Paying for Hearing Aids With Health Insurance

Insurance coverage is available for some consumers

By Abram Bailey, AuD

In a previous article, we reported on the average price of hearing aids, with data coming from over 2000 hearing aid consumers. In this article, we’ll look at how much our survey respondents saved through their medical insurance companies, including details about average coverage and coverage by specific insurance company.

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

Unfortunately, there are only five states that mandate insurance coverage for hearing aids 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 don’t live in one of these three 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 guide.

Our Survey Results

Together with the Hearing Loss Association of America, Hearing Tracker 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:

What about the insurance companies?

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

*Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Hearing Aid Insurance Coverage Basics [VIDEO]

There are seven basic types of insurance that may provide hearing aid coverage:

  1. Commercial/Private Insurance
  2. Third-Party Administrators
  3. Medicaid
  4. Vocational Rehabilitation
  5. Tricare
  6. Veteran's Administration
  7. Workers Compensation

Check out Dr Cliff’s video for details: