Does Anthem Cover Hearing Aids?
- Some Anthem Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may cover hearing aids, though plan benefits may vary and aren't available in all areas. Original Medicare (Parts A and B) don't cover hearing aids.
Around 15% of Americans over 18 have at least some hearing loss, with the frequency of this issue rising with age. About 50% of Americans over age 75 experience hearing problems or deafness in one or both ears. Hearing aids are a solution that can help restore normal hearing levels and increase the quality of life.
However, hearing aids can be expensive, and many people wonder if health insurance covers the costs. Does Anthem health insurance cover hearing aids? Learn the answer to this pressing question in the sections below.
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When Does Anthem Pay for Hearing Aids?
Some Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan might. All Medicare Advantage Plans must provide the same benefits as Medicare Parts A and B, but some plans offer additional services. Additional coverage may include things like prescription costs and dental, vision and hearing services.
Not all Anthem plans cover hearing aids, and Original Medicare doesn't typically cover routine hearing care, including hearing aids.
Finding an Anthem Medicare Advantage Plan With Hearing Aid Coverage
Not all Medicare Advantage Plans provide coverage for hearing services, but some do. For example, the Anthem Blue Cross CalPERS Select HMO Plan covers one pair of hearing aids every 3 years. If help paying for hearing aids is important to you, conduct thorough research and compare options in your state.
How Does Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Work?
Medicare hearing aid coverage works by paying a percentage of service costs up to your plan's maximum benefit amount. Each plan provides different coverage percentages and benefit amounts, so it's essential to read your insurance documents to understand how much will be covered. For example, one plan may cover 60% of hearing-related services, up to $2,000 annually. So, if your hearing aids cost $2,000, insurance would cover $1,200 of the costs, and you would need to pay $600 out of pocket.
However, the maximum benefit amount is for all hearing-related services. So, you'd also need to consider the costs of a hearing exam, batteries, repairs and related services to determine how much you'd end up paying out of pocket.
How Much Do Hearing Aids Cost Out of Pocket?
Hearing aids are an advanced technology that can cost thousands of dollars, which is why many insurance plans don't cover them. However, the exact price of hearing aids will vary significantly based on the brand, your location, your unique needs and other factors.
Saving Money on Hearing Aid Costs
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can save money on hearing aids if you have to pay out of pocket:
- Look at online hearing aid providers.
- Purchase a supplemental insurance policy for hearing services.
- Consider leasing or subscription plans to spread payments out over time.
- Check out direct-to-buyer hearing aid options.
- Ask about military, first responder, educator or healthcare provider discounts (if applicable).
- See if you can receive a discount through a club or organization you belong to.
- Investigate charitable resources for hearing aid funding or assistance.
You should also ask what options are included in the price when getting hearing aid quotes. Bundled options will usually include additional things in the price, like batteries and the hearing aid exam. Unbundled options are priced strictly for the hearing aids, but they typically come with starter batteries. While bundled hearing aid services are often more convenient, they aren't always more cost-effective.
Hearing Aids and the Medical Tax Deduction
Hearing aids are an eligible expense when filing for a medical tax deduction on your annual taxes. While this won't save you money at the time, it can help you get reimbursed for some related costs. However, to qualify for this tax deduction, you must:
- Itemize your medical expenses
- Have paid at least 7.5% of your annual income towards medical or dental expenses
Besides hearing aids, you can claim several other medical and dental costs toward this deduction. Examples of eligible expenses include dentures, insurance payments, copays and prescription costs. You can get a maximum amount back through this deduction, which varies based on your tax bracket.
According to the Administration of Community Living, the average income for an older couple is about $54,000. In this scenario, the couple would have to spend at least $4,050 on medical costs to claim a medical deduction on their taxes.