Does Blue Cross Blue Shield Cover Hearing Aids?
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Blue Cross Blue Shield doesn’t cover hearing aids in many of its standard HMO and PPO plans, but it does offer supplemental options for its Medicare plans that may provide coverage for some or all related costs. Blue Cross Blue Shield has a wide variety of plans for both Medicare and non-Medicare policyholders, but the coverage for some policies may seem unclear, especially the non-Medicare policies. Some plans may only cover the specialist appointment or hearing test, while others may cover all costs, including hearing aids.
Because hearing-loss sufferers currently must visit an audiologist or ENT to obtain hearing aids, the costs associated with that process add to the total price. Patients must first undergo a hearing test before the specialist can program the devices to compensate for their signature hearing-loss frequencies. In addition to this, the advanced technology in digital hearing aids makes them expensive, which is why Medicare and most private insurance companies don’t cover them and why many without insurance coverage can’t afford them.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Plans That Cover Hearing Aids
Federal policies govern Medicare Part A and Part B, which don’t include coverage for hearing aids. Many private insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, offer a Medicare Part C plan that adds additional coverage. Here are some of the plans that cover hearing aids:
Supplemental Plans for BCN Advantage
BCN Advantage is a Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO plan that offers the option to add additional coverage for vision, dental and hearing care. Policyholders who opt-in pay a 50% coinsurance payment for one hearing exam per year and receive up to $1,250 per ear for hearing aids every three years but must pay an additional 50% coinsurance payment for the devices.
Medicare Plus Blue
The following Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare PPO plans cover hearing aids and exams every three years:
- PPO Assure
- PPO Signature
- PPO Vitality
PPO Essential doesn’t cover hearing aids or exams.
Blue Elite or Legacy Medigap
Seniors who have the Medicare Supplement plan Blue Elite — or have Legacy Medigap plans that don’t already include dental, vision and hearing care — can add this coverage. The Dental Vision Hearing Package covers one hearing aid per ear every 12 months through the TruHearing network with graduated coinsurance payments.
Since non-Medicare plans are not regulated by federal policies, they can vary from state to state. Many states have special programs for federal employees and other groups through Blue Cross Blue Shield that provide hearing-aid coverage. Because of this, those interested in finding out about Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage through non-Medicare plans should contact a local insurance agent who would be aware of local programs and state policies that would help people with hearing loss find hearing-aid coverage.