Which Ones May Qualify for Insurance Coverage, Loans and Grants
This is one of the most searched for questions related to hearing aids and it is a very straightforward sign – hearing aids are not cheap. Among the many options to restore the quality of hearing to a level that it will be enough to engage and communicate properly, hearing aid is the one that is almost instantly available, however, spending $2500 per ear may not be an easy option for many especially that no insurance provider covers hearing aids in full.
In fact, information regarding insurance coverage for hearing aids is scarce. This is probably because healthcare insurance such as Medicare and Medicaid also provide limited information regarding this concern.
Some publications might tell you that the insurance company will need to assess your condition and you will receive the necessary information after the evaluation. But do not let these circumstances be the reason for you to stop searching for better ways to reduce the cost of hearing aids and hear better again.
How do I know if my healthcare insurance will cover my hearing aids?
Get in touch will your insurance provider through their Customer Service Hotline. Be ready with your insurance details for proper identification and your medical records as well. If talking over the phone is difficult for you, have a family member get in touch on your behalf. Otherwise, you may get in touch with them via email.
Have the necessary questions ready:
Does my insurance include any coverage for hearing aids?
Is there a way I can have it included now?
If it is partially covered: How do I go about the payment? Do I pay in full and file for reimbursement later on? Are there necessary forms I need to fill out?
If the insurance does not cover: Is the insurance company in partnership with a hearing aid manufacturer/provider where I could avail a certain discount?
Are there any other possible qualifications to have myself eligible for coverage?
Only after engaging in a conversation with your insurance provider can you identify your succeeding steps. In the event that you have confirmed that you are indeed eligible or they can partially cover the cost for you, congratulations!
Otherwise, don’t fret. There are other ways for you to be able to afford and avail of hearing aids.
What are other ways to afford hearings aids if insurance does not cover it?
According to the data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are 37.5 million Americans who are suffering from hearing loss, unfortunately, 80% of those do not avail of the available hearing loss treatments.
Among the hearing loss treatments, hearing aids are probably the cheapest, compared to corrective surgeries. However, the price tag can still hurt. Even screening and medical check-ups are barely even covered by insurance.
Ideally, every State as an institution or organization you can get in touch with a try to apply for hearing aid grants especially if you are a low-income earner. You can check the State-based institutions in this guide published by Better Hearing Institute.
These are the ways to help you explore options to afford hearing aids:
If you are employed:
Check with your Human Resources Department if the company can provide loans or grants for your hearing aid. Explain your situation and the options you have tried to reduce costs. Request for possible installment payments for the loan for your hearing aid within a specific period, to be deducted from your salary.
This is definitely a better and lighter option than paying it in full. Your company HMO, if any, may also be of help in providing information on what options you may have through their help.
If you are a low income earning individual:
You may want to explore accessible hearing aid programs and grants offered by the following institutions:
This program was designed to offer hearing care assistance to individuals and low-income families who are not classified by the government standards to be in the poverty level but still find the cost of hearing aids inaccessible. They usually offer cost reduction on hearing aids with a 1-year warranty, earmold with fitting and the follow-up consultations.
Under the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Hear Now aims to provide assistance to low-income Americans who have exhausted all possible options to avail of hearing aids through the help of their partners. Starkey is the only US-made hearing aids brand in the USA and is known for its advocacy to provide a hearing aid to another person everytime you purchase from them.
If you want to avail of installment options:
Wells Fargo Health Advantage Credit Card
This credit card offers you the flexibility to prioritize your health needs, that includes purchasing a hearing aid with an easy to afford and understand payment scheme with a competitive rate of 12.99% APR.
Is a credit company that is in partnership with hearing aid professionals offering affordable monthly payment options in a form of a credit line. It has a flexible payment term however the interest rates may not be as competitive as credit cards.
If you are a member of international foundations and service organizations:
Organizations like Kiwanis International, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club International, Masonic Organizations and similar groups are usually benefactors and partners of hearing loss organizations and may be able to extend assistance to their members.
If you are a senior citizen:
Senior citizens and children are the priorities of hearing loss foundations. Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Hearing Loss Association of America are among the best organizations that can provide assistance in finding financial aid, especially for senior citizens. The abovementioned foundations like Starkey Hearing Foundation and Lions Club International can also assess your eligibility for their grants.
If you are a veteran:
The US Veterans Affairs is continuously accepting applications for hearing aid and hearing aid battery grants through their website. Although there are requirements that a veteran needs to submit, the eligibility is assured and is mandated by law.
What are the latest hearing aids you should consider?
Starkey Muse iQR
Starkey announced in January 2018 the newest addition to their wide range of hearing aid choices, a receiver-in-canal (RIC) type hearing aid that is also rechargeable. It is powered by a lithium-ion battery that offers 30 hours use and a quick 3-hour full capacity charging. Comparing with other brand’s rechargeable hearing aids, Muse IQR stays 8-10 hours longer even with streaming. Starkey is known to be the pioneer of in-device streaming and iPhone connectivity for hearing aids and improved the personalized entertainment experience on this new model.
Phonak Naida B
This new model from Phonak is available in behind-the-ear (BTE) and RIC to address the different severity of hearing loss from mild, moderate to profound. It also comes in a rechargeable version and replaceable battery version for the BTE. This model offers an improved speech understanding and enhanced hearing performance in a noisy environment.
This model is offered in all styles – from BTE and mini RTE. In this new model, the brand enhanced the device’s listening capability enabling the user to handle multiple users. It also enhanced its noise reduction and provided a better understanding in a noisy environment. It is also compatible with proprietary safety accessories such as a hearing retention cord which ensures that your hearing aids will not be lost even in outdoor activities.
Wearing hearing aids can make your own voice sound unnatural, some users even complain that this makes them want to stop wearing hearing aids altogether. Signia NX made a bold step and offered a solution that would process the user’s voice and make it sound as natural and as acceptable as possible. Alongside with this advancement is the clearer processing of other surrounding sounds with its dual processing technology.
ReSound Linx 3D
Similar to Signia NX, ReSound Linx 3D wishes to enhance the listening experience even in a noisy environment. It promises to make you hear “80% more sounds around you” and “understand 40% more speech in noise” through its Binaural Directionality III technology. It also has Bluetooth connectivity that lets you hear voice calls, watch tv or listen to music directly on your hearing aid like headphones.
Hearing loss can be a stressful and complicated journey. I can greatly affect a hearing loss sufferer emotionally due to the inability to better express themselves and be understood. It can also cause economic effects due to income loss. Consultations and assessments can cost a lot and the prices of hearing aids are really high. Since insurance coverage is limited, being resourceful and guided with the right options that will offer you the least cost possible and find the best hearing aid for your need and your budget will be a great start. Having the motivation to hear better again is PRICELESS.