A lot of us take our hearing for granted. The hum of the car, the buzz of lights, even the low rumble of conversation in a crowded space… but what happens when all of that sound suddenly dims or goes away? According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, hearing loss is one of the most common physical conditions, following behind arthritis and heart disease. Hearing loss affects 48 million people in America, almost 20% of the population.
Unfortunately, only one in five individuals diagnosed with hearing loss will get the relief they need from hearing aids. Cost is the most common factor in not moving forward with purchasing hearing aids, according to Medical Xpress. Uncertainty, or lack of understanding, of insurance coverage contributes significantly to the issue.
When learning that they have a hearing loss and need auditory assistance from hearing aids, my Lake Charles patients are shocked at the price. “How will I pay for them?” Since many patients have Cigna healthcare insurance, the question then becomes, “Does my Cigna insurance cover hearing aids?” This question has many answers depending on your plan type. The percentage of coverage is also something to think about when purchasing hearing aids. Luckily, there are a lot of options when going through this process, and we’re here to help.
The vast majority of people with a hearing loss fall in the 65+ age range, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). The official statistic is one in three people between 65-74 and half of the 75+ population! All these people are Medicare eligible, but unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of hearing aids or even fittings for them. Luckily, other insurance companies do provide various types of coverage for hearing aids.
Cigna-HealthSpring Advantage (HMO)
The health maintenance organization (HMO) option gives members a network of doctors, specialists, and facilities to choose from. If you have an HMO plan but choose to go outside of that network, your coverage becomes limited. The Healthspring Advantage plan covers $700 per ear every three years and a free routine hearing exam every year—within your network, of course.
Cigna-HealthSpring Preferred (PPO)
The preferred provider organization (PPO) insurance plan is less restrictive than HMOs by allowing members to choose their own doctors, specialists, and facilities. There are still out-of-network costs associated if you decide to use providers who are not a part of the network. The Cigna-HealthSpring Preferred plan offers hearing aids once every three years at the same $700 per year maximum coverage.
Exclusive Provider Network (EPOs)
Cigna also offers exclusive provider network (EPO) plans, which vary by state and level of coverage. These plans are somewhat of a hybrid between HMO and PPO, being slightly more flexible than the HMO plan, but still have out-of-pocket expenses if you go outside the plan’s network. Hearing aids are covered under Cigna’s EPO plan, but coverage varies depending on location and if you chose to add the option for hearing care and hearing aids.
Let Acadian Hearing Services Help You
Determining if your health care covers hearing aids is a complicated process. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), only 23 states require insurance carriers to cover hearing aids, and that’s only for children under 18 years of age. Only a handful of those 23 states have provisions to cover adults as well. Extensive research is usually required to understand the extent that Cigna might cover you.
Let our qualified team at Acadian Hearing Services take the research and stress off your back by helping you determine the level of coverage Cigna can provide you. We can get started once you fill out our online insurance coverage check form. Whether your coverage includes only hearing tests or the full hearing care package, we’re here for you every step of the way.
Dr. Heidi J. Sorrells obtained her doctorate degree from Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota. She is a certified Audiologist by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and she holds a Louisiana and a Texas Audiology License. Dr. Sorrells enjoys all aspects of working in a private practice audiology clinic but especially loves the challenges of vestibular (balance) assessment and rehabilitation.