In most states, insurance providers are not required to cover hearing aids as part of hearing health care for adults. Five states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—have mandated coverage, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.5
To learn more about whether your insurance company covers hearing aids, read our article on whether hearing aids are covered by insurance to review the practices of some of the most popular health insurance companies, or contact your insurance company and ask them directly.
Hearing aids through Medicare
Medicare Parts A and B do not cover the cost of hearing aids or fitting exams,6 but Medicare Part B does cover hearing and balance exams ordered by a doctor, as well as an annual audiology appointment to check on hearing loss over the years.7 Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, may provide hearing benefits, but it depends on your plan.8
Murray explained many Medicare Advantage plans will have discounted rates through third-party vendors that partner with certain providers. The patient will ultimately purchase the hearing aids from the approved vendor, the devices will be sent to the participating provider, and the provider will be paid a “fitting fee” to fit the devices to the patient. Typically a certain amount of visits are included with the purchase, said Murray, with the patient paying out of pocket for subsequent visits and services.
For more detail, read our article on whether Medicare covers hearing aids to learn more about potential coverage for hearing aids, and use our Age Well Planner to connect with a broker who can explain your options.
Hearing aids through Medicaid
Medicaid coverage for hearing aids for adults varies by state and by plan, and specific coverage details can vary as well, Reed said. Again, ask about long-term coverage and any possible out-of-pocket costs you would be responsible for before you make the commitment.
“Those with Medicare and Medicaid can also sign up with insurance companies like United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield and typically get hearing aids covered at no out-of-pocket cost,” said Murray. “This coverage can vary state by state and the technology level of the hearing aids covered can vary county by county.”
To find out if your state covers hearing aids for older adults through Medicaid, check the coverage for adults section of the HLAA directory.9
Hearing aids through TRICARE
If you’re an active duty military service member and you or an immediate family member have been diagnosed with hearing loss, you may be eligible to receive hearing aids through a TRICARE-approved provider.10 To learn more, visit the TRICARE hearing aids page.
Hearing aids with unknown insurance status or without insurance
Many people don’t know their insurance status—or don’t know they’re covered by Medicaid because their insurance card does not clearly state that they are, said Kelley. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
If you do not know your insurance status or the name of your health care provider, call the number on your insurance card for customer service, or visit Healthcare.gov and complete the screening process for more information.