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Ask MNCDHH: Tell Me about Hearing Aids (Part 2)

You ask, we answer

10/12/2017 10:00:00 AM

A man faces the camera with a serious facial expression. He has a beard, mustache, and is wearing business attire.

MNCDHH received many similar questions about hearing aids, insurance coverage, and affordability. To address a topic that many people have questions about, we decided to create a three-part series on hearing aids.

Part 2: Hearing aids for adults and insurance coverage

In theory, any health insurance could potentially cover hearing aids and hearing health. However, most insurance plans do not. For example, Medicare does not cover hearing aids while Medicaid does.

The very first thing you should do is contact your insurance company and ask them about hearing aid coverage.

Below is information that we hope will be helpful to you. 

If you purchase private insurance and you are not of Medicare age (typically 65+)

For personal insurance purchased through the state or national exchange, hearing aids insurance is not an “Essential Health Benefit,” so it is not mandated by law. Those private plans from the exchange most likely will not offer any hearing aid insurance coverage. 

If you would like to see it become state law for private insurance companies to cover hearing health care, please write to your legislators and let them know.

If you have insurance through your employer

For employer-sponsored health insurance, each company determines what services they want to be covered and what percentage is covered, or co-pay is required. Of course, the smaller the copay or, the smaller the deductible, the more expensive the premiums will be. Also, the more medical coverage the plan offers, the more expensive it will be. Most employer-sponsored health plans do not include hearing aid coverage. 

However, we recommend that you advocate with your Human Resources department to see if they would be willing to add hearing health, and hearing aids in particular, to their coverage plan. See this post by ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) to see the model coverage for hearing aids and hearing health.

If you are a vet with service-related hearing loss

In addition, if you are a veteran and you have a hearing loss that is a service-related injury, the VA does provide hearing aids. Visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services page for more information.

Additional information

Special thanks to Mary Bauer from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division (DHHSD) for her help with the hearing aid newsletter series.

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