan, it’s best to discuss hearing aid coverage directly with a customer care representative at your insurance company.
Medicare will not cover the cost of hearing aids but may cover adjacent services. If you’re covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) and decide to get your hearing checked or buy a hearing aid on your own, you’ll pay 100% of the cost of routine hearing exams and hearing aids.
However, if your physician or healthcare provider orders a diagnostic hearing exam and believes you have a medical condition that requires treatment, Medicare Part B may cover 80% of the cost of exams and tests. Unfortunately, hearing aids are not covered under any circumstances.
Stay tuned: In January 2023, U.S. representatives reintroduced to Congress H.R. 244, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act. If the bill passes, it would remove a Medicare restriction on hearing aid coverage and make it easier for seniors to afford hearing aids.
3. Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage may cover the cost of your hearing aid, but it will depend on your plan type. Your Medicare Advantage plan may also cover diagnostic hearing and balance tests deemed medically necessary.
But not all Medicare Advantage plans (HMOs and PPOs) cover hearing aids and routine hearing care, so study the coverage details carefully. For the best savings, use an in-network physician or audiologist to lower out-of-pocket costs. And remember—copays, coinsurance, and yearly limits may apply.
Keep in mind: A Medicare Advantage plan usually requires a separate monthly premium in addition to your Part B monthly premium.
4. VA Benefits
If your hearing loss is connected to your military service, or due to a medical condition treated at a VA hospital, you may be able to obtain hearing aids and batteries through the Veterans Administration. The VA provides hearing services to veterans who meet one or more of the following requirements:
- A veteran with any service-connected disability.
- A permanently housebound veteran who requires regular aid and attendance, and who qualifies for an increased pension.
- Purple Heart recipients.
- Former Prisoners of War.
- A veteran with a hearing impairment resulting from a disease or other medical condition for which they are receiving care or disability services from the VA.
- A veteran with significant functional or cognitive impairment that affects activities of daily living.
- A veteran with a hearing impairment severe enough that it interferes with his ability to participate in his medical treatment actively.
For coverage, you’ll need to register with the VA before you can receive hearing aids. You can register three ways: in person at a VA Medical facility, by mailing a completed and signed Form 10-10EZ to a VA Medical Center, or online.
Once registered, you can make an appointment with an audiologist at a VA clinic or medical center. Full hearing aid coverage will remain active as long as you maintain your VA eligibility for care.
- Sertoma is a service organization that provides a list of organizations, by state, that help disadvantaged individuals obtain hearing aids. Sertoma’s non-profit program, SHARP (Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling Program) is funded by Sertoma civic clubs located nationwide. SHARP accepts hearing aid donations and recycles the devices to provide hearing aids to low-income individuals. A one-time fee is required.
- The National Hearing Aid Project by Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) is a collaborative effort to provide hearing aids to low-income individuals nationwide.
The project combines several organizations across the U.S. to fulfill the need for hearing aids. HCOA works with the University of Kansas to refurbish and track all hearing aids used in the program. After you complete the application process and are accepted into the program, you will receive hearing aids, including fittings, follow-up evaluations, and other services.
- Help America Hear provides new hearing aids to those in the most dire financial need. The program is only eligible for those with limited income who have exhausted any other means of paying for their hearing aids.
6. Discount/Assistance Programs
- Hear Now is an application-based program sponsored by the Starkey Hearing Foundation. This program provides hearing assistance to Americans with limited income. Hear Now fits each accepted patient with new, digital hearing aids customized to their needs. Hear Now is made possible through the generous donation of time and services of audiologists and health professionals nationwide.
- Founded by Miracle-Ear, the Miracle-Ear Foundation and its Gift of Sound program provide free hearing aids to those who meet eligibility requirements. Along with the hearing aids, recipients are also covered for needed after-care such as follow-up appointments and repairs.
- Local and community-based programs: If you have a local Lions Club, Aging and Disability Resource Center, or Kiwanis Club, ask about acquiring hearing aids or accessing hearing services near you.
Many hearing aid companies offer financing directly. These allow consumers to buy a new hearing aid and pay over time, often at low or 0% interest rates. A few of the companies that offer a financing option include:
- Eargo: 12 or 24-month financing with 0% APR. They also have no prepayment penalties.
- Audicus: Offers flexible payment plans through Care Credit or Allegro. Care Credit offers payment plans with 0% interest for 12 months. Allegro offers payment plans for those who may not be in good credit standing.
- Lexie: Offers a subscription-based payment plan that requires automatic monthly payments.
8. FSA and HSA Savings Plans
Contributions to most Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) cover hearing aids and hearing aid batteries. An FSA enables you to set aside pre-tax dollars used to pay medical expenses not covered by your insurance plan, but if you don’t use your account balance over the year, you forfeit the funds. An FSA is not an option if you are retired since employers offer these plans as a benefit.
Contributions to all Health Savings Accounts (HSA) cover hearing aids and hearing aid batteries. An HSA works similar to a savings account, allowing you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for medical expenses such as copays, deductibles, and coinsurance, and your account balance rolls over year after year. You use an HSA alongside a high-deductible health plan to lower out-of-pocket costs. HSA funds usually roll over to the next year.
See IRS Publication 502 for details on acceptable hearing aids or other medical expenses you can pay using an FSA or HSA.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost?
The average cost of a pair of hearing aids ranges from roughly $2,000 to $7,000. Note that over-the-counter hearing aids, which were recently approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), are more cost-effective than buying through your audiologist or doctor’s office.
The cost of hearing aids will vary widely depending on the manufacturer, the type/style of hearing aid, and any additional integrated technology or features. Additionally, some brands price hearing devices “per ear.” If you need a hearing aid for both ears, you may pay more than what’s advertised.
Ultimately, paying for hearing aids may involve a combination of payment options. If you have insurance, Medicare, or VA benefits, and a hearing aid is deemed medically necessary, you will likely have some portion of the cost covered. If you have a limited income, there may be a non-profit or community organization that can help. If those options are unavailable, then financing or discount programs are often the best payment solution.
For help choosing your hearing aid, read our article on the best hearing aids of 2023.