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08.05.2015

Hearing aids and medicare, my ears are ringing and hurt - Within Minutes

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Pharrell is singing "Happy," rich, full-throated, in stereo and coming out of what looks like a flesh-toned lima bean tinier than a dime. It also can be used as a microphone and recorder, so it can be an audio teleprompter when you give a speech. Called the First, it was developed by Beltone's Research and Development folks in Chicago and a lab in Amsterdam. The owner of 17 Beltone stores across the Southeast, Ebel has his share of older customers -- including 30 who are 100 years old -- but he's excited about what he sees as the fast-growing market for hearing aids among the huge demographic of baby boomers who subjected their ears to years of headphones, Walkmen and arena rock. Ebel recalls a recent Beltone survey of American 80-year-olds that asked them which age group they relate to most -- they picked people in their 30s and 40s. It also offers different settings for different acoustical environments: Church and Hunting are two of the most popular in Tennessee, according to Ebel. For many Chattanoogans who have been diagnosed with hearing loss, the biggest deterrent is the price of the aid, not the style nor the ease of use. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance to pay for hearing screenings for newborns but nothing about hearing aids. The First hearing aid offers different settings for different acoustical environments such as Church, Restaurant, Hunt- ing. Nineteen states require health insurance plans to cover some portion of hearing aids costs, but most of those only involve children. Trotter is a former veteran, but his insurance would not cover the $8,200 price of the most expensive Beltone hearing aid that he bought.
Rickey Tripp has worn hearing aids since he was 22 and remembers all the comments he heard -- actually heard -- when he first got them.
Although he has insurance, it didn't cover hearing aids, so he had to pay for the aids out of his own pocket. Chattanoogan Joe Formisano works as a landscaper on weekends and as a cook at a local school on weekdays, so he has enough energy for a crowd of men and is not worried about how a hearing aid makes him look. Certain devices that produce perception of sound by replacing the function of the middle ear, cochlea or auditory nerve are payable by Medicare as prosthetic devices. Medicare contractors deny payment for an item or service that is associated with any hearing aid as defined above. That’s the message from Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, who is a staunch supporter of improved healthcare access, research and prevention.


I happened to be at the doctor, working on an unrelated insurance issue, and the doctor mentioned that Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids for anybody. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) confirms that the figure is even higher.
The reality is that while Medicare provides critical health coverage to millions of beneficiaries there are very serious gaps which exist.
Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition in the United States, affecting nearly 48 million Americans. In other words, preventing the known risks of hearing impairment in older adults could reduce the need for many healthcare services — and that lowers costs.
If you’re interested in more details on the health and economic case for expanding Medicare coverage to include hearing aids, NCPSSM has released a very informative issue brief.
But the bottom line is this: Older adults with hearing loss can avoid many related health issues as they age, including falling, cognitive decline, dementia, and the often resulting loss of independence. Judy MatlockJudy Matlock is an activist, retired teacher, social worker, and project manager. The brand-new hearing aid is now being rolled out across Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia, says Beltone Tennessee Chief Executive Officer Perry Ebel. And after that generation comes the Millenials, who likely will need hearing help due to their love of snugly placed earbuds pumping sound directly into their heads.
Most health insurance does not cover hearing aids, or only covers a small portion of the cost.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids, but Medicaid often does and, by law, must cover them for children.
Georgia and Alabama have no hearing aid provisions, but Tennessee requires that, for children under 18, health insurance must pay $1,000 toward hearing aids.
For that amount, Trotter says he got a lifetime guarantee, so the hearing aid will be replaced when it wears out; he also is given a lifelong supply of batteries. Hearing aids include air conduction devices that provide acoustic energy to the cochlea via stimulation of the tympanic membrane with amplified sound. These devices are indicated only when hearing aids are medically inappropriate or cannot be utilized due to congenital malformations, chronic disease, severe sensorineural hearing loss or surgery. See ยง180 for policy for the medically necessary treatment of complications of implantable hearing aids, such as medically necessary removals of implantable hearing aids due to infection.


Right now, she’s raising awareness of the need to have hearing aids covered by Medicare. According to NCPSSM, more than 70 percent of people between the age of 65 and 84 who need hearing aids don’t get them.
Dingell, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, NCPSSM and more than 50 seniors and advocates gathered in Washington to call for expanded coverage for hearing loss treatments.
Dingell is determined to close this gap, which she sees as both a quality of life issue and a preventive care issue — not to mention a move that could save both seniors and Medicare money. Dingell and her fellow advocates are working to raise awareness of this issue and build grassroots support for getting the legislation passed into law.
He is the author of two books and has been part of the progressive media landscape for 20+ years. He writes mostly about LGBTQ issues, health care, disability issues, and the intersection of all three. The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015 would allow Medicare to provide coverage for hearing aids.
I asked my doctor how many people she sees a day who need hearing aids but don’t get one, and she told me more than half.
When people who need hearing aids don’t get them, the consequences can be serious, Rep. People with hearing impairment might not hear a smoke detector or be able to have a conversation with a 911 operator in an emergency, for example. Research has shown older adults with hearing loss are 32 percent more likely to require hospitalization, face a 24 percent increased risk for cognitive impairment, which includes dementia, and increasingly suffer from isolation and depression. Unless otherwise specified, permission to excerpt portions of our written work is given as long as you provide a link back to this website and the appropriate author is credited.




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Comments to “Hearing aids and medicare”

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