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Paying for Hearing Aids with Health Insurance

"The average consumer reported receiving $1,257 in coverage per hearing aid from their insurance company."
Hearing Aids Insurance

In 2023, many insurance companies provide partial hearing aid coverage.

The average price of hearing aids is around $2,500 per device. While you can find options for under $1,000, the expense may still burn a hole in your pocket. While insurance coverage is still limited for hearing aids, a recent HearingTracker reader survey revealed that one in four Americans have access to some degree of financial savings through their medical insurer—and that number is higher if you include other forms of financial assistance like workers’ comp and charities.

In this article, we’ll help you figure out whether your insurance might cover hearing aids, and—using the data collected in our reader survey—how much money you stand to save. We’ll also provide a list of discounts and support programs that might help if your insurance company or specific policy does not provide a benefit for hearing aids.

Will insurance cover the cost of hearing aids?

Maybe. This all depends on your insurance policy. Some insurance companies may help cover the cost of hearing aids, while others (including Medicare) offer no assistance whatsoever. Policies are often region-specific, so the only real way to know whether you have coverage is to check your plan coverage details or call your insurance company and ask for details.

Coverage by state

Although almost 20 states mandate insurance coverage of hearing aids for children, there are only six states that mandate coverage for adults. If you live in one of those states, count yourself lucky!

  • Arkansas - $1,400 per hearing aid every 3 years
  • Connecticut - $1,000 every 24 months
  • Illinois - $2,500 per hearing aid every 24 months
  • New Hampshire - $1,500 per aid every 60 months
  • Rhode Island - $700 per aid every 3 years
  • Washington state - $3,000 per aid every 3 years

If you live in one of those states, double-check with your insurance as some plans are exempt from state-mandated hearing aid insurance benefits.

If you don’t live in one of these five states, you may still have some form of coverage. To be sure, please check with your insurance company. For a full list of state coverage rules for adults and kids, see this hearing aid insurance guide.

Hearing aid coverage reader survey

Together with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), HearingTracker recently asked ~2000 hearing aid consumers how much they paid for their hearing aids, and whether their medical insurance helped to cover some or all of the cost. Sadly, our results showed that only 1 in 4 people had help paying for their hearing aids, with fewer than 1 in 20 receiving full coverage from their insurance company.

A silver lining

Our results suggest that more people than ever are receiving help from their medical insurers. Data gathered in 2008 showed that only 13% received help from their medical insurance (or HMO) when paying for hearing aids; Hearing Tracker’s survey suggests 25% are now receiving some level of coverage. If our numbers are correct, this would indicate a doubling of the number of insured in the past decade.

How much of the cost is covered?

In our survey we asked participants “How much of the cost of your hearing aids did your insurance cover (in US dollars)?” The average consumer (with some form of insurance coverage) reported receiving $1,257 in coverage per hearing aid from their insurance company. Those with full coverage predictably reported greater numbers than did those with partial coverage:

Common Forms of Insurance Coverage for Hearing Aids

Although, as we detail below, Medicare expressly excludes hearing aids from its healthcare coverage, there are several other government and private insurance programs that do provide support for some individuals.

Medicare

Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids or fees related to the fitting of hearing aids. However, Medicare Part B covers up to 80% of diagnostic hearing and balance exams if ordered by a doctor or other health care provider, and after you meet the Part B deductible. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (aka, Part C), it might include coverage for hearing aids and hearing-related exams and services, so check with your insurance provider.

Legislators have made several attempts to include hearing aid benefits in Medicare, the most recent being in 2021. In the event Medicare eventually does provide hearing aid coverage, it will most likely be similar to a Medicare Advantage Plan, available to “individuals diagnosed with moderately severe, severe, or profound hearing loss.”

Note that, in certain cases, hearing aids can be used as an itemized deduction and Medicare premiums can be tax deductible depending on who is paying, who is covered, and if your medical expenses exceed a certain amount (currently 7.5%) of your gross adjusted income for the year. Check with your accountant or a tax consultant for details.

Medicaid

Medicaid coverage of hearing aids for eligible adults varies by state. Many states cover hearing exams, diagnostic testing, hearing therapy, hearing aids, hearing aid fitting, hearing item repairs, and more, though limitations may apply. Since reimbursement rates are low, you might not have access to the highest technology level. HLAA has compiled a detailed overview of Medicaid coverage.

Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans enrolled in Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare qualify for diagnostic audiology and clinically-justified hearing aids. Hearing aids, repairs, and batteries will remain free of charge for the duration of your VA healthcare eligibility. Before scheduling an appointment for an evaluation of your hearing, you must register with a VA Medical Center of your choice.

TRICARE

As an active duty service member with TRICARE insurance, you and your family enjoy coverage of hearing aid services and hearing aids for profound hearing loss.

Retired service members and their families don’t qualify for coverage under TRICARE, but may have access to the retiree-at-cost hearing aid program (RACHAP).

Workers’ Compensation

If your hearing loss is a direct result of your job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. Coverage varies by state and some employers are exempt from having to register for this insurance. For those who qualify, workers’ compensation will cover medical costs for hearing loss, including hearing aids, services, and accessories.

Keep in mind that you have to file a claim soon after the hearing loss occurred and before you purchase hearing aids. Your employer should provide you with the paperwork needed to file a claim with the state. Alternatively, you can consult your state’s workers’ compensation officials.

Commercial or private insurance

Insurance provided by your employer or retiree benefits may include coverage for hearing aids. Typically, you need to meet a deductible, contribute a co-pay, and cover costs that exceed the maximum amount of your plan’s benefits. If you have a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan, you have access to out-of-network benefits, meaning you can choose a hearing health provider outside of your insurance’s network. For details, call your insurance provider.

Note that some insurances, including BlueCross BlueShield, Humana, and VSP, work with third-party administrators (TPAs) like TruHearing to provide discounted hearing healthcare benefits. Your insurance will let you know if that’s the case.

How much do insurance companies typically pay?

We found most of the major hearing aid companies to be in the same ballpark with coverage somewhere around $1000 per hearing aid. Please remember that the dollar figures below represent recollections and guesses of hearing aid consumers, and may not accurately depict differences among companies. Again, please check with your own insurance company to see what is covered by your specific policy!

Insurance Company Coverage per hearing aid # of responses
BCBS* Association $1,205.27 134
UnitedHealth Group $1,363.64 97
Anthem BCBS* $1,408.72 54
Aetna $1,160.29 37
Cigna $1,231.62 23
Kaiser Permanente $1,004.05 16
Humana $821.88 9
Other $1,305.09 136

*BlueCross and BlueShield

Many insurance plans offer specific hearing care coverage. Here’s an overview of some select plans.

Aetna

Most Aetna benefit plans exclude coverage of hearing aids, according to the company, although you should consult your plan brochure for details. For plans that do not exclude hearing aids, either OTC and prescription hearing aids are eligible for coverage if they are cleared by the FDA and prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider and criteria for medical necessity are met.

Some of Aetna's Medicare Advantage Plans provide coverage through the NationsHearing program from $750 up to $1,500, but the coverage varies significantly between plans so you'll need to read your policy carefully or discuss it with an Aetna representative.

Some other Aetna plans also exist, like the Mail Handlers Benefit Plan (MHBP), which is a comprehensive program but requires prior authorization before purchasing hearing aids. Other federal employees may benefit from Aetna's discount program with Amplifon. Again, you'll need to read through your policy or contact Aetna for details (1-855-522-1453).

BlueCross BlueShield

BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) is one of the most ubiquitous health insurance plans in the U.S., and many of its plans do provide for hearing examination and hearing aid fitting coverage.

BCBS State Health Plan and Medicare's Federal Employee Program (FEP) Blue Focus provide hearing aid coverage through TruHearing, covering up to the BCBS maximum.

Medicare Advantage plans from BCBS often include hearing aid coverage. For example, the PlusBlue plan provides a free hearing evaluation, coverage of $500 to $2500 per ear (depending on your specific plan), and hearing aid checks.

Blue365 members can save 30% to 60% on hearing aids with TruHearing. You can combine this deal with the hearing aid allowance in your insurance coverage. BCBS claims its member save an average of $1,250 per hearing aid.

There are also an array of BCBS employer plans and many of these are comprehensive, covering 100% of exams and hearing aids, but only if you use a participating hearing provider.

However, many BCBS individual and family plans don't include hearing aid coverage. You'll need to read through your policy or contact a BCBS representative for your individual situation.

CareFirst

CareFirst members may qualify for partial hearing aid coverage of up to $1,000 or more.

The following plans may offer this benefit:

  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield PPO
  • CareFirest HDHP
  • BlueChoice HMO

As an example, Johns Hopkins University supplies this sample medical plan coverage comparison chart for faculty and staff. Contact CareFirst to verify your individual coverage.

Cigna

Cigna’s coverage for hearing aid devices varies across plans, ranging from $500 per ear with no test co-pays to no coverage at all. Cigna has a partnership with Amplifon Hearing Healthcare and may offer discounts on hearing aids through Amplifon or Miracle Ear. However, you’ll need to refer to the benefit plan document for specific coverage details.

Cigna HealthSpring is a popular Medicare Advantage plan that covers hearing aids up to $700/ear every 3 years and doesn't have a copay for hearing evaluations or fittings.

Other popular plans include the Cignia Dental Vision Hearing 3500, a comprehensive plan with coverage for hearing exams up to $50 and hearing aids up to $700, and no deductible. The Cigna Flexible Choice plan can save you up to $500 per year on hearing aids, exams, and repairs but does have a 1-year waiting period before you can access the benefits. Cignia Connect and SureFit don't cover hearing aids, but do provide discounts through Amplifon, and the latter plan includes preventive care and wellness programs.

To find out more about your specific Cigna coverage you can chat live online or call (800) 997-1654.

Delta Dental and EyeMed

Both of these insurance plans may give you access to hearing aids through Amplifon. This hearing aid discount network provides average savings of up to 64% on leading brands. You can check your benefit with Amplifon or your insurance provider.

Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB)

If you’re enrolled in the FEHB program, your benefits may include coverage for hearing aids. Check your plan brochure for details.

Government Employees Health Association (GEHA)

This insurance provider for federal employees, federal retirees, military retirees, and their families offers low out-of-pocket costs on hearing aids. GEHA members have access to Connection Hearing, TruHearing’s hearing aid discount program, which offers a 30% to 60% discount on hearing aids. Depending on your plan, GEHA pays up to $2,500 per hearing aid pair, meaning some hearing aids will be free of charge to you.

Humana

Since 2017, Humana has offered hearing aids through TruHearing in select states and plans for a copay. Other members can access coverage through alternative companies but typically have a limited hearing aid allowance rather than a fixed copay.

Kaiser Permanente

Some individual and employer-sponsored Kaiser Permanente plans include hearing aid coverage. If you can add the Kaiser Advantage Plus program to your plan, an additional monthly premium will give you access to added benefits, including hearing. Availability and type of coverage varies by location.

UnitedHealthcare

Many UnitedHealthcare plans cover hearing aids through its UnitedHealthcare Hearing program. Its Right2You virtual care and direct delivery program offer Relate and Phonak hearing aids, and its in-person care coverage offer Relate and industry-leading brands. If your plan covers hearing aids, you may receive a discount of 50-80% on the device itself, with the discount depending on your policy and the hearing aid brand.

Find out if your insurance covers hearing aids

Before you call your insurance to check your coverage, have your insurance plan name, policy number or health plan ID, and your member ID ready. Then address the following points:

  1. Your health plan benefits for hearing aids.
  2. Criteria for coverage: This may include degree of hearing loss or types of hearing aids.
  3. Hearing aid models and technology levels available to you.
  4. Use of out-of-network providers: You might only have access to in-network providers. In that case, ask for a list of providers in your area.
  5. Payment and billing options: Ideally, your provider will bill your insurance directly, but you may have to pay upfront and get reimbursed.

Financing and other options for obtaining hearing aids

HearingTracker offers a comprehensive overview of the ways you can fund or cut costs on hearing aids in our Guide to Paying for Hearing Aids which covers all of the below in more detail.

One often-overlooked option for obtaining hearing aids is by financing your purchase. This can include:

  • A healthcare credit card from a company like CareCredit can help pay for hearing aids and other health-related products and services
  • Credit cards from your bank allow you to pay off purchases over time, sometimes with extended periods of zero interest
  • Buy now, pay later loan apps that offer installment-plan payments over time can be used to purchase hearing aids

Other potential ways to help pay for or defray the cost of your hearings aids:

  • The VA and TRICARE provide hearing aids for eligible service members, veterans, and family members
  • Local hearing aid clinics can be helpful for referring you to a place where you can get financial assistance for hearing help
  • Medicaid and government agencies and programs can help low-income individuals obtain hearing aids
  • Charities and local chapters of organizations like the Lion's Club, Elks Club, and Kiwanis may provide hearing aids or sponsoring refurbished "hearing aid banks."
  • Over-the-counter hearing aids are now available for $300-$1500
  • Big box stores like Costco and Sam's Club offer professionally dispensed hearing aids at substantial discounts
  • Subscription hearing aids allow you to obtain hearing aids with monthly payments
  • Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) save money by using pre-tax dollars to pay for your hearing aids and other health expenses
Abram Bailey Aud

Founder and President

Dr. Bailey is a leading expert on consumer technology in the audiology industry. He is a staunch advocate for patient-centered hearing care and audiological best practices, and welcomes any technological innovation that improves access to quality hearing outcomes. Dr. Bailey holds an Au.D. from Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Discussion
Member

Coventry (Aetna) claims to cover $500/ear but in fact requires us of a specific provider which anyone can use and whose prices are matched by at least two other discount providers via the internet. Coventry (Aetna) representative claims there is no form available to claim the benifit if you use a different provider.  

Member
Coventry  ---  1-800-533-0367 
Quinton S

What that is a provider of Hearing Aids going to the insurance company and giving them a "discount".  You will not see the discount in your pocket.

So, they charge you $4,500 for a pair of hearing aids.. "discount" of $1,000 and you end up paying $3,500..  the insurance company does not put out any money at all.

Truhearing is one of those programs and they have really cheap quality HA.  A lot of states are using their service because it is NO money out for them.

It is really sad when you can find much better hearing aids at some affordable hearing store or via internet.

BG g

I believe Humana insurance in some states offers ? a co payment starting at $699 per Hearing aid thru True Hearing Aid

So that means you have to pay a minimun of $1,400 to True Hearing  for a pair of Hearing aids and I have no idea what quality the aids are

Member

The $699 TruHearing aid through Humana is the same as the Signia NX 5, you can also get it in the slim-ric form factor which is similar to the Signia Styletto. Pretty sure the $999 is the Signia NX 7. They just white label branded aids for their private label line. The NX 7 is the Signia flagship, so generally very good aids. 

I think Costco's private label was on the same platform sometime in the last 3 years. 

Only knock on the private labels is their app is a reskin of the regular app, there may be some lost features in the cross-over. Can't speak to other

Abram Bailey, AuD

We recently published an article all about TruHearing, including what brands and models they work with. Check it out.

Member
Oxford health (united health care) covers $5,000 for HA every 3 years (New York)
Hugh B
Federal Government health plans (e.g., BCBS, GEHA) offer up to $2500 per pair every three years.  GEHA used to be $2000, but they recently raised it to $2500.  I suspect that the other Fed health plans offer similar amounts, but I do not know that for sure.
PAUL O
Our Cigna says no nothing for them!
PAUL O

Durable medical equipment is any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living. It is a benefit included in most insurances. ... Hearing Aids would be considered "Durable Medical Equipment but...most insurance companies, nor medicare covers hearing aids.

Member
Tufts Medicare Supplemental will pay a percentage but I don't know the details.
Member
Better watch if you have United Health Care/AARP. i bought the widex in march 2017, and the audioligist that charged me $3800 for the widex 220, dropped UHC/AArp on Dec 31st 2017,said she made more selling direct to public than thru insurance. I talked to a rep that is consider a middleman ,told me that what i got he could have sold them to me for $1250 and the graph you get when you have your hearing test is like a prescription,that i would have probably have to pay $250 for hearing test and send him the graph and he could have programmed them, or if i wanted the the hardware and software he could sell it to me for $375, and i could program them myself after i put app on my laptop.For those that dont know, they passed a bill in congress, starting in 2020 you can buy your hearing aids over the counter and program them yourself, after all when you are in the audiologist office and you don't know their voice and they make a change in programming, they ask "How does that sound", i say i don't know you, how you are suppose to sound.Long story short, now after paying $3800 for my aids, i still cant hear the birds or crickets, nor anyone talking to me in a noisy room and them 6 foot away and the audiologist i used wants $500 if i come back to reprogram them because she dropped UHC  
Member

Hi. I did the calculations with my Medicare Advantage program (a low-cost one) and Costco still came out ahead.

I'm curious, would Medicare insurance pay for used or demo HA's that my private audi would have?

Thanks
Member

I wanted to share my experience with insurance companies trying to AVOID paying even when the benefit is clear.


I have purchased three sets of hearing aids through insurance in 2012 (Cigna), 2015 (Aetna), and 2018 (Aetna). Each time the allowance was $2500 per ear every three years, and I had met my out of pocket maximum. Cigna repeatedly rejected the claim, claiming that my audiologist was out of network when she was not. It took months of appeals until they finally covered it only when I got someone from my husband's company to intervene. In 2015, Aetna covered approximately half the cost of the hearing aids, claiming that the cost was too high, which is absurd considering I was supposed to have $2500 per ear. I appealed twice and they finally covered the cost only when HR got involved. Then 18 months later, they audited the claim and asked for their money BACK. Again, HR got involved and it was settled. This time around, Aetna rejected the claim saying the audiologist was out of network. When I called, they resubmitted it, then covered about $250 per hearing aid. Again, HR got involved and the claim was reprocessed correctly. My point is, it's important to know that just because insurance offers the benefit, doesn't mean they honor it. I had to FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT each time and document EVERYTHING. I am lucky that my husband's company is large enough to have some clout, but it's really transparent that insurance is doing everything they can to avoid paying. 

Member
I have BCBS and they cover nothing.  I even have the top plan my company offers and still offer nothing for me. 
Member
So how can we turn this situation around? It is clear that hearing loss is a disability and should be treated as so by our insurance companies, including Medicare.  It is proven that without hearing aids there is a high rate of increased dementia for hearing impaired persons.
Member

It is such a disability!  Try dealing with hospitals, doctors and nurses, for two sick family members with one of your hearing aids out of commission! Very stressful and costly, to add insult to injury,  When a hearing aid is out of warranty  I must pay a $300 charge to repair it, including only a six month warranty. Those of us who suffer severe hearing loss are subjected to high costs to be able to function, when glasses, and other, sometimes questionable, disabilities are completely covered, often by the government.

I would love to upgrade to a high tech blue tooth model, but would be extremely expensive.

Emma W
check into the Starkey Hearing Foundation and also Vocational Rehab (if you have a job) 
Member
Starkey hearing aids are extremely expensive and have few places you can go for service or support.  Their main headquarters was of no assistance.  I would stay away from this product.    
Member

I have had the Starkey in the canal aids for 4 years. It was the only brand the audiologist sold. Very expensive because each thing was extra, such as hating in crowded places, or listening to music, etc. I have not been happy with them. I am due for new aids. I’ve looked at the “deals” but I don’t know what “private paid customers only” means.

Member

Reading all of the comments as I go on a “search” for hearing aids. Was recently tested and need two :( Am on a fixed income and while I will be price shopping, I don’t want to shortchange myself either. Any specific questions I need to ask? Is Costco a reliable resource?

Thanks for your input. Think I’m still in price sticker shock!

Member

I have United Health Medicare PPO in Florida.  They contract with Epic Hearing.  Per my benefit description my copayment is "$400-$2025 copayment for each hearing aid device."


Clearly the higher copay is for the better devices.  I called Epic they do in fact cover Signia Silk Nx and Phonak Virto B .


So with a $2,025 copay i am looking at $4050 for 2 aids.


Where is my savings??  I can get same devices for same or lower prices locally. in fact Hearing Tracker currently advertises  Signia Silk NX7 for $3,990 including real ear measuremet by Aud. and 3 years of follow up visits.along with 3 yr warranty.


Similar advertisement for the Virto B, right at 4K.


The audiology practice advertised is 20 minutes from my home !!


I just see no point of using my insurance.

Member

In November of 2018, I turned 65 years old and called my health insurance company, Gateway Health. They now cover me for $1,500 for two hearing aids every two years. I've been looking to find hearing aids that accommodate that coverage, but keep finding only the expensive pairs that accept insurance...the cheaper ones don't.

It seems to me that the hearing aid providers have decided that I should pay something to them out of my pocket to alleviate my hearing loss. Why?

CuriousC

My Audiologist is offering a lease program for hearing aids. Not sure how this coordinates with my insurance benefits through BCBS Federal. The Dr. was kind of sketchy about it, it had me concerned, I don't want to end up not being able to use my $2500 benefit. BCBS person sounded vague and not sure if leasing was covered, put me on hold to research it, said something about hearing aids being "durable medical equipment"-??? and only covers rental or purchase of that equipment, not leasing. I didn't know aids were durable medical equipment. I thought DME was things like wheel chairs or rental of hospital beds, etc. Any one know? 

BG g

Will your isurance company just give you the $2,500 if you buy a pair of Hearin Aids at Costco that cost $2,500  (I think several braands do cost that at Costco)

Or call Costco and ask the about your insurance  or ask  them if any of their customers have your insurance and how the customer can get reimbursement

I think  Costco has some conveluted insurance reimbursement system that I do not understand

Ask Costco to explain   what they know about  your insurance re inbursment and then tell us on this blog

Also call your insurance company and tell  them you do not fully understand their reimbursment policy and tell them you want to buy your Hearing Aids at Costco and can you do it on your Plan??

Member

I was told Costco does not accept insurance.

Member

Illinois only mandates hearing aids for persons 18 and under.

Abram Bailey, AuD

According to ASHA website: House Bill 3503 requires “coverage for hearing instruments and related services for all individuals 65 years of age and older when a hearing care professional prescribes a hearing instrument.”

RRR

My husband recently got his hearing aids and my insurance covers $3,000 per ear. He made sure he did not pick one that would go over the amount. Then the medical clinic coded the Bluetooth hearing aid under one code which was covered but then coded the charging dock under a different code and insurance will not cover it as the code the clinic used was for an added accessory. This is complete double dipping on the part of the clinic as these charging docks come with the hearing aids themselves and they would not work without them. I am fighting having to pay the $400 they are charging us (yes, it isn't a lot but it is the principal of it that bothers us). No one will call me back or reply to my concerns, they just threaten me with collections. These hearing aids do not have removeable batteries therefore the only way they work is when they are put into the charging dock. I have called several hearing aid mfg. and they all say the charging docks are part of the unit. My insurance even said that they would cover it if the clinic would just code it correctly but the clinic refuses. Any suggestions on how to deal with this clinic?

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