Have you been diagnosed with hearing loss and explored your hearing aid options? Chances are if you looked into getting your hearing aids covered through insurance, you’ve been disappointed in what you’ve found. The truth is, insurance companies rarely cover the cost of hearing aids. The good news is, that could be changing.
Hearing health is crucial
Once downplayed as just a part of aging, we now know just how big an impact hearing loss can have on our health and well-being.
Almost 40 million adults in the United States report hearing loss and millions more could be living with hearing loss without even knowing it. What’s more concerning is that when hearing loss goes untreated, it could be life-changing in more ways than one. Research has shown that untreated hearing loss puts individuals at higher risk for:
- Cognitive decline
Not to mention the impact it can have on communication, relationships, blood pressure and even healthcare costs!
While many are unaware they have hearing loss, or know they have hearing loss but avoid treating it, others recognize the importance of seeking help from a hearing healthcare practitioner and getting hearing aids. However, the cost itself of hearing aids can be a barrier. One that some states are hoping to remove now and in the very near future.
New Maine law offers hope
As of January 1, 2020, Maine has joined the growing list of states requiring private insurance companies to cover the cost of hearing aids. The law, which covers both the private insurance companies and the state’s Medicaid program, will cover the cost of hearing aids up to $3,000 per ear every three years.
“Insurance coverage is not keeping pace with what we are discovering about the impact of hearing loss on an individual’s health,” Rep. James Handy, the bill’s sponsor, said.
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, up until now, only four states (Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) required health insurance to help cover the cost of hearing aids for both children and adults. Less than 20 states required plans to cover hearing aids for children. Even with the coverage, the cost could often be a barrier as amounts, percentages, and requirements vary widely from state to state.
For the over 150,000 Maine residents with hearing loss, this new law is welcome news. For those across the country with hearing loss, it is a sign of change and offers hope that one day soon, their insurance may help cover the cost of hearing aids.
Hearing aid help is on the way
This new legislation in Maine isn’t the only sign that views on covering hearing aids are changing. More states could soon be following suit, and even some healthcare providers, like UnitedHealthcare, are making it more affordable for subscribers to manage their hearing health with hearing aid benefits.
If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss, don’t wait to seek treatment. There are affordable options that can help you invest in your hearing health now to prevent higher costs down the road.