Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
Although one in six Australians suffers from hearing loss, only one in five who would benefit from a hearing aid use one.
So, why don’t people help themselves and look after their hearing by getting hearing aids? Is it because hearing aids are too expensive, or is it the stigma surrounding them? What if you could get hearing aids subsidised?
Today we’ll discuss whether Medicare covers hearing aids and what that means for your hearing health.
How do Hearing Aids Work?
Contrary to popular belief, hearing aids are small electronic devices that amplify sound to improve hearing; they don’t recover your hearing.
Although there are different styles of hearing aids, all hearing aids are made up of three parts:
- A microphone that collects sound in the environment,
- An amplifier that boosts the sound level,
- And a speaker that transmits the enhanced signal to your ear.
What is Medicare?
Medicare is the Australian government scheme that gives Australian residents access to healthcare. It provides those enrolled a range of health and hospital services at no or low cost.
You can use your Medicare card when
- Making a claim for a paid or unpaid doctor’s account
- Visiting a doctor who bulk bills
- Receiving treatment as a public patient in a public hospital
Those eligible for Medicare benefits include
- Australian and New Zealand citizens
- Australian permanent residents
- If you have applied for permanent residency (some conditions apply)
- Citizens or permanent residents of Norfolk Island, Cocos Islands, Christmas Island or Lord Howe Island
- If you are covered by a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with another country
Does Medicare Cover Hearing Aids?
Now that we’ve discovered that Medicare covers a range of health services, does it cover hearing aids?
In short, no, Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids.
Does Medicare cover hearing tests?
In some cases, yes, Medicare can cover hearing tests. This only applies if you’ve been recommended by your doctor or another physician.
So, you can’t go to a hearing clinic without a referral from a health professional and expect Medicare to cover the costs.
Hearing Services Program
If you don’t want to pay full price for hearing aids, there is an alternative, the Hearing Services Program.
The Hearing Services Program (HSP) is a Government initiative that provides eligible people with subsidised hearing services and hearing aids through selected hearing care providers.
Through the Hearing Services Program, you may be eligible for
- Fully subsidised hearing services
- Assistive listening devices
- Fully subsidised hearing aids
- Or a subsidy towards a higher level of technology hearing aid commonly referred to as a “top-up”.
Who is eligible for the HSP?
To be eligible to be part of the Hearing Services Program, you must
- Hold a Pensioner Concession Card, Sickness Allowance or Veteran Card (DVA Gold or White Card for hearing loss),
- Be a member of the Australian Defence Force,
- Or be a dependent of the concession cardholder.
Although the HSP covers a range of services, it doesn’t cover annual batteries, hearing aid maintenance fees or the replacement fee for a lost hearing aid.
What Else Can You Do?
If you aren’t eligible for the Hearing Services Program and need hearing aids, one of the best things to do is get health insurance.
Not all health insurers will cover the cost of hearing aids, so it’s best to check what’s included in your cover before purchasing insurance. Generally speaking, only policies with a high level of extras will cover hearing devices.
National Disability Insurance Scheme
Those eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may receive financial support for hearing aids or other hearing devices. You can check to see if you’re eligible here.
Hearing aid bank
Hearing aid banks are run by volunteers in most States and Territories, and they are in place to recondition donated hearing aids and distribute them to those who are eligible.
You may be eligible to get hearing aids from a hearing aid bank if you
- Don’t qualify for the HSP
- Or can’t afford a hearing aid
Get Hearing Aids at EarDeals
If you have recently been diagnosed with hearing loss and have been recommended hearing aids, look no further than EarDeals.
We provide a wide range of hearing aids from global manufacturers at affordable prices.
Not sure which hearing aid to get? Speak to one of our hearing aid brokers; they are knowledgeable and experienced in hearing aids, so they can help you find the right one to suit your degree of hearing loss and lifestyle.
Browse our range or contact us today.