Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

Learn how Medicare covers hearing aid costs

by Ray Wilson+ on Oct 01, 2017 | 34 Comments

Hearing aids may seem unaffordable to many seniors, leaving them wondering if Medicare covers the costs. And, if not, how will they pay for their hearing aid costs, that can range from somewhat affordable to several thousand dollars. Here are the answers to how Medicare health plans cover hearing aids.

Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?

No, Medicare does not cover hearing aids. According to the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) “Medicare doesn’t cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids.”  It will, however, cover certain diagnostic hearing tests. If you qualify for a diagnostic hearing test under Original Medicare, you will still pay the Part B deductible plus 20% of the test.

This article was originally written on May 13, 2015 and most recently updated on Oct 01, 2017

Does Medigap Cover Hearing Aids?

While Medigap offers additional coverage beyond Original Medicare,  Medigap usually does not cover hearing aids.  If you have Medigap plan C or F, it will cover 100% of your Medicare Part B deductible and will pay 100% of the hearing diagnostic test’s coinsurance. This means that you would not pay anything for the diagnostic test.

The only exception that we can find is in the state of California and Nevada. Anthem Blue Cross now offers a Medigap plan F that covers $750 towards hearing aids each year.  To learn more about this plan visit Innovative Plan F

Learn More about Medigap Get a Medigap Quote

Does Medicare Advantage Cover Hearing Aids?

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans may cover some of the cost of hearing aids and diagnostic testing. Most do not.  Remember that MA plans are not standardized so each plan can decide if they want to cover some or none of the cost of hearing aids.  While we can help you find an MA plan that has the best hearing benefit in your area, we do want to manage expectations that it is rare that one covers all the cost.

Learn More about Medicare Advantage Get a MA Quote

What are My Hearing Aid Coverage Options?

If you live in California, consider new Anthem’s Plan F that has a hearing aide benefit.

For those in other states we have included a few resources below but we are asking you, the reader, to add any resources you come across to our comments.

 

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Reader Comments and Questions

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By Jackie on November 03, 2018

Good luck finding help to buy hearing aids. Due to a hereditary condition, I am profoundly hearing impaired and have been most of my life. Very, very VERY few insurance companies cover hearing aids. The few that do cover very little and hearing aids cost thousands of dollars. It amazes me that as the population gets older and more hard of hearing that this doesn't change. The rock concert generation is finding out. The ear buds generation is yet to come. Yet, still virtually no help for the purchase of hearing aids.


By Cass on October 09, 2018

My dad has a hearing aid. Does Medicare cover the cost of hearing aid batteries?

Cass,
Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aid batteries.
-Senior65 team


By Elizabeth on August 17, 2018

Why does medicare cover drug rehab but not hearing aids? Whats wrong with that picture?


By Jan on January 08, 2018

This is so frustrating. I paid $6000 for vivatone hearing aides a few years ago while I was working. One quit on my bad ear (right) and the audiologist tells me it can be repaired for $1000 dollars, but that it is obsolete and vivatone is no longer in the hearing aid business. . Nothing covers that cost and I am now on Social Security as my only income. Seems no one cares about seniors,I am 83, so why would they think they should invest in a person of that age.. I am healthy, active, and can work part time. So tell me where is the justice in this whole thing.


By Russ on August 08, 2017

I had a massive stroke, with internal celebro bleeding. The stroke knocked out the hearing in my left ear (and also other left parts of my body). Is there a way that Medicare or my Senior Supplemental insurance will cover the cost of a hearing aid for my left ear only??? Thank you for your response.

You can check with the CMS to confirm (1-800-633-4227) but Medicare and Medicare Supplemental coverage (Medigap) does not typically cover hearing aids.


By rich on May 30, 2017

My son has hearing aids due to hearing loss from a rare syndrome called Alstrom Syndrome. Does medicare cover hearing aids in this circumstance?

Rich,
Medicare only covers cochlear implants, not traditional hearing aids. Your son might find some help with a Medicare Advantage plan. For help finding an MA plan that offers hearing coverage please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Irina Ranahan, M.S. on February 28, 2017

Hearing loss can endanger your safety and lead to social anxiety. Are there any political actions groups pressuring Medicare to cover the cost hearing aids?


By Shelley Kamen on February 21, 2017

I have Medicare and my supplement. Would it cover the cost of the hearing aid(s) or does it only cover what Medicare does not cover on an approved item? Thanks. Shelley

Shelley,
Unfortunately, Medigap and Medicare do not cover traditional hearing aids.
-Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


By Deb on February 12, 2017

Sam's Club now offers hearing aids at a price that will save thousands$$. They have Audiologists and Licenced Hearing Instrument Specialists who can test and fit you right there in the hearing center. Its an excellent choice. Their technology is based on ADRO, much like the cochlear implant. Sam's offers quality at a great price.


By CathyH on February 10, 2017

I work for a Speech & Hearing clinic and was shocked that Medicare pays for virtually nothing. I have learned: Don't go to somewhere that sells. Find somewhere that the Audiologists are not paid with commission. There are options from $0-$5000 and consumers have the right to make those choices. Get the information first, if they pressure you-walk out. All hearing aids should have a trial period and, although I love Costco for many things, hearing aids are not among them. Comparable aids are available for far less money.


By John Morrison on October 05, 2016

After a TBI, I need hearing aids. I have Medicare and Plan F. Is there any help at all in Plan F? -- Thanks. -- J

John,
Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicare Supplement only pay toward cochlear implants, not hearing aids. Wish we had better news.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/


By jack nance on September 29, 2016

i purchased hearing aids because I went to an audiologist(sp)and he said I needed them. where do I go to see if they are correctly applied?

Jack,
Unfortunately, we would not know, as we are health insurance agents. The reason is hearing aids are not covered by Medicare and Medicare Supplement, and rarely are covered by Medicare Advantage. If you need a health plan that offers hearing aid coverage in your area (if available), please call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


By Art hegewald on September 15, 2016

Why is there no exchange for old or upgraded pieces?

Art,
Ha! We totally hear you! However, there are ways that you can get help paying for your medical bills. For instance, most Medicare Advantage HMO plans have a $0 monthly and put a cap on your annual expenses. If you still need more help, you can apply for Medicaid, and Extra Help -for help with your prescription drugs. If you need help finding a Medicare Health plan call one of our Senior65 licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Jill Snell on August 11, 2016

Hearing aids don't need to cost $3-5k. Don't buy them from an ENT facility. Huge markup. Go to Costco.


By lizzette on August 02, 2016

I have straight up Medicaid and Medicare from new York. I need a hearing aid...will my insurance cover it? Thank you

Lizzette,
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover hearing aids, except for cochlear implants. You'll want to call Medicaid directly to see if they offer coverage for traditional hearing aids. Best of luck!
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Bea on July 12, 2016

My husband is hard of hearing. He will not get his hearing checked because of the cost of hearing aids. He says he already knows he is hard of hearing and since the insurance will not help him with hearing aids, he is not going to waste what little money he has left for the costs of a physician telling him what he already knows. He counts it as a waste of time and money.


By Nancy Martin on June 21, 2016

I am 67 and went to an audioligist for a hearing test. Was determined I had substantial hearing loss and hearing aids were needed. I am on Medicare which means no help with purchase. They cost $3,500 per pair. Can I just purchase one hearing aid and is there a special insurance company just for hearing aids???

Nancy,
Hearing aids are expensive! There are a few options. If you don't have a Medigap policy, you can join a Medicare Advantage plan that has limited hearing coverage during the Medicare Annual Election Period, you can check to see if there are any stand-alone hearing plans in your are, and, lastly, you can see if there any advocacy groups that help with hearing aid coverage. If you need help finding a Medicare Advantage plan that covers hearing, call one of our Senior65 licensed independent agents at 800-930-7956.
-Chris from https://www.senior65.com/


By Annie on June 14, 2016

My work insurance won't cover them, Medicare won't cover them, but the Government wants insurance to cover sex changes.. Go figure


By afagan on April 01, 2016

I had heard it is cheaper to take your hearing prescription to Canada?

Afagan,
We don't know how that work. If you need a Medicare Advantage plan that offers hearing coverage that you can use in the States please call one our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Floyd Lukecart on October 26, 2015

I'm 78 and had a hearing test March 2015 which Medicare and Supplemental insurance covered the cost ($56). I'm looking into having Cochlear implants which requires another hearing test to qualify. Does Medicare only cover hearing tests once in a given year period? Also does Medicare cover Cochlear implants as Cochlear claims?

Floyd,
Medicare does not specify how many times in a given year a diagnostic or balance exam can be given, they only state that it is given if your doctor orders these tests. Of course, you'll want to confirm with your doctor and Medicare. As for Cochlear implants, Medicare pays a portion, and your Medicare Supplement may (depending on which policy you have) pay all or part of the rest of your cost.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Evan on October 20, 2015

So since Medigap doesn't cover hearing aids and Medicare Advantage covers some of the cost...does it make sense to go for MA over Medigap?

Evan, That is a good question. Our general answer is probably not. We know hearing aids are costly but since most MA plans do not cover 100% of the cost, hearing aid coverage should not be the only factor in selecting a plan.

Most people select Medigap because the scope of medical coverage is greater than MA. If you can afford a Medigap plan they will most often protect you from runaway medical expenses like extended days in the hospital.

Medicare Advantage, on the other hand, is a great way to get additional benefits over original medicare at a fair price. While it usually does not protect your wealth as much as Medigap, it is usually a good solution for seniors on a budget. If you are already leaning towards a MA plan and need hearing aids then we suggest selecting one with the best hearing coverage. -Chris from https://www.senior65.com/


By John Hart on October 14, 2015

All you people who are upset that Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids...what did you expect??? Medicare is minimum health coverage not a comprehensive insurance plan that covers everything. Congress passed Medicare back in the groovy 60's because over half of all seniors had no health coverage what-so-ever. What would be nice is if Medigap Plan F offered Hearing Aid coverage because it's the best private insurance plan. But apparently it doesn't


By Linda Heath on October 09, 2015

Check out Costco hearing aids cost half of everyone elses


By Sergio V on October 06, 2015

I wanted to add a fact that I hope your readers will find helpful. While Medigap doesn't cover hearing aids, the insurance companies that sell them can offer Hearing aid discounts. As a Blue Shield of CA Medigap member, I get hearing aid discounts on products from any Newport Audiology center.


By Rachel Stroup on September 29, 2015

So my understanding is that Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids which could cost as much as $5,000 and up but they do cover Viagra! How absurd. Which is more of a necessity?

Rachel,
While we agree that it would be great if Medicare covered hearing aids, Medicare does leave gaps, such as it does NOT cover Viagra. If you want hearing coverage, you can get a Medicare Advantage plan or separate hearing coverage.
-Jacima from https://www.senior65.com/


By Diana on September 15, 2015

I am 65 years old and need 2 hearing aids. United healthcare only covers $1,000 every 2,years; do you know of any other insurance company that can help me with the high prices of hearing aids!

Diana,
Thank you for your question. Due to the specificity of your question we suggest you call us at 800-930-7956. This way we can look up plans in your area and see how they cover hearing aids.
-Eric from https://www.senior65.com/


By Linda Broers on September 15, 2015

My husband has Medica "Prime Solutions, Enhanced." If his medical doctor tells him to go for a hearing exam, will this be covered by his Insurance and also for a portion of hearing aids, if required? thanks, Linda

Linda,
Your husband will want to contact the number on the back of his card to find out how he is covered for hearing exams, and if they cover hearing aids.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By Laura on September 09, 2015

My father in law is in need of a hearing rest to determine if he needs a hearing aid or not. He has Medicare as he is 73 and he is afraid of the costs involved with this process. What can we tell him to help him get to a doctor to have his hearing checked?

Laura,
Thank you for your question. If he has Original Medicare, he will want to ask or a diagnostic hearing test from his doctor. He will pay 20% of the costs for the diagnostic hearing test, unless he has a Medigap plan, as well. Please contact us with further questions at 800-930-7956.
-Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


By Ana Maria Miranda on September 09, 2015

I have been wearing an outdated hearing aid for the past several years. I definitely need a new one yesterday. I am deaf in one ear and only require one and understand Medicare or Medicare advantage does not cover. What an outrage! As our older population gets larger and needless to day will have some sort of hearing deficiency, our great government have managed to withhold a simple thing as a much needed hearing aid captive. Why am I not surprised. How am going to pay for a new one on my SS retirement check?!

Ana Maria, We understand your frustration! While Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids, Medicare Advantage can offer hearing coverage. Some plans will cover 100% of the costs of a hearing aid fitting and the hearing aid itself. If you contact a Senior65 agent at 800-930-7956, we'd be happy to find a Medicare Advantage plan in your area.
-Amy from https://www.senior65.com/


By A.K. on August 14, 2015

Hasn't anyone heard? They hope all the new baby boomers will drop dead so they won't have to pay anything....and it looks like they just might get their wish 'cause Boomers are dying faster and sooner than their parents. So rejoice Washington Law Makers, you are killin' off all the old folks. What a "master plan"! I remember someone else in history had a "master plan"......hmmmm......


By suelove128 on July 30, 2015

does medicare cover earphones for tv, so I can hear my programs. I already have an amplifier on my phone. thank you

Sue,
Thank you for your question. As far as we know, Medicare does not cover earphones for TV. If you have separate hearing coverage, then that coverage might offer coverage or a discount. Hope this helps.
-Michelle from https://www.senior65.com/


By Cindy on July 23, 2015

Sooooo, When you're older and may need a hearing aid, Medicare or Medigap may pay for hearing tests but too bad....they won't pay for a hearing aid. Oh, and they cost upwards of about 3, 4, $5,000. Makes no sense at all


By Marty Jenkins on June 23, 2015

I'm 67 and my hearing is finally starting to go. I ended up going with a Personal Sound Amplifier for now. It's not quite a hearing aid but it sure helps me to hear. It was under $100 so the price is right but my doctor says I will soon need a "real" hearing aid. Does Medicare cover the cost of batteries? I hear that the hearing aid batteries are expensive.

Marty,
Unfortunately, Original Medicare doesn't cover the cost of hearing aids or batteries.
-Eric from https://www.senior65.com/


By Kim on May 13, 2015

very helpful info



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