When Medicare was enacted back in 1965, hearing aids were not included in the coverage.
At the time, technology was not as advanced and aids for hearing were considered low in cost. Typically most Americans needed them as they became older, and life expectancy wasn’t what it is today.
Every year millions of Americans want to know if Medicare rules will be updated to include hearing aid costs themselves.
Why Is The Cost So High?
Some states have laws supporting hearing aids for children, but in general most insurance do not cover the cost. Why is that?
Typically hearing aids can cost anywhere from $1000 to $6000 for each device. You would think that over time with the advancement of technology in the last decade that prices would significantly decrease. Yet, they have not.
This is in part because there are only 6 primary manufacturers of hearing aids. Additionally, clinics need to make a profit, so they mark the prices of hearing aids up significantly as well. By the time the consumer receives the devices with the proper setup, the costs have become far from affordable for most families.
In fact, Consumer reports has shown that the markup on hearing aids is well beyond 100%.
Are There Other Solutions?
If Medicare doesn’t cover the costs, and audiologists mark up the prices so high, what other options are there?
1. Costco Stores
Costco always has specials for members on valuable services, and hearing aids is one of the largest markets for Costco to offer.
In fact 11% of all hearing aids sold are Costco’s own proprietary brand of Kirkland.
Starting at just shy of $1500 per pair (Not per device). This is probably one of the most economical ways to improve hearing on a budget.
The quality as attested by many customers reviewing the product, is beyond satisfactory for industry standards.
An online solution that most audiologists will shutter is MdHearingAid.
Part of the reason for this is the fact that the prices are much lower, and the whole experience can be completed online rather than in person.
Even if you are told that the quality of the hearing aids are inferior, the devices sold at MDHearingAid are FDA approved.
The reason they can offer a less expensive solution, is the fact that they have no brick and mortar business, and their offers are based on sales at scale.
While not a manufacturer of hearing aids, TruHearing could be viewed as a supplemental method for finding better hearing aid prices.
As a company, they work with insurance providers, and manufacturers such as Starkey, Signia, Oticons, and Widex to provide lower prices for consumers.
Will Insurance Start Covering Hearing Aids?
Medicare hasn’t had any proposal for change on including insurance as of 2020, and most insurances aren’t required to provide the service within their plans in almost all states.
If healthcare reform picks up steam again, there is a possibility that hearing aids may get included into future plans offered, but currently it seems quite unlikely to change until the spotlight is placed on how many individuals in the USA need assistance with hearing devices.