Depending on her household income, she may qualify for Starkey's Hear Now program. She can contact the program directly to obtain an application at 1-800-648-4327, or she can call them and ask for a referral to a local provider who would help facilitate the application and provide testing, dispensing, and follow up care. Another option would be to seek out funding through an organization known to provide financial support to individuals in need. One program is the Scholarship for the Hearing Impaired which is supported by the Traveler's Protective Association of America. They review applications and grant approvals on a quarterly basis, so the next round of applications is currently being accepted for Fall approval and are due September 30th. If approved, the funds are sent directly to the individual, to be used at a provider of your choice. An application can be downloaded at http://www.tpahq.org/scholarshiptrust/apply/. Lastly, seek out a local organization, who provides services at a reduced fee or on a sliding scale for low-income individuals.
As some have mentioned already, there are programs available, depending on the location (Lions Club), state (Medicaid), and need based (sliding scales). HearNOW through Starkey is another option, which I already see mentioned. Depending on what your mother's needs are, there may be alternative options to hearing aids: assistive listening devices, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs), and even apps for use on a smartphone/iPad.
There are quality, value hearing aids (retail for $249.00, plus ear coupling, and fitting fees) that could be available, depending on your mother's needs and hearing acuity. Along those same lines, providers who "itemize" or "unbundle" their services may also be a good option, since your mother won't be required to pay for warranties, services, appointments for the next 1-3-5-lifetime of the hearing aid years "up-front." [Think of this as an a la carte option, pay for what you need, as you need them. For new hearing aids, you pay for the devices, and the services for fitting the hearing aids... not more.]
Alternative paymens may also be helpful, as I see CareCredit is mentioned. Many providers work with a third-party to offer financing for a fixed time period, some at 0% interest to you, if paid-in-full during the agreed-upon timeframe.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover or pay for hearing aids. There are, however, many resources available that might be able to help your mom. The following are national associations. Qualification depends on income and financial resources available.
Sertoma, Miracle Ear, Easter Seals, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Hearing Loss Association of America, Better Hearing Institute, International Lions Club
In addition, there may be local associations and organizations to apply for assistance such as the local Lion's Clubs.
In Illinois, I have a charitable organization, The Fisher Foundation for Hearing Health Care, that provides hearing aids for anyone in need. We recently gave hearing aids to two children with brain cancer, a college student and several adults who could not afford hearing help.
There may be private foundations/organizations in your area that can provide assistance.
Before stating that Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids, it is important to know which state your mother lives in. Historically Medicare did not cover hearing aids, but I have worked in Washington state and in Washington state, Medicare is currently offering their own private line of hearing aids at discounted prices and they have partnered with Medicare Supplemental Insurance Companies to also offer discount pricing to those who qualify. This is a pilot program and is not available everywhere. I would recommend that you contact her Medicare Insurance provider and ask them directly if there are any hearing aid benefits or hearing aid "discount" programs associated with her insurance plan in your state.
What is her budget? What is her current audiogram and what are her current hearing needs will help answer what would be the most affordable pair of new and/or re-furbished hearing devices for her. A properfly fitted hearing aid may cost around $1000 at least in my opinion. Zero pecent Finance plans help with the upfront financial burden. If your mother has supplemental insurace, please check if any hearing benefit is available through the supplimental insurace other than Medicare.
As others have mentioned, Medicare does not cover hearing aids. Some organizations may offer financial support. Starkey's Hear Now program is an excellent option for those under a certain income level. If she does not qualify because her income is too high but she stills requires financial assistance, Epic Hearing's Audient program is also a possibility.
Depending upon where your mother lives Medicare may or may not offer hearing aid options. Today there are many affordable options for your mother to consider and most of them are available directly through your local hearing care providers. Most hearing care providers participate in Care Credit which would allow your mother payment options with or without interest for periods of time, including short-term no interest options. Dealing directly through the local hearing care professionals will give you and your mother the most choice of products, features and services; and they may be able to offer you special discounts and payment arrangements specific to their practices. One example of this is the 45% discount on the price of hearing aids offered by Connect Hearing for being a AAA member. There are many discount options available directly through hearing care providers, insurance companies, discount internet companies and big box warehouses. Some of the options I just mentioned may restrict your choices of products and services or your mother's ability to get service if for example she moved. There may or may not be a network partner available and she may or may not care for the provider, but her options may be limited. I would encourage you to do some homework and meet with local hearing care professionals so you have an idea of what you may be gaining or giving up if you are leaning towards an alternative discount company. Even though these discount companies may partner with local providers it is important for you and your mother to understand that you may be charged for services like clean and checks and programming adjustments after a specified period of time, that that local provider would have offered to you for free for years to come. Sometimes, you may save money up front, but end up paying for other services down the road that your mother may already be used to getting for free.
There are a few need-based programs such as Starkey's Hear Now program and Lion's Club. Lion's Club options vary by location. Our local Lion's Club offers only one refurbished hearing aid that has been donated by another user. Starkey's Hear Now program has new hearing aids at a set price and you must see a designated Hear Now provider. Some clinics will offer financing or loan options. Many clinics now offer a lower cost option, as well. You might also find better deals at a university clinic. The best way to identify your options is to find a reliable audiologist around where your mother lives. Ask around to find a good clinic that people trust.
Go to a local, private audiologist, and ask your question. There are low cost options now that weren't available 14 years ago. They can also direct you to state programs that may provide assistance. For instance, in North Carolina there is a program that may provide one hearing aid for low income people with hearing loss. Only a local person will have this information. Best wishes in your search.
There are a few organizations that offer "needs based" programs. If she has no ability to pay, she can make application to Starkey's Hearing Foundation or in some communities, the Lions Club offers a hearing aid program. There are state agencies that also can help with low interest loans or rehabilitative programs (if employment is hindered by hearing loss). It's unfortunate but Medicare will not cover aids unless a supplemental policy may have hearing aid benefits. Some state's offer a Medicaid program that may have a limited hearing aid benefit.
Most states provide hearing aids through their Medical Assistance program. If she qualifies for this she could utilize it. Or, Starkey has their HearNow program that can provide hearing aids for her. It is a program meant for those patients with little or no money and she would have to qualify for it, much like state medicaid programs. To qualify for these programs she would have to prove she has virtually no assets or little monthly means of support. The filled out forms would be checked to verify.
Hearing aids are not provided through Medicare.
Unfortunately as you have found out Medicare does not pay for hearing aids, however there are options. Your mother could sign up for Care Credit, which will allow her to payoff her hearing aids over time and in some cases she may receive interest free for a period of time. Also, you can check with several audiologists in your area for what they offer their patients who are price sensitive, but need and want hearing healthcare. With the upgrades in technology many of the manufactures are now producing very "sound" (excuse the pun) basic level heairng aids to premium products to ensure all individuals needing hearing healthcare have options and access.
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