Although hundreds of Americans are diagnosed with hearing loss every day, a few are not able to get the correction they need due to the high costs of hearing aids. Even those with full health coverage are shocked to discover that their insurance does not cover the full cost—or sometimes any portion—of the hearing device they desperately need.
Why Don’t Insurance Companies Cover Hearing Aids?
There are many reasons why insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, many of them revolving around the best interests of the insurer rather than the patient:
- Numbers. Hearing loss has been on the rise in recent years. Insurance companies take the high costs of low-risk injuries and spread them out over a large population, allowing everyone to pay a lower amount for coverage. But as more and more Americans reach retirement age, the need for new devices would send the number of claims through the roof, bankrupting the insurance company.
- State Laws. Some states do require that health insurance cover hearing aids. However, of the 19 states that mandate coverage, only New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Arkansas require coverage for adults. Insurance companies may be required to offer hearing aids for children, but most adults will find that only the cost of the exam is covered—leaving them with a positive diagnosis and no access to a cure.
- The “Elective Benefits” Loophole. Insurance companies do not have to cover “elective” benefits, such as non-essential surgeries and some assistive devices. However, many patients with hearing loss cannot perform everyday tasks—including driving, working, or interacting with others—without assistance. Making it more difficult to get hearing aids can negatively impact patients’ mental and physical health, causing them to lose their jobs and rely on government assistance much earlier than they would have with a hearing device.
- Profits. Insurance companies are ultimately in business to make money. Even when devices are covered, they will usually provide only the cheapest devices or a small discount (a tenth of the average cost) toward the device of your choosing.
Our Financing Options Make It Easy to Get the Hearing Device Best Suited for You
Until hearing aids are considered necessary to a person’s health and wellbeing, insurance companies aren’t likely to offer full coverage for devices. At Collier Otolaryngology Hearing Center, we know that many people are forced to choose the hearing aids they can afford, rather than the ones they want. That is why we offer many flexible financing options (including CareCredit) to give our patients complete freedom when choosing a device. Come and visit us today to see our selection and get fitted with your new hearing aid!