There are so many different kinds of insurance programs out there, many of which seem to change year to year. If you are confused, you’re not alone! We have asked the HES Insurance Specialist, Valerie Schmidt to share with us some frequently asked questions she receives when it comes to insurance – and some helpful answers:
What does insurance typically cover?
Nearly all insurances cover baseline hearing tests. There is no minimum age requirement. Other diagnostic tests are typically covered as well. This would include balance or dizziness tests or more extensive hearing testing, if necessary. There are also several different ways that insurance companies support hearing aids but there is a wide variety of ways they go about it. It all depends on your insurance program.
Are Hearing Aids covered by Insurance?
There are a wide variety of programs for hearing aids, depending on the individual insurance company and specific insurance policy. Some companies allocate a certain amount they will contribute towards hearing aids. Others participate with hearing aid discount programs, but unfortunately these programs can be extremely limiting in the type of device a patient can receive with very limited choices. Many patients will also use their flex dollars towards their hearing aids or use it to upgrade to a more advanced device than what their insurance covered.
What is the difference between a hearing aid benefit and a hearing aid discount program?
A hearing aid benefit is money paid by the insurance company to pay all or part of the cost of any hearing aid the patient chooses. It is similar to how insurance companies cover costs towards eye glasses. A hearing aid discount program gives the patient access to hearing aids at a reduced price that the patient pays for entirely. The insurance company pays nothing. These discount programs often have a very limited selection available with limited services included.
Can I use flex dollars towards hearing aids?
Yes! Flex dollars can be used towards hearing devices and any custom ear mold offered through Hearing Evaluation Services. Many patients use this as a way to upgrade from their basic insurance contribution to get a hearing device with some of the newest technological features – such as Bluetooth connectivity, functional smart phone apps, and rechargeable batteries.
What’s the biggest misconception when it comes to insurance coverage?
Unfortunately, some people think that access to discounted hearing aids is the same as an insurance benefit. It’s not. Since the insurance company does not actually contribute to the cost of the hearing aids, the patient pays the whole bill. Additionally, many of these plans try to limit where patients can go to get their hearing aids and they work with high pressure sales companies. When you come to HES, we will check your insurance and make sure you know all your options, we honor your insurance benefits or discounts, and we never use high pressure tactics.
If you have any questions about your insurance program, we encourage you to call Valerie Schmidt at 716-833-4488, or you can attend one of our upcoming complimentary insurance seminars.