Does health insurance coverage for devices?

Hello everyone. I’m a student who is researching the coverage provided by insurance companies for hearing aids. Part of my fact finding mission is to find out why it appears that most insurance companies will cover the cost of a cochlear implant at $50-$100k but won’t cover hearing aids at $1-$5k (unless legally required to). If anyone would care to share their stories in trying to get an insurance company to cover all or part of the cost of their hearing aids or hearing aids of a loved one I would be interested in hearing everyones experiences. For anyone who has received a cochlear implant or had an immediate family member receive one your experiences with the insurance companies would be appreciated as well. Thank you all for your input and time in advance and I look forward to hearing from as many people as possible. For those who do not wish to post their experiences on here I can be e-mailed at hearingaidresearch1@gmail.com.

I have Blue Cross / Blue Shield in Texas. I was surprised recently to find that they cover hearing aids at $500 per ear every three years.

I just ordered a pair of hearing aids. The final cost was reduced $1000.

Jeff

Thank you for the reply jlgreer1. Out of curiosity, is your insurance provided through an employer? I only ask because there are no laws in Texas (that I’m aware of) that require hearing aid coverage.

I am a school teacher. We have had BC/BS for two years. I was actually very surprised that hearing aids had any coverage. The cost is very high though. My wife is also a teacher and we have two covered children. We pay almost $1000 per month in premiums. We expect a 20% or more increase next year due to Obammacare.

I have Blue Cross / Blue Shield in California. I also get $1000 insurance coverage every three years.
I am retired from City Government. They deduct money from my retirement check every month for insurance, not sure how much, that’s wife’s department…
I also expect it to go up until Obamacare is repealed…

This is interesting. Both of you have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and both live in states where there is no requirement for hearing aid coverage. I appreciate the information that both of you have provided. I’d be interested to hear from people who also have this insurance but not coverage for hearing aids. My theory is that you receive limited coverage for the devices but ultimately you pay for that coverage in your monthly premium which is inflated even more. I’ve spoken to other people who did the math and dropped the hearing aid provision on their health insurance because the amount they saved in reduced monthly insurance premiums was enough to pay for new devices out of pocket every two years. Regardless your input is invaluable. Thank you very much.

$400 every for years for my insurance. I called them up once to complain that they would pay for prosthetics but not hearing aids. I added that they would pay $5K+/ear for corrective ear surgery but not a lesser amount for an instrument. It’s like talking to a wall in my experience. I got even though and had the surgery in one ear, see my siggy!

BCBS in Arizona, no coverage.

Wow, there is a lot of variation here. I know that where I work the hearing aids can be replaced once if they are lost or broken during the warranty period (usually first 24 months). Has anyone else been able to go back to the manufacturer or back to where you received your hearing aids for replacements during the warranty period? If so what were your experiences?

I asked a customer service rep for Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield, my health insurance provider, why one ABC-BS customer on hearingaidforums.com reported that he or she had some coverage for hearing aids but there was no coverage for aids for other policyholders (like me)… was it, I asked, dependent on the policy arrangement with the employer?

Sometimes, she answered (because one employer can always pay for a higher policy level of coverage than another), but most commonly, she said, differences in things like whether there is some coverage for hearing aids on a health insurance policy comes down to whether or not the home state of the policyholder requires it as a legal mandate. If they don’t, it’s often not covered. If they do, it’s covered, but usually just at the legally state-mandated minimum. I have no idea whether that’s correct, OP, but it makes sense.

Hamjor, Unfortunately I’ve run across similar responses when I inquired as well. To be fair though, the larger health insurance companies seem to be more willing to pay for a portion of the aids (sometimes). The HMO plans I have looked at appear to cover no cost of hearing aids. I’m in no way saying one is better than the other, just stating what I’ve seen in print.

Cochlear Implants (& BAHAs I believe) are typically covered by insurance companies as those items are medical-surgery type items.

Regular old hearing aids are considered ‘cosmetic’ and are in the same category as glasses. Glasses are covered not by your medical insurance plan, but by a separate Vision Insurance plan (IF you have one).

My medical insurance covers hearing aids only for children under the age of 18 (or 24 if a full-time student), and they only do that because my state passed a law requiring insurance companies to do so.

I have United Health Care, and they covered 80% of my aids. No lifetime maximum. If due to accident, injury, or illness. The coverage is different for loss due to natural causes.

// due to accident, illness, or injury… but not natural causes?

Isn’t most natural hearing loss considered an illness?

I’ll bet the insurance company has the sole discretion as to what is natural.

Jeff

My insurance, which is very highly rated nationally, only covers 100 per aid, and I don’t know how often that little bit is available.

In 3 years, when I am eligible for Medicare, I will check policies very carefully to see what coverage, if any, is provided.

I got my aids last October, and lucky[?] for me, with the cost of the aids, I was able to deduct my medical expenses, which helped out quite a bit.

I have United Health Care, provided by my employer, the State of Colorado. They will pay up to $500.00 per hearing aid every three years if your Physician will recommend in writing that you should have hearing aids. My hearing aid provider confirmed this with the insurance company. At least that is something, but on a $6000.00 bill for two advanced digital instruments it isn’t much.

I’m self employed and have Keystone health plan. Not a penny for hearing aids. My policy for myself,wife and 2 children costs 2,100.00 per month.:eek:

Don

There is less coverage for loss due to natural causes. I just assumed that meant age related hearing loss, or gradual loss due to aging. I did provide my Hearing Center and ins co with documentation.

Bigbeck,

I ran a consulting business for fifteen years. Finding insurance with decent coverage at any cost was a challenge.

Jeff

jlgreer1, what type of consulting business did you run?