Unfortunately, hearing loss becomes more common as we age. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), about one in three people between ages 65 and 74 have hearing loss, and nearly half of those 75 and older have trouble hearing. While many of us don’t want to admit that we have trouble hearing, not hearing well can make us feel embarrassed, frustrated and even depressed or withdrawn. Also, if we ignore hearing problems, they can get worse.
Signs of hearing loss include having trouble hearing over the phone, finding it hard to follow conversations, asking people to repeat what they’re saying, turning up the TV volume too loud, and thinking others seem to mumble. If you have hearing problems, don’t wait. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a baseline hearing exam for adults ages 50 and older. These are typically covered by your employer-sponsored health insurance, so read out to your benefits administrator to find out.
As you approach the age of 65 and are looking for a Medicare coverage option for hearing services, it is important to know what choices are available to you. Does Medicare cover hearing services? Yes and no. Let’s break down hearing coverage by Medicare type:
Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B)
Medicare Part B, known as medical insurance, covers diagnostic hearing exams and balance exams if your doctor orders them to see if you need medical treatment. Your cost would be 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible would apply. Original Medicare does not cover hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids.
Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C)
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare does not cover, including hearing aids or exams for fitting hearing aids. Some plans offer this as an enhanced benefit and others include it in their core product. As coverage varies by plan, check all MA plan options in your area to see what they offer.
Medicare Supplement plans (MedSupp)
Medicare supplemental insurance plans (aka MedSupp or Medigap) do not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids or fittings for hearing aids.
Turning 65 means you’ll have important choices to make about your healthcare. To make the most of Medicare, you need to understand your options and how they work. Aspire Health Plan is here to answer any Medicare questions you may have. Give us a call at your convenience for friendly, no-obligation advice. Call (855) 378-9680. (TTY users call 711.)