Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Hearing Aids?
- If your hearing isn't the greatest, you may be wondering, "Does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover hearing aids?" Get answers to this question and other related concerns.
One in three adults between ages 65 and 74 have some level of hearing loss, while about half of those over the age of 75 do. For those who struggle to hear as well as they once did, hearing aids can help. Hearing aids are battery-operated devices that sit inside the ear to amplify sounds, similar to a personal-sized microphone.
More than 106 million Americans are covered under Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) health insurance, which isn't a single company but rather a federation of at least 36 different health insurance companies sometimes referred to as the Anthem family of brands.
For older adults who struggle with hearing loss, a common concern is whether Blue Cross Blue Shield covers the costs of hearing aids. Continue reading below to learn the answer.
When Do Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans Pay for Hearing Aids?
Most standard Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO and HMO plans don't cover hearing aid costs, but many BCBS Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans have the option of adding supplemental coverage that could help cover hearing aids and other necessary medical devices. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover testing or visits to an audiologist but don't cover the hearing aids themselves.
Digital hearing aids use advanced technology to help solve hearing deficits. These devices must be made to fit the person wearing them comfortably and solve their specific hearing problems. Since this technology is so advanced, hearing aids tend to be expensive, so Blue Cross Blue Shield (and many other health insurance companies) don't always provide coverage for them.
Which Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans Cover Hearing Aids?
The Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plans available vary based on where you live, making this a complex answer to determine. The available supplemental plans covering hearing aids also vary based on location. You can request a free plan quote online for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare plans available where you live.
The easiest way to determine which plans will provide full or partial coverage for hearing aids is to research the options in your area. You may need to read each plan's coverage in detail, or you may be able to find a comprehensive listing by plan online.
For example, some Michigan residents have access to the Medicare Plus PPO plan, which usually provides complete coverage for both hearing aids and exams every 3 years. However, if you need to see an audiologist or replace your hearing aids more frequently, you might be responsible for some costs.1
Additionally, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan (Plan C) may provide some coverage for either hearing aids or the associated exams. Enrollees who participate in the Blue Cross Medicare Supplement Plan or Legacy Medigap Plan can add the Dental, Vision, Hearing Package to their existing plan. Although this package does cover hearing aids and exams, you'll pay an extra fee each month for the supplemental coverage.
How Much Does a Hearing Aid Cost Out-Of-Pocket?
Without insurance coverage, hearing aids can cost up to several thousand dollars. The high costs are one of the reasons many insurance companies don't cover them.
However, a few options are available to help you pay for hearing aids or reduce associated costs if your Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance doesn't cover them. These include:
- Shopping around for deals
- Comparing bundled (all-inclusive) and unbundled hearing aid packages
- Check online for deals
- Consider purchasing supplemental insurance coverage
- Choose a basic, more affordable model
- See if any organizations you're a member of offer discounts
- See if military, first responder, and other discounts are available (if applicable)
Are Hearing Aids Tax Deductible?
Hearing aids can be tax deductible if you itemize your medical expenses, as they do count toward these costs. However, your medical expenses must be at least 7.5% of your adjusted income to receive any deductions or money back. Many medical expenses are eligible for itemization.
For example, say your total adjusted annual income, filing a joint income with your spouse, was $54,698. This was the average income for older persons in 2019. Your medical expenses would need to be at least $4,102 to qualify for a deduction. If hearing aids cost you $6,000, you would already be eligible for this deduction.
However, there is a limit to the medical expense deduction you're allowed. This amount varies based on your total income and other considerations, so it's essential to work with a tax professional if you plan on itemizing these costs.
Find out more about how to find Medicare hearing aid coverage and compare plans available where you live.
Blue Cross Blue Shield. https://www.bcbsm.com/medicare/help/understanding-plans/dental-hearing-vision/aids.html.