Medicaid Hearing Aids
Medicaid was started in 1965 under the Social Security Act to help individuals with no health insurance. The federally funded program provides medical benefits and assistance to 38 million families, of which there are approximately 3.4 million elder people and disabled individuals. Medicaid provides low-income families, specifically children and senior adults, access to preventive medicine or for treatment for continuing illnesses.
As a health insurance, Medicaid benefits are awarded to people who have met certain requirements. Guidelines for the operation of Medicaid programs are set up by individual states, even though it is a federal program, which make eligibility criteria different in every state. Medicaid benefits are given to qualified people who meet the federal poverty level, although there are some states that still give assistance to those earning above the federal poverty level.
Hearing aids and hearing aids services are generally covered by Medicaid and can be reimbursed, but again it depends on individual state rules. A person is usually only allowed to get particular hearing aid models or those that belong to a specific price bracket. In states that hearing aids are covered, hearing aid services are also often provided under Medicaid benefits. Hearing aid services can comprise of hearing exams, diagnostic tests and speech therapy. Ear molds, hearing aid batteries, cord and tube replacement, straps and cleaning sets are sometimes also covered.
Majority of states have Medicaid hearing aids covered if the individual has a medical history or condition that necessitates the need for a hearing aid. This may be established through tests or endorsements from doctors who will note or confirm that the individual has an illness or an injury that requires the use of a hearing aid, and it will be more economical than other options.
There are a number of states, though, that have stricter guidelines for Medicaid hearing aids benefits. Some even state specifically that “hearing aids, tests done for prescribing, fitting and/or changing hearing aids” are not covered by Medicaid.
Some states on the other hand specifically classify which hearing aids can be covered. They describe hearing aids as devices that do not create electrical signals which accurately stimulate auditory nerves. Medicaid coverage for these states will not cover external and implantable hearing aids since these utilize moving air or bone conduction pathways to assist and make hearing possible. There are devices that produce electrical signals which then stimulate the auditory nerve such as Cochlear implants, and this can be covered by Medicaid.
Changes in Medicaid policies have brought better benefits in states that cover hearing aids. Individuals eligible for Medicaid can now get two hearing aids in a span five years. Medicaid hearing aids benefits previously restricted recipients to get only one hearing aid in six years.
For those who want to avail of Medicaid hearing aids benefits and services, they may proceed to accredited hospitals or hearing aid clinics and outlets. They must be Medicaid eligible already and should bring their present Medicaid ID card, a valid proof of identification such as a driver’s license or passport, a hearing exam report that was signed by a doctor and other extra health insurance IDs if available.