Group of adults talking OTC hearing aids and health insurance

OTC Hearing Aids and Health Insurance

Over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids have emerged as a new, affordable, and accessible option for hearing healthcare in the US. But with a new product comes new questions, especially when it comes to navigating the world of health insurance. This blog aims to unpack the relationship between OTC hearing aids and health insurance to help you understand your coverage options.

Can My Health Insurance Help Pay for OTC Hearing Aids?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Health insurance coverage for OTC hearing aids varies depending on your specific plan and state regulations. Here’s what you need to know:

Firstly, check with your insurance provider directly

The most reliable way to find out about your coverage is by contacting your insurance company. Ask them specific questions like:

  • Do I have a hearing aid benefit?
  • Am I eligible for the hearing aid benefit?
  • What is my coverage amount per hearing aid?
  • Can I use my hearing aid benefit towards OTC hearing aids?
  • What documentation do I need to submit for a claim?

Medicare coverage 

Original Medicare (Part A & Part B) doesn’t cover hearing aids. However, some Medicare Advantage plans do offer coverage for hearing services that may cover the cost of hearing aids.

Federal employee plans

If you’re a federal employee, your plan might include coverage for hearing aids. It’s always best to check your specific plan details.

Examples of plans offering coverage

While not exhaustive, some insurance companies known to offer coverage for OTC hearing aids include United Healthcare and NationsBenefits. However, remember to confirm your specific plan details directly with your provider. Your health insurance plan may not specify if they cover prescription or OTC hearing aids. Your benefit coverage may use a broad term such as hearing aids so ask your provider if you can apply your hearing aid benefit to OTC hearing aids.

Alternative Payment Options

Even if your insurance doesn’t cover hearing aids, there are other ways to manage the cost:

Flexible spending accounts (FSA)

These employer-sponsored accounts allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars for qualified medical expenses, including OTC hearing aids. Check with your plan administrator to confirm eligibility and plan rules. Remember, unused funds in an FSA typically expire at the end of the plan year, so plan your purchases accordingly.

Health savings accounts (HSA)

If you have a qualifying high-deductible health plan (HDHP), you might be eligible for an HSA. This allows you to set aside pre-tax money for qualified medical expenses, including OTC hearing aids. Unlike FSAs, unused HSA funds typically roll over from year to year.

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRA)

These employer-funded plans allow for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by employees, up to a certain amount set by the employer. As with other plans, confirm eligibility and specific rules with your plan administrator.

Important note: Always check with your plan administrator or provider before purchasing your hearing aids, regardless of the payment method you plan to use. This ensures you understand your coverage and can maximize any available benefits.

Moving Forward with OTC Hearing Aids

We understand that navigating insurance and hearing healthcare can be confusing. By following these steps, you can gain a clearer picture of your coverage options for OTC hearing aids:

  1. Contact your health insurance provider directly.
  2. Explore alternative payment options like FSAs, HSAs, or HRAs.
  3. Confirm eligibility and specific plan rules with your plan administrator.

By taking these steps, you can make informed decisions about your hearing healthcare and explore if OTC hearing aids are a good fit for you financially.

Image of post writer Catrine Malan.

Written by Catrine Malan



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