Paying for Hearing Aids With Health Insurance

Insurance coverage is available for some consumers

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 five states that mandate coverage for adults. If you live in one of those states, count yourself lucky!

  • Arkansas - $1,400 per 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 - $800 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.”

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.

BlueCross BlueShield

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.

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. You’ll need to refer to the benefit plan document for coverage details.

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.

Discounts, charities, and state programs

When you don’t have access to insurance coverage to address your hearing loss, look into the following programs:

  • AARP Hearing Care Program: This interest group, formerly for retired people, offers a hearing care program provided by HearUSA. AARP members have access to a 20% discount on digital hearing aids, extended warranty, free batteries, and follow-up care. The program is available at participating hearing centers only. AARP membership plans start at $12 per year.
  • AFGE: The American Federation of Government Employees, a labor union, offers a free hearing care program to its members. Benefits include a free hearing exam and up to 40% savings at your local hearing provider.
  • Help America Hear: Provides financial assistance to people with auditory impairments.
  • HLAA: A membership with the Hearing Loss Association of America will give you access to discounted hearing aids through iDEAL and Start Hearing. Annual membership plans start at $45 for individuals.
  • LifeMart: This employee discount program, provided by employers in collaboration with LifeCare, can give you significant savings on hearing care and hearing aids. Check with your employer whether your company offers access to LifeMart.
  • Miracle-Ear Foundation: Offers free hearing aids and support services to eligible low-income individuals and families.
  • National Hearing Aid Project: Created by Hearing Charities of America (HCOA), this program provides hearing aids to low-income indivudals.
  • Travelers Protective Association: The TPA Hearing Trust provides financial aid to eligible US citizens who suffer deafness or hearing impairment.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: State-run programs that offer support to people who need a hearing device to do their job or find employment. This may include the purchase of hearing aids or other communication devices.

Another good resource for financial assistance (in a PDF file) is offered by the Hearing Industries Association. If you’re still left with the bill, remember that you can offset a portion of the cost for hearing aids from your taxes.