Hearing isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. It lets us connect with loved ones and experience all the joys that the world has to offer – both in our private and professional lives. But all too often, people don’t act when they first notice they have hearing loss symptoms. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have shown that it can take ten years before someone seeks out an audiologist, and in this time, their condition usually worsens.
One of the main reasons for this is that they’re concerned that their health insurance won’t cover the cost of much needed treatments – and it’s easy to understand their worries.
Insurance coverage can be a tricky topic to understand and navigate for people of all ages. That’s why I’ve put together a guide for those who have BlueCross BlueShield health insurance – giving you a complete understanding of what you can expect from your plan.
While people can experience hearing loss at any age – and studies show that young people are some of the most at risk – statistics show that aging plays an important role.
Data from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) shows that as many as “one in three” people ages 65 to 74 have a hearing loss, with the numbers even more pronounced among the over 75s.
Those in these age groups are eligible for Medicare support, but the program, unfortunately, does not cover hearing aids. That being said, many insurance companies do provide additional supplements to cover treatments.
BlueEssential or BlueCare Plus (HMO SNP)
The good news is that both of these plans include a health maintenance organization (HMO) option. HMO plans let members decide upon a provider from a range of doctors and specialists, who then assist them with their healthcare needs. However, if you select someone from outside of your insurer’s approved HMO providers, your coverage may be restricted or limited in some way.
BlueEssential plans don’t specify coverage benefits for hearing aids. This means that your hearing care and treatments may be an additional option instead of being part of your basic coverage. However, BlueCare Plus plans often do offer full coverage, but you’ll need to get clarification on the exact benefits.
Blue Advantage (PPO)
The Blue Advantage plan is a preferred provider organization (PPO) form of insurance package. This means it’s less restrictive compared to HMO plans, letting its members choose whichever healthcare provider they like to assist them – without a referral – as long as they’re approved by the insurance company’s network.
PPOs also have fewer restrictions when someone opts for an out-of-network provider. The coverage of Blue Advantage Medicare supplement insurance includes:
- Two hearing aids per year (one per ear) when purchased through TruHearing
- Two models to choose from: 1) a premium model that includes 48 channels, 6 programs, and 10 styles 2) an advanced model that includes 32 channels, 6 programs, and 10 styles
- Three follow-up visits with a provider for the fitting and adjustment of hearing aids
- A 45-day trial period
- A three-year manufacturer warranty for repairs and one-time loss and damage replacement
- 48 batteries per aid for non-rechargeable models
Blue Elite (Medicare Supplement)
Blue Elite, a top of the range plan, does not have the same limitations that you find with PPO or HMO plans. With this, you can see any doctor, specialist, or service provider that you like, and a referral is not needed for you to see an audiologist about your hearing. But in some cases, hearing care and different forms of treatment might be additional options, rather than simply part of the standard coverage.
It can be a complicated procedure to determine whether your non-Medicare plan covers hearing aid treatments. Most private insurers do not. But this isn’t a hard and fast rule, and there may be some benefits available that can help you to pay for hearing aids or other associated treatments.
In addition, several different types of member discounts and specialized programs are also accessible within and outside of the BlueCross BlueShield network. However, you may find that you need to do a lot of research to find out what exactly you can receive on your plan.
Why not let us help you?
As I’ve shown, even for someone who knows their insurance plan inside out, it’s not always easy to tell what kind of hearing care you’re eligible to receive.
So why not take advantage of our dedicated insurance experts at All About Hearing who can help you to get the most out of your personal plan?
With one quick phone call, you’ll have peace of mind on exactly where you stand with your hearing care coverage moving forward.
If you have concerns or just want to find out more information, simply give us a call at (432) 689-2220, and we’ll do all the hard work for you!