LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — Humana Inc, announced this month that it will be expanding its relationship with TruHearing, to offer hearing aid benefits to more of its Medicare Advantage plan subscribers. Currently, the company has been offering the benefit in Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington.
In 2018, the company will be offering the benefit in a total of 34 states. The additional states added next year include: Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
During the open enrollment period, which runs from October 15th to December 7th, people with Medicare in any of the 34 states can select a plan with this option to begin using their hearing aid benefits on January 1st, 2018.
“Hearing is an important part of our everyday lives and any impairment can lead to emotional and social consequences for older adults. This can include social isolation, depression and anxiety, according to a study by the National Council on the Aging. The TruHearing hearing care and hearing aid benefit helps take the guesswork out of the cost of a hearing aid and will go a long way to helping our members hear better, improving their overall health and well-being so they can start with healthy.” –Anup K. Sharma, MD, MBA, Medical Director, Clinical Integration for Humana
Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage
While some supplementary plans, like Medicare Advantage, may offer hearing aid benefits for subscribers, Medicare alone does not provide hearing aid coverage. This has been a contentious issue for years, swith many arguing for Medicare to provide some form of hearing aid benefit due to the number of individuals in need of hearing aids that often don’t get them.
This summer, healthcare policy experts published a June 29 JAMA article suggesting that expanding Medicare to cover vision, dental and hearing services would make important health care services available to more older Americans.
However, due to the current cost structure of hearing aids, expanding these services to Medicare recipients may be too expensive for legislators or voters to approve.