9 ways to pay for hearing aids

02/04/2016

9-ways-to-pay-for-has
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by Nancy Salim

Finding ways to pay for hearing aids, especially if you’re on a tight budget, can be a challenge. But given the benefits associated with better hearing—including improved mood, productivity, emotional well-being and more—they pay for themselves in more ways than one. You may be able to take advantage of some of the following options:

Private pay. Let’s start here first. Paying out of pocket with your own purchasing power. Hearing care professionals accept all major credit cards, allowing you to pay for your purchase privately.

Private insurers. Many private insurance companies don’t cover hearing aids, but if you live in New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Arkansas, you’re in luck— if you have an insurance benefit in these states they require insurers to provide coverage for adults. New Hampshire insurance companies are required to cover the cost of no less than $1,500 per hearing aid once every five years. Rhode Island requires individual and group insurance policies to provide $700 coverage per individual hearing aid every three years for those over age 19. Insurance companies in Arkansas are required to offer coverage to employers in the state and if a company takes advantage of this, the plan must cover no less than $1,400 per ear every three years.

Obamacare & the Affordable Care Act (ACA)Through the Affordable Care Act, there are a few states with some coverage for hearing aids and related services. The ACA is the new health care reform law in America which gives Americans access to a number of new benefits, rights and protections, which ensure that they can get treatment when they need it. You can find more information by state from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Health care flexible spending accounts (FSA). An FSA is an employer sponsored benefit that enables employees to set aside pre-tax dollars out of their paycheck to pay for eligible health care expenses. Monies put into the plan avoid both Federal Income Tax and FICA. Unused funds don’t typically rollover into the following calendar year so they need to be used before they expire. Through this account, the cost of a hearing aid and batteries can be reimbursed. Don’t have an FSA? There are other accounts employers offer that work in the same way as an FSA, like Dependent Care Accounts (DCA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA).

Financing options. Financing is another option to those who qualify. If you qualify for financing, you can pay off your hearing aid purchase over time for a set dollar amount per month over a preset term which may be interest free.

State vocational rehabilitation programs. If your income is low, there are several programs and foundations that provide financial assistance for hearing aids to people in need. Start by calling your state vocational rehabilitation department to find out if there are any city, county or state programs, or local civic organizations that could help. Visit http://parac.org/svrp.html for a list of vocational rehabilitation programs by state.

Veteran benefits. If a hearing loss can be proven to be severe, veterans can get the cost of their hearing aids covered through the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Veterans also get coverage if their hearing loss is connected to military service or to a medical condition treated at a VA hospital.

Federal employee assistance. If you’re a federal employee, you and your family can receive coverage on certain insurance plans. The insurance pays for a basic hearing aid.

Medicare and Medicaid. At this time Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids. However, because Medicare laws are continually changing, it’s always a good idea to double check coverage details before making any medical decisions. Medicaid, however often covers hearing aids, depending on each state’s requirements. The Hearing Loss Association of America’s website has more information on state coverage, http://www.hearingloss.org/content/medicaid-regulations.

For more information on nonprofit organizations that provide financial assistance for hearing aids, contact the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
 
 
If you’d like to be connected to a hearing care professional in your area, call 888.902.9310. Find a clinic online.

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