Are Hearing Aids Covered by Insurance? Your Complete Guide
This content is researched and written based on extensive testing by an external reviews team and does not reflect the views or opinions of Everyday Health’s editorial team. Everyday Health may earn a commission from purchases of products featured in this article.
- Most insurance covers the cost of hearing exams, but won’t cover hearing aids
- Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ insurance may provide hearing aid coverage, but check to make sure
- If your insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids, shop for discounts, apply for financing, or look for help through donation programs
Did you know that nearly one in four Americans over the age of twelve have some degree of hearing loss? According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2016, an estimated 25 million U.S. residents are experiencing mild hearing loss.
A relatively new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule allows manufacturers to sell hearing aids over the counter without a prescription from a doctor, sparking competition in the industry, lowering prices, and creating new opportunities for accessing treatment. But while many Americans can benefit from hearing aids, finding an insurance plan with hearing aid insurance coverage can still be difficult. This is a significant issue because these devices can cost up to $7,500 or more per pair.
Navigating insurance policies is already a tricky process, and with potential changes on the way, it’s hard to keep track of it all. Our reviews team compiled this guide to help you learn whether hearing aids are covered by insurance, and the most common plans that offer hearing aid insurance coverage.
Are Hearing Aids Covered by Insurance?
Hearing aids are not always covered by health insurance, but most insurance providers will cover the cost of a diagnostic hearing exam to determine whether you have hearing loss.
Hearing care coverage often depends on your insurance program, your specific plan, and your state. But keep your eyes peeled for changes — this topic is evolving quickly. Here’s why.
How Hearing Aid Coverage Is Changing
Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids are relatively new to the industry. In August 2022, the FDA released new regulations that allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter. Brands like Jabra Enhance and Eargo emerged with their OTC hearing aids, which treat people with mild to moderate hearing loss for less than $3,000 per pair. This cost is significantly lower than prescription hearing aids, which generally range from $3,000 to $7,500 per pair, based on our reviews team’s research.
Competition in the hearing aid industry has grown rapidly in the months following the FDA ruling. Brands are changing their product offerings, services, and business-to-business relationships to keep up. And some are strategically improving relationships with insurance companies and intermediaries, offering more opportunities for people to access care and find coverage.
For example, Eargo formed a partnership with supplemental benefits provider NationsBenefits in January 2023, which allows its members to purchase Eargo OTC hearing aids using supplemental benefits purchased outside of their traditional private insurance. You can read more about the NationsBenefits hearing care program, NationsHearing, on its website.
Other hearing aid brands are making moves too. MDHearing recently partnered with healthcare company Medline to bring OTC hearing aids to Medicare Advantage and Medicaid subscribers. In 2024, subscribers to these insurance programs should be able to use their supplemental benefits toward MDHearing hearing aid purchases.
Medicare subscribers also have game-changing laws in the pipeline. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced H.R 244, the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act, to Congress in early 2023. If passed, this bill will expand Medicare to include hearing aid coverage for more than 45 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who report hearing loss, according to an article published in HealthAffairs in 2021.
Hearing Aid Coverage in Five Common Types of Insurance
Insurance policies have differing approaches to hearing care coverage. This list covers five common insurance categories: private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, VA healthcare, and workers’ compensation.
1. Private Health Insurance
Most major private insurance plans cover diagnostic testing to see if you have hearing loss and to what degree, but many don’t provide coverage for the treatment of hearing loss. If you need hearing aids, you likely will not receive assistance unless you live in one of five states that mandate hearing aid coverage. And even if you do live in a state that mandates hearing aid coverage, always check with your insurance company first. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, some insurance plans are exempt from state mandates.
If your plan does cover hearing aids, you may still need to be prepared to pay part of the cost, depending on your insurance company’s policies. “Different plans will have different levels of coverage,” says Ruth Reisman, a licensed audiologist and co-owner of Urban Hearing in Brooklyn, New York. “They will cover a percentage of the hearing aid, but only after the deductible and out-of-pocket is paid, or they will only cover a new set every certain number of years.”
Hearing aids for children are one of the exceptions to those policies. Dr. Reisman points out that many insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover the cost of hearing aids for those younger than 18. According to a review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2020, children depend on sound to develop speech and language skills, and the same research found that prescription hearing devices can improve quality of life and self-esteem for children with impaired hearing.
It’s important to note that although OTC hearing aids have become more accessible to adults, the FDA does not recommend them for children; all insurance-approved hearing devices for children are by prescription only.
Other policy exceptions or limitations will depend on your state’s insurance laws, which are listed on the Hearing Loss Association of America website. Most insurance policies that cover hearing care will provide details regarding their policies online, like Aetna’s Hearing Aids Policy, which includes:
- The criteria that must be met to verify that hearing aids are medically necessary for the insured person
- Which types of hearing devices are considered medically necessary
- Information on each hearing device listed in the policy
- Research that supports the policy
Reading these policies can help you to understand what is covered, what is not, and why. If you can’t find your insurance company’s hearing aid policy online, contact an agent to see if they offer a hearing aids policy and request that it be emailed (or mailed) to you.
Most workplaces offer their full-time employees health insurance coverage through a specific provider, so you may be able to add hearing care coverage to your policy through your employer during the annual open enrollment period.
If you’re shopping for health insurance independently, you can only enroll in a new policy between November 1st and January 15th of each year, according to Healthcare.gov. Otherwise, the only way to make changes to an existing policy is to qualify for special enrollment due to a life event, such as adopting a child, having a baby, or getting married.
Medicare is a government-funded insurance program for U.S. residents age 65 or older, or for those under age 65 with qualifying conditions. The two primary parts of Medicare are:
- Part A, or original Medicare, which mostly covers hospital care
- Part B, which covers services deemed medically necessary by your doctor
If you enroll in Part A, you’ll also have the option to enroll in Part B. Most, but not all, people 65 and older are eligible for free Part A coverage. Part B is an addition to Part A and has a monthly premium based on income. View Medicare costs in 2023 for up-to-date premiums and deductibles.
Original Medicare (Parts A and B) explicitly states that it does not cover hearing aids or exams, so you will have to pay the entire cost out-of-pocket. Medicare Part B will cover diagnostic hearing and balance exams to determine whether you need hearing loss treatment, but only if your doctor deems it medically necessary.
Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) work differently. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan through a private insurer that contracts with Medicare to provide all of the services covered under Parts A and B, along with extra benefits that may include hearing care. These extra benefits may include:
- Hearing aids
- Professional fittings to ensure your hearing aids work properly
- Routine exams to check your hearing
Similar to other types of private insurance, policy terms for Part C plans differ between insurance companies, states and ZIP codes. For example, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provides a comprehensive list of all Medicare Advantage plans offered across the United States in 2023. Not all plans have hearing benefits, and plans that do have hearing benefits may not offer the same coverage as other plans.
Some insurers partner with third-party managed care companies that cover hearing services at a low up-front cost for hearing devices, with varying coverage for long-term care. But don’t forget to verify which healthcare providers accept Medicare Advantage plans, especially if a third-party managed care company provides hearing services. Only some audiologists are credentialed providers.
Medicare Part D, or prescription drug plans, are also offered through private insurers. These plans do not offer any coverage for hearing exams or aids, but they may be useful if your hearing loss requires prescribed medications.
If you’re unsure if a Medicare plan will cover your hearing care, check with the insurance provider before purchasing the plan to see if it will address your needs at a fair cost to you. And it’s important to keep in mind that some medical providers don’t take Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans, so find out who’s in your network through Medicare’s Medicare provider search tool before you make an appointment. Otherwise, you may be left holding the bag for the full cost of the exam.
See the chart below for a breakdown of each Medicare plan and its hearing care coverage.
Diagnostic Exam Coverage
Hearing Aid Coverage
Routine Exam Coverage
Original Medicare (Part A)
Medicare Part B
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Medicare Part D (Drug coverage)
* If medically necessary
** Varies by ZIP code
Note that you must enroll in Medicare Parts A and B three months before, during, or three months after your 65th birthday month. You can enroll later, but you’ll pay a higher monthly premium, according to Medicare.gov. The annual enrollment period between October 15 to December 7 is your window of opportunity to make changes to your existing Medicare plan, such as switching from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or changing your Medicare Advantage provider.
You can contact Medicare via phone at 800-633-4227; representatives are available 24/7.
If you need assistance regarding a Medicare Advantage plan, call the private insurer that’s providing the plan instead.
Medigap or Medicare Supplement Plans
Medicare Supplement plans, or Medigap, help cover out-of-pocket costs that Medicare Parts A and B don’t cover. They’re often sold by private insurers, similar to Medicare Advantage plans, and you can enroll during your 65th birthday month or up to five months after as long as you’re enrolled in Part B.
Medicare explicitly states that Medigap policies do not cover the cost of hearing aids, nor does Medigap cover Medicare Advantage copayments, deductibles, or premiums, so Medicare discourages having both Medigap and Medicare Advantage.
Medicaid is a federal- and state-funded insurance program that provides free or low-cost coverage for eligible adults and children in low-income households. Medicaid may cover the cost of hearing aids, but this benefit depends on your age and your location. If you have both Medicare and Medicaid coverage, you may be eligible for plans that cover certain hearing aids in full through insurance providers like United Healthcare or Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Coverage for children is the easiest to find. The Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) program is a Medicaid service that is mandated across all states. It provides screening and treatment services, like hearing aids and regular hearing exams, to children from birth through age 21.
For adults, coverage varies by state. Some states do not cover hearing aid services or devices at all, while others cover specific products and services only. Jump to the next section to learn more about insurance coverage by state.
States that do cover hearing aids often have limitations, so check:
- What criteria you must meet for coverage (hearing loss of a certain level)
- How many hearing aids are covered (some states only cover one pair per term)
- What type of hearing aids are covered
- How often your plan covers new hearing aids
- Which specific services are covered, like diagnostic exams and fittings
- How often you can schedule routine exams
- If your plan covers hearing aid accessories, repairs, and cleanings
The Hearing Loss Association of America lists Medicaid coverage for adults by state, along with each state’s limitations.
Medicaid’s eligibility requirements differ between locations, so contact your state to see if you may qualify for coverage and to ask how you can apply.
4. Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare
VA healthcare is the largest employer of hearing professionals in the nation, with more than 1,370 audiologists and 410 audiology health technicians, according to VA.gov. All United States military veterans who are enrolled in VA healthcare receive full coverage for a hearing evaluation anywhere in the nation.
Hearing devices (often top-of-the-line) are covered if your audiologist determines that they are medically necessary. The VA healthcare system also covers fittings, repairs, disposable batteries, and accessories like wax guards that protect the ear piece from earwax. You can find instructions on ordering replacement batteries and accessories on the VA website.
To enroll in VA healthcare, you’ll need to check your eligibility and apply to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can apply for VA health benefits online, in person at your local VA Medical Center or Clinic, or by mailing Form 10-10EZ to the VA Medical Center near you.
If your hearing changed during your military service, you may be eligible for compensation. To qualify, you must show that you’ve served on active duty and have a service-connected condition, which is a medical condition that began during your service. The VA will also give you a disability rating based on factors like your doctor’s medical reports. Your disability rating determines the severity of your condition, with more severe conditions receiving more compensation. You can learn more about VA disability compensation online.
Contact VA healthcare online or by phone at 800-698-2411. Representatives are available 24/7 to discuss your benefits or to help you find out if you’re eligible for compensation.
5. Workers’ Compensation
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to enact protective measures, like the use of hearing protection devices, if working conditions are consistently loud. OSHA considers 85 decibels to be the maximum sound intensity before requiring protective equipment to protect workers’ hearing. According to OSHA noise exposure standards, “If you need to raise your voice to speak to someone three feet away, noise levels might be over 85 decibels.”
If work duties have caused hearing changes, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. This is a form of insurance that covers your wages and medical treatment if you’re injured on the job. To qualify, you must alert your employer to any new injury or condition as soon as you’re aware of it. After notifying your employer, you’ll visit an audiologist for an evaluation to determine whether you’re eligible for coverage.
Our reviews team asked different audiologists how often they see workers’ compensation cases in their clinics. Because insurance companies want proof that the hearing loss is a direct result of workplace conditions, it can be difficult to get approval for workers’ compensation. Unless your hearing loss occurred due to a traumatic event, like a blast, it’s hard to prove that hearing loss is a result of work. This is because other environmental factors, like listening to loud music, can also cause hearing loss. Although it is rare, there are cases where job-related hearing loss claims are approved.
All states offer coverage for hearing loss through workers’ compensation, but the terms are different in each state. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor to learn how you can contact your local division.
A Note on Insurance Providers vs Managed Care Providers
Keep in mind there is a difference between insurance providers and third-party managed care providers.
While insurance providers will directly offer benefits to you, they may partner with a third-party managed care provider like NationsHearing or TruHearing, to cover additional benefits. Private insurers like Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield frequently use third-party managed care providers to offer hearing care benefits. Although these partners offer discounted up-front prices for hearing devices, benefits may not cover the whole cost of the devices or the long-term after-purchase care, which means you might have out-of-pocket costs.
The purchase process is different with a third-party managed care provider than it is with a primary health insurance provider. When you purchase devices through a managed care provider, the provider will send the hearing aids to a clinic, where you will have them adjusted by a hearing specialist. This arrangement comes with a cost, called a “fitting fee,” which you will be responsible for paying. When you purchase hearing devices through an insurance provider, you’re buying directly from the clinic and won’t incur any additional fees. You’ll find that managed care providers have a limited clinic network for this reason.
Medicaid and Private Insurance Hearing Aid Coverage by State
Private insurance and Medicaid follow state-specific rules that divide the nation between two buckets: states that mandate hearing aid coverage and states that don’t.
Private Insurance Coverage by State
Most private insurers will cover your diagnostic exam, but not all will cover the cost of hearing aids. If your state is mandated to cover hearing aids, always check with your provider to make sure they aren’t exempt from the mandate. ASHA provides a comprehensive list of states and their statutes, but be aware that these state rules can change at any time.
If your state’s insurance plans cover hearing aids, there are specific rules for coverage, so be sure to check your state’s rule using the ASHA link above.
Medicaid Coverage by State
Under the EPSDT program, all children under age 21 enrolled in Medicaid have hearing care coverage, which includes assessments, hearing aid evaluations, and hearing aids.
But adult coverage differs by state. The Hearing Loss Association of America lists states that provide hearing aid coverage and states that do not, but always contact your state’s Medicaid office for questions regarding local policy terms and your specific benefits.
The following states do provide hearing care coverage for adults: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The following states do not cover hearing care for adults: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Policies are subject to change at any time. For example, Oregon’s Medicaid program (Oregon Health Plan) updated its policy in 2019 to approve two hearing aids, one for each ear, instead of just one every five years. If you’re already enrolled in Medicaid, stay in touch with your local office and keep track of changes to your policy.
Private Insurance Programs That May Cover Hearing Aids
Each private insurance program defines its hearing care coverage differently. You’ll find several examples of common, nationwide insurance providers below, with details on how you can check for coverage.
Tricare is a government-sponsored healthcare program designed to cover active duty or retired military members and their families for an annual enrollment fee. Refer to the Tricare 2023 cost sheet for details.
Tricare benefits cover hearing aids for active duty members and their families under specific conditions, based on the results of a hearing evaluation. Your audiologist will test your hearing at different frequencies, which are measured in Hertz (Hz). They may also perform a speech recognition test, which evaluates how well you can hear, recognize, and repeat words. Your hearing evaluation determines your hearing threshold in decibels, which is how loud a sound must be for you to hear it.
According to Tricare hearing aid benefits, you or your family must be active duty military and have one of the following specific conditions to receive coverage:
- Hearing threshold of at least 40 decibels of hearing loss in one or both ears when tested at 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 Hz
- Hearing threshold of at least 26 decibels in one or both ears at any three or more of the frequencies listed above
- Speech recognition score of less than 94 percent
- Children with a hearing threshold of at least 26 decibels of hearing loss in one or both ears when tested at 500, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 Hz
If you’re retired military, Tricare will not cover hearing aids. Instead, you will need to register for VA healthcare to receive hearing care.
You can contact Tricare via phone for assistance, but the phone number you need will depend on your plan. Visit the contact page and complete the Call Us Wizard tool to find the right contact number.
The Aetna policy on hearing aids states that most plans exclude hearing aid coverage. Similar to Tricare’s benefit conditions, Aetna benefit plans that do provide hearing aid coverage will only cover costs if hearing aids are deemed medically necessary under one of the following specific conditions:
- Hearing threshold are 40 decibels of hearing loss or greater when tested at 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000 Hz
- Hearing thresholds of 26 decibels or greater at three of these frequencies
- Speech recognition is less than 94 percent
Aetna also covers other hearing devices, like FDA-cleared OTC hearing aids, if they are deemed medically necessary by your doctor. Read the entire policy to see if your needs qualify for coverage.
You can browse plans by entering your ZIP code into the search bar on Aetna’s “explore plans” tool. After following prompts to enter personal information like your name, birthday, and household income, you’ll immediately receive a list of plans recommended for you.
Select “plan details” to read more about each plan’s policy. Scroll down the policy page until you find the hearing aids section, which lists coverage details, if any.
If you already have a plan with Aetna, log in to your insurance profile online and view your plan’s details. For assistance, contact Aetna at 800-872-3862, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.
Medicare Advantage Through Aetna
Aetna’s Medicare hearing plan includes routine hearing exams, hearing aids, and hearing aid fittings. Be sure to check your specific benefit plan as you’ll get an allotted amount toward hearing aids and appointments during a specific time period, with the rest of the costs paid out of pocket. Note that you would be limited to NationsHearing providers for all services, and only a small network of audiologists hold contracts with NationsHearing.
You can browse Aetna Medicare Advantage plans by entering your ZIP code into the website’s search box. You’ll immediately receive several plan options of varying coverage and out-of-pocket costs. From there you can view details to find the hearing aid coverage that fits your needs or follow instructions to apply for the plan of your choice.
To learn more or to get a quote, contact Aetna Medicare Solutions at 855-335-1407, Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) is a large insurance provider with a wide range of non-Medicare and Medicare plans. BCBS insurance plans are available across the United States, but plans may vary from state to state. This insurance provider does not have a clinical policy readily available online, so you must contact your state’s plan to clarify hearing aid coverage terms.
If you are a BCBS subscriber, check your eligibility for exclusive hearing aid discounts through Blue365. This program hosts a collection of deals and discounts that help you save with BCBS partners. For example, you can get 30 to 60 percent off the retail price of more than 225 hearing aid models through TruHearing, a third-party hearing care provider, which can save you $1,250 per hearing aid (on average). Similar to NationsHearing, your upfront costs may be less, but you may not receive long-term coverage for after-purchase hearing care. Ask your provider about your coverage timeline before enrolling.
You can find your local BCBS provider’s contact information by submitting your membership details online if you already have an account, or if you’re just browsing, you can call 888-630-2583 to discuss your options with an agent.
Medicare Advantage Through BCBS
BCBS also offers hearing aid benefits through some of its Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans. BCBS offers multiple options across the United States, so check out this complete list of Medicare plans in 2023. You may recognize the names of some of the popular plans on this list, like Anthem and CareFirst.
For more information about specific plans in your state, click “find coverage” at the top of the BCBS Medicare page and enter your ZIP code to find the right contact information for your location.
Follow the prompts that will lead you to your local healthcare sponsor. Some sponsors require you to contact them for plan information, while others allow you to browse through a list of available plans. The following results are examples specific to a ZIP code our reviews team entered, but you’ll receive a similar list of options that are specific to your area. You can view each plan’s details to see if it offers hearing care coverage, or follow instructions to enroll in a plan.
If you have questions specific to options in your area, call your local sponsor’s phone number during its operating hours.
Some Cigna insurance plans cover hearing devices, but not all plans will. Cigna’s medical policy states that only participating plans will cover hearing devices if they are deemed medically necessary by an audiologist. Participating plans will also cover batteries not sold at retailers, like replacement batteries for cochlear implants. Repairs and replacements are covered if your hearing devices stop working outside of the manufacturer's warranty.
You can explore medical plans in your area by using the browsing tool on the Cigna homepage. Follow the prompts to enter your ZIP code, age, gender, and household information (like income) to explore available plans.
Cigna will immediately provide several recommended plans that you can explore, based on the information you entered. To learn more about a policy and see if hearing care is included, click “plan details.”
If you already have Cigna insurance, you also have a myCigna account where you can check your plan’s details online.
Contact Cigna if you have questions regarding a new or existing plan. Customer service is available 24/7 at 800-997-1654. If you have a myCigna account, you can also talk to an agent over live chat Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Medicare Advantage Through Cigna
Cigna also offers Medicare Advantage plans, and some have hearing aid benefits. You can browse plans using the “shop and compare” tool on the Cigna Medicare page to find coverage that’s right for you.
If you’re unsure of which type of plan is best for you, you can click on Cigna’s quiz to help find coverage that fits your needs (see the link in the image above under the “shop and compare” tool). The quiz helps you narrow your search based on five preferences:
- How often you’d like to pay
- If you’d prefer a doctor from a specific network or any doctor that accepts Medicare
- Whether you’re interested in a health coach
- If you’d like to include dental and vision coverage
- What network you’d like to use if you’re traveling away from home within the United States
Otherwise, you can enter your ZIP code and browse options in your area, if applicable. The following results show options that are available for a ZIP code entered by our reviews team, but you’ll receive similar options if Cigna offers Medicare Advantage plans in your state. To see if your plan covers hearing services and devices, select the “view details” button.
If you have questions regarding Cigna Medicare plans, you can call 800-997-1654 — the same customer service number as non-Medicare beneficiaries — or log in to your myCigna account to speak to a live agent over the online chat feature.
Humana insurance policies may not include hearing coverage, depending on your policy, but this insurer offers extended coverage plans called Humana Extend. These plans help cover dental, vision, and hearing care, and they’re available for all ages in participating states. Visit the Humana Extend website and enter your state and age to see if plans are available in your area.
If Humana Extend plans are available in your state, you’ll immediately receive three options of varying coverage. Humana Extend 1250 provides the least coverage, while Humana Extend 5000 provides the most.
If you already have a plan with Humana, log in to your insurance profile online to view your plan’s details.
If you have questions about your options, contact Humana at 888-347-0092, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. You can also log in to your Humana profile to access online chat with a live agent during the same operating hours.
Medicare Advantage Through Humana
Humana offers Medicare Advantage plans, some of which cover hearing aids and services, depending on your location and the plan’s policies. You can browse plans by entering your ZIP code into the search tool on Humana’s Medicare Advantage page.
You’ll immediately receive quotes for Humana Medicare Advantage plans with various degrees of coverage in your area. Select “see plan summary” to read about each plan’s specific benefits, like coverage for routine hearing exams or hearing devices.
If you find a plan in your state that covers your hearing needs sufficiently, you can add Humana Extend policies to your health insurance plan.
Contact Humana Medicare for assistance at 800-457-4708, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
United Healthcare (UHC) medical plans do not offer coverage for hearing aids, but you can find hearing coverage hidden within its dental plans.
Browse plans by entering your ZIP code into the search tool on the UHC home page. You’ll also need to include your gender, tobacco use, and birthday before receiving a list of plans applicable to you.
If you’re looking specifically for hearing care coverage, filter your search on the upper left corner of the results page by selecting “dental”.
Then, you’ll see a list of UHC dental plans. Check each plan’s details to see if hearing coverage is available.
Once you’re viewing the plan’s details, scroll down to the standard benefits section to see if a hearing benefit is included. In the example below, there are no hearing benefits available with this plan.
If you already have a plan with UHC, log in to your online insurance profile to view your plan’s details. You can also contact UHC for assistance at 866-801-4409, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Medicare Advantage Through UHC
UHC offers Medicare Advantage plans with hearing benefits. You can specifically browse plans that cover hearing exams and devices on the UHC Medicare hearing health page by entering your ZIP code into the text box.
You’ll immediately receive a list of Medicare options and Medicare Advantage plans that include hearing benefits. To learn more about each plan, select “view plan details” at the bottom right of each plan.
And if you have both Medicare and Medicaid, you can enroll in the UHC Dual Complete plan for people with special needs, which provides additional benefits that are not covered under Medicare and Medicaid. Depending on your location, you’ll receive a benefit amount that could cover entry- to mid-level hearing aids with little to no out-of-pocket cost.
As a UHC subscriber, you can shop for OTC and prescription hearing aids through your online profile. UHC customer support informed our reviews team that all of the hearing aids offered through the plan have discounted prices, and we found that many of the brands available through UHC are rated highly by our reviews team on our best hearing aids roundup, like Jabra Enhance and Phonak. You’ll need to log in to your profile to view the costs.
Depending on your plan, you’ll be responsible for a copay between $175 and $1,225. For more information about Medicare Advantage hearing benefits, contact UHC Hearing at 855-523-9355, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CST. Or you can fill out the online form.
How to Verify If Your Insurance Covers Hearing Aids
Each insurance program has its own rules for coverage, so gathering information about your benefits can be a tedious process. Before you research on your own, ask your hearing aid clinic to help.
“I think one of the best ways to find out about coverage is to have a hearing aid clinic verify benefits for the patient,” says Brian Murray, a hearing instrument specialist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Clinic staff can use the information on your insurance card to call your provider and verify your benefits.
Murray listed a few general questions that clinics will ask insurance providers:
- Is there a maximum allowable amount?
- Is coverage subject to a deductible, or out-of-pocket cost, before insurance starts to pay?
- Is there a coinsurance, or a percentage you must pay, after you meet your deductible?
- Does the benefit change based on whether the provider is in or out of network?
They may also ask if buy-up is allowed, which allows beneficiaries to upgrade their insurance plan at any time if they need additional benefits, such as hearing aid coverage.
If you choose to do research on your own, follow these three steps.
Step 1: Identify Your Needs and Gather Information
The first step involves a deep dive into your medical needs. Insurance companies go into detail with their coverage criteria, so you need to identify your own needs in detail. Gather as much information about your hearing health as possible.
For example, insurance programs typically cover prescribed diagnostic exams. If you’ve visited an audiologist to have your hearing evaluated, get a copy of your audiogram results so that you can reference your hearing loss levels when talking to your insurance representative. Remember that insurance companies like Aetna have specific criteria that deem a hearing device medically necessary, and your results could be helpful for determining your coverage.
Based on criteria from insurance policies, ask yourself the following questions that help determine the level of your hearing need:
- What is my hearing threshold on my audiogram?
- What was my speech recognition score?
- What level of hearing loss do I have (mild, moderate, severe, or profound)?
- Am I appropriate for OTC hearing aids, or should I purchase prescription devices?
- What specific type of hearing device does my doctor recommend?
If you’re unsure about any of the above questions, call your audiologist and clarify your hearing needs before you call your insurance provider.
Step 2: Check Your Policy First
Instead of calling your insurance provider right away, you could save time by logging in to your patient portal and looking over your benefits.
First, check your medical benefits summary and scan for hearing care. If you can’t find information there, check your dental plan if you have one. Some providers, like non-Medicare UHC, list hearing benefits under additional plans, so it’s worth checking those plans too.
If you do find a list of hearing benefits under your plan, compare the benefits to your needs. Look for the following information:
- Are you receiving coverage from a managed care plan?
- Do your needs fall under the right criteria?
- How much does the plan cover compared with the price of the hearing aid you need?
- Are accessories, repairs, and replacements covered? Under what circumstances?
- Will your benefit pay for routine exams to check your hearing health?
Document any information you gather about your hearing benefits (if any). Identify areas that need clarification and keep your notes handy for the next step.
Step 3: Call Your Insurance Provider
Now that you have information about your needs and benefits, you might have lingering questions about coverage. If so, call your insurance provider. Reference your documents and notes regarding your hearing needs to describe your situation, and point out areas in your insurance plan that seem unclear. An agent should be able to answer your questions.
If your plan doesn’t cover hearing care, see if your insurance provider has resources available, or ask how you can purchase coverage. For example, BCBS offers Blue365 for its subscribers, which offers discounts on products like hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Assistance Programs
Not all insurance plans offer hearing aid coverage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find assistance. You can find a number of local and national assistance programs and donation organizations designed to help people access the hearing care they need.
Hearing Aid Donation Programs
Many local and national organizations collect, refurbish, and distribute donated hearing aids to the community. Ask your audiologist if there are organizations in your area, or contact one of the programs listed below to learn more about how you can receive hearing aids at little or no cost.
State Vocational Rehabilitation Programs
Some states provide free hearing aids through vocational rehab programs that help clients find services for conditions like hearing and vision loss, whether you’re on the job or looking for a new one. Contact your state’s vocational rehabilitation agency to ask how you can apply.
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The IDEA is a law that ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to education, regardless of physical and mental ability. School-aged children, toddlers, and babies may be eligible for hearing aids at no cost if their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) — an education program developed by a team of healthcare professionals and teachers — identifies the need.
Contact your local school district or talk to your child’s teacher to learn more about requesting an IEP. Your family may be eligible for assistance.
Other Affordable Options to Consider
If you don’t qualify for assistance programs, there are other ways you can save on hearing aids.
Shop for Discounts and Deals
One way to predict upcoming deals is by looking for new hearing aids on the market. Eargo recently unveiled its Eargo 7 model at a temporarily discounted price ($300 off). Around the same time, the Eargo Neo HiFi model was reduced from $1,650 to $1,550.
If you need prescription hearing aids, consider shopping through discount hearing care providers. Yes Hearing is a remote hearing care provider that sends audiologists to your home for evaluations. If you need a hearing aid, this online provider offers discount prescription devices at transparent prices. Learn how it works by visiting the Yes Hearing website.
Some brands offer financing to help lower the initial cost of hearing aids. Financing options depend on the retailer. If you’re buying online, you can apply through the brand’s financing partner before checkout. Otherwise, you’ll need to ask your retailer or audiologist about financing options before you buy.
You can also apply for a financing account through companies like CareCredit, which helps consumers pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses by stretching the cost out over time in easier to manage payments. With CareCredit, you may be able to qualify for shorter financing terms with zero percent interest, depending on your approved terms.
Use Your Health Savings Account or Flexible Savings Account
Although this option won’t cut your cost, it is an alternative way to pay for your hearing aids. Some employer benefits offer opportunities to contribute to health savings accounts (HSA) or flexible savings accounts (FSA).
An HSA is similar to an investment account — it’s a savings account that allows you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. You can use it at any time to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, and if you don’t use all of your funds by the end of the year, they roll over into the next year.
An FSA is different. FSA funds cannot be saved as long-term investments, and they do not roll over into the next year; they must be used before the year ends. But like HSAs, FSA funds are not taxed, and you can use these funds at any time to pay for out-of-pocket health expenses.
Most hearing aid brands and retailers accept HSA and FSA cards at checkout.
Are hearing aids covered by insurance? Unfortunately, in most cases the answer is no. But insurance programs have varying rules for hearing care coverage. Most insurers cover the cost of diagnostic hearing exams to determine if you have hearing loss, but not all insurers will cover the cost of treatment.
If you need hearing aids, check with your insurance provider to see if your plan provides coverage for hearing loss treatment. If it doesn’t, you may qualify for assistance programs. You can also explore financing options that allow you to pay for the cost of hearing aids over an extended time, or shop for deals and discounts through hearing aid brands.
Hearing loss can affect your overall health, especially your emotional and mental health. If you’re noticing signs in your day-to-day life, like having trouble following conversations during dinner, go to an audiologist to get your hearing checked. You could be making a life-changing decision that will help you stay engaged with life and protect both your emotional and physical well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Goman AM, Lin FR. Prevalence of Hearing Loss by Severity in the United States. American Journal of Public Health. October 2016.
- FDA Finalizes Historic Rule Enabling Access to Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids for Millions of Americans. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. August 16, 2022.
- Eargo And Nationsbenefits Announce Strategic Partnership. Eargo Press Release. December 12, 2022.
- Medline and MDHearing Partner to Offer Consumers Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids. Medline News Room. February 2, 2023.
- Dingell, Fitzpatrick Reintroduce Bill Expanding Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage. Debbie Dingell.
- Reed NS, Assi L, Horiuchi W, et al. Medicare Beneficiaries With Self-Reported Functional Hearing Difficulty Have Unmet Health Care Needs. Health Aff (Millwood). May 2021.
- State Insurance Mandates for Hearing Aids. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Lieu JEC, Kenna M, Anne S, et al. Hearing Loss in Children: A Review. Journal of the American Medical Association. December 1, 2020.
- Hearing Aids. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. January 12, 2023.
- State Hearing Aid Insurance Laws. Hearing Loss Association of America.
- Hearing Aids Medical Clinical Policy. Aetna. October 8, 2022.
- When Can You Get Health Insurance? Healthcare.gov.
- Enrolling in Medicare Part A and Part B [PDF]. Medicare.gov. April 2016.
- Hearing aids. Medicare.gov.
- Hearing and Balance Exams. Medicare.gov.
- Medicare Advantage Plans Cover All Medicare Services. Medicare.gov.
- What Medicare Part D Drug Plans Cover. Medicare.gov.
- What's Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)? Medicare.gov.
- Medigap & Medicare Advantage Plans. Medicare.gov.
- Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment. Medicaid.gov.
- Medicaid. Hearing Loss Association of America.
- VA is America’s Largest Employer of Audiologists. VA News. May 18, 2020.
- Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Annual Benefits Report - Compensation - Fiscal Year 2020 [PDF]. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
- VA Disability Compensation. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
- Occupational Noise Exposure. United States Department of Labor.
- Pienkowski M. Loud Music and Leisure Noise Is a Common Cause of Chronic Hearing Loss, Tinnitus and Hyperacusis. Environmental Research and Public Health. March 15, 2021.
- Bill S2535 Sca (1R) Session 2022-2023. New Jersey Legislature.
- Issue Brief: Mandatory Offerings and Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) [PDF]. Plan Management Advisory Committee. March 14, 2014.
- Chapter 700c Health Insurance. Connecticut General Assembly.
- 100TH General Assembly. Illinois General Assembly. 2017 and 2018.
- Chapter 415 Accident and Health Insurance Section 415.6p. The General Court of New Hampshire. January 1, 2011.
- Chapter 415 Accident and Health Insurance Section 415:18-u. The General Court of New Hampshire. January 1, 2011.
- Title 27 Insurance, Chapter 18 Accident and Sickness Insurance Policies [PDF]. State of Rhode Island General Assembly.
- Oregon Health Plan (OHP) Benefits. Oregon Health Authority.
- Hearing Aids. Tricare.gov. March 20, 2022.
- How Can I Get Dental, Vision, and Hearing Coverage With My Medicare Supplement Plan? Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan.
- Cigna Medical Coverage Policy [PDF]. Cigna. November 15, 2022.
- About IDEA. U.S. Department of Education.
- Lawrence BJ, Jayakody DMP, Bennett RB, et al. Hearing Loss and Depression in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Gerontologist. April 2020.
- If You Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Social Security Administration.
- Huang AR, Jiang K, Lin F, et al. Hearing Loss and Dementia Prevalence in Older Adults in the US. Journal of the American Medical Association. January 10, 2023.