Health & Wellness
If you’ve put off getting a hearing aid because of the cost — they start at approximately $1,000 and go up from there — then you’ll like what’s popping up in some popular Medicare Advantage Plans.
Many of the area’s Medicare Advantage Plans have started to pay all or most of the cost of hearing aids, with some requiring no out-of-pocket expenses, although the choice of hearing aid may be limited, says Bridgid Whitford, director of Hearing Services at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center.
Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, and that’s been a huge complaint among enrollees. Traditional Medicare covers basic medical services. Medicare Advantage Plans offer extra medical coverage, typically for a monthly premium.
“These Medicare Advantage Plans are increasing accessibility to hearing healthcare on a scale we haven’t seen before,” Whitford says.
Only 25 percent of the people who need hearing aids use them. Cost is a barrier for many.
“These plans are really making a dent in the hearing aid market, resulting in the cost to consumers going down,” Whitford says.
With a growing population of people becoming eligible for Medicare, Advantage Plan administrators are competing for customers. Providing hearing aid coverage is a good way to attract clients, she says.
“Baby Boomers are expecting to be able to afford to hear, and they are influencing a market shift in the hearing aid industry,” she says....