Have you been told you need hearing aids? Do you want them but think you can’t afford them? Have you been told your insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids and you think there is no where else to turn? You are not alone. Many people only think of insurance when they think of hearing aid coverage. And most insurance policies don’t cover hearing aids. What a lot of people don’t realize is there are other sources of funding out there that can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some programs can even help you get free hearing aids if you qualify. This article will cover some common and not so common sources of financial help for obtaining hearing aids. To get a muama enence device, you can browse multiple online sources.
Insurance: Most insurance policies do not cover hearing aids for adults. Many will cover hearing aids for children, however. Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have benefits. If you do have benefits, be sure to get the coverage details. Some companies require you to go to specific providers they have negotiated contracts with. Some have limits as to how many hearing aids you are allowed or how often hearing aids may be purchased. Also keep in mind your insurance carrier may not pay for the hearing aids you want. They may only pay for budget priced aids.
Medicaid/Medicare: At this time, Medicare does not cover hearing aids. Medicaid, however, often will cover hearing aids depending on the state you live in. Check with your local medicaid provider to see what benefits you may have. Typically, Medicaid will only cover a lower end priced hearing aid, so don’t expect top-of-the-line.
Department of Vocational Rehabilitation: The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is an often overlooked source of funding. Each state has a department that assists people with disabilities in finding and maintaining jobs. DVR will often pay for hearing aids in full if you qualify. You must be fit by a provider who participates with DVR. You will need to see a DVR counselor who will coordinate your case. Go to http:lowvision.org/vocational_rehabilitation.htm to find your state’s DVR site for more information.
HearNow: HearNow is a national nonprofit program for United States citizens. Its purpose is to provide low income residents with free hearing aids. You can apply online for a HearNow hearing aid but you must also find an audiologist or dispenser who participates with HearNow to fit the hearing aid for you. These professionals volunteer their services for fitting the aids and follow up. They do not get paid for these services. To apply and get more information go to www.sotheworldmayhear.org/hearnow
Hearing Aid Banks: Hearing aid banks are volunteer clinics that may assist you in getting very low cost hearing aids. Most are located in Kentucky but there are a few in other states. More information can be found at http:kcdhh.ky.gov/ois/aidbanks.html
Veterans Administration: If you are a veteran, you may be eligible for free or reduced cost hearing aids through the VA. For more information go to www.va.gov
Lions Club: Your local Lions Club may be able to assist with your hearing aid purchase. Go to www.LionsClubs.org for more information.
First Steps: First Steps is an early intervention program for children ages birth to three years. Most states have an early intervention program that is government sponsored. In many states it is called First Steps. Financial assistance for healthcare, including hearing aids, is often provided. Check with your state social services for more information.
Esco “HELP” card: The HELP card is a financing program that lets you choose the hearing aids YOU want. You must first find an audiologist or dispenser who participates with ESCO. He or she will then provide you with an applicaiton and will submit it for you. If approved, you will then purchase the hearing aids you want and use the HELP card to make monthly payments. For more information go to http://www.earserv.com/financing.htm
Sertoma International: Sertoma International is a nationwide organization of civic service clubs whose focus is on hearing and speech health. Some of their clubs work with local nonprofit organizations to fund hearing aids for those who need help. You can go to http://www.sertoma.org/netcommunity/page.aspx?pid=3358srcid=190
Tech Act Grantee Offices: In 1998 the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act was passed. This act provides grants to states to make assistive technology accessible to people with disabilities. Many times this assistive technology includes hearing aids and hearing aid funding, loans, etc. One example is the Kentucky Assistive Tecnhology Service (KATS) which operates under the Tech Act. KATS grants eligible Kentucky residents with very low-interest loans for medical devices, including hearing aids. To see what your state offers go to http://dreamms.org/page2/techact.htm
Finally, there a couple of bills that have been drafted in the House and the Senate that would provide a $500 tax credit per aid every five years. The House version stipulates that this credit would be available to individuals age 55 years and older or to those purchasing for a dependent. Those making over $200,000 would be excluded. The Senate version has no age restrictions. To get more information and to write your Senate and House representative about sponsoring these bills go to www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org