Whether you are enjoying a conversation with family and friends or need to understand important information, hearing is a critical element in daily living. Medical Xpress notes that only 20 percent of individuals diagnosed with hearing loss receive the assistance they require from hearing aids. Two factors contributing to this sad statistic are the costs involved with hearing aids and a lack of certainty when it comes to insurance coverage.
When patients in my Lake Charles practice learn that they need hearing aids to help correct hearing loss, they are often bewildered by the price of hearing aids. My patients with VA Veterans Choice Program (VCP) insurance are usually quick to ask, “Does VA Choice insurance cover hearing aids?” Answering that question requires looking into plan types, age, and other factors. What level or percentage of coverage is available will also help to determine what assistance they can expect to receive toward purchasing hearing aids.
Medicare Plans and VA Choice
“Approximately one in three people in the United States between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss,” reports the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). “And nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.” The majority of individuals who need hearing aids are within the Medicare eligible age range, but Medicare does not cover hearing aids. To help with this issue, most insurance companies provide Medicare supplements to help with hearing aid coverage. The VA Veterans Choice Program does not work in the same way as typical insurance supplements.
Many Medicare eligible veterans choose to have both plans, which is perfectly fine, but the two do not work together. Medicare Interactive lays out how benefits and coverage works for individuals who have both plans:
In order for your VA coverage to cover your care, you must generally receive health care services at a VA facility.
In order for Medicare to cover your care, you must receive care at a Medicare-certified facility that works with your Medicare coverage.
VA benefits will not pay for Medicare cost-sharing (deductibles, copayments, coinsurances).
The advantage of having both plans occurs if the VA authorizes services in a non-VA hospital, but does not pay for all included services, but Medicare may pay for the services they cover. You can take advantage of this increased flexibility by enrolling in Medicare Part B.
VA Choice Hearing Aids Coverage
Hearing loss is among the covered health care benefits of VA Choice enrolled veterans. Among the available options are hearing exams and hearing aids. Coverage includes free or discounted hearing care (including hearing aids) and/or monthly tax-free disability benefits. According to Healthy Hearing, there is a list of conditions, which almost guarantee coverage for hearing aid care, including but not limited to:
Any Compensable Service-Connected Disability
Former Prisoners of War
Purple Heart Recipients
Eligible Under 38 U.S.C. 1151
Hearing Impairment Resulting for Other Medical Condition Under VA Treatment
These are not the only criteria included among VA Choice hearing aid benefits. VA Veterans Choice Program coverage and benefits include plenty of complications and confusion, making it difficult to know exactly how much coverage is available.
How Acadian Hearing Service Can Help
We know that the cost of hearing aids makes it difficult for the majority of our patients with hearing loss to pay for them without some form of assistance. Adding to the confusion is the uncertainty of whether or not VA Choice insurance provides any coverage benefits for auditory devices. The Acadian Hearing Services team provides assistance in finding out if your plan coverage includes hearing tests, premium technology, or complete hearing care.
Regardless of whether they are sure or unsure of what benefits and level of coverage for hearing aids are available from their VA Choice plan, I advise my Lake Charles patients to fill out the online insurance coverage form. This allows us to provide them with all of the hearing aid related benefits they can expect from their VA Choice insurance coverage.
Contact us in order to learn about all of the different hearing assessment, balance, and best-in-class hearing technology solutions available from Acadian Hearing Services in the Lake Charles, LA area.
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.