Hearing aids that work by amplifying sounds and directing the amplified signal to the ears are indispensable for people suffering from loss of hearing. These electronic devices help by altering sounds, thus providing the necessary auditory effect. However, they cannot help people who have problems in the inner ear. Both adults and children can be affected by loss of hearing.
The Need for Hearing Aid Insurance
Expensive: Hearing aids are expensive devices, that can cost between $1,500 and $4,000. There are many kinds available in the market. They can fit in the ear, ear canal, or behind the ear. The latest model, known as Open-Fit Mini BTE (Behind the Ear), is best suited for people who feel conscious about their appearance being affected by the use of a hearing aid. The aids offering superior performance cost a great deal of money.
Lack of Coverage: Although the Federal program, Medicare, covers certain medical expenses for people over the age of 65, the cost of a hearing aid is not covered under this program. Again, private insurance companies do not cover the cost of hearing aids, since these do not fall under the category of prosthetic devices. Since 2008, Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) provides hearing aid benefit to the dependent children of federal employees.
Easily Damaged: Hearing aids are small devices that can be damaged by earwax and ear drainage. They are not water-resistant, and can break easily if stepped on. Thus, they are expensive devices that have to be procured by a person without any financial assistance from insurance companies. The very fact that they can get damaged easily makes insurance a must for those who have invested a great deal of money in order to supplement their hearing prowess, a gift we so often take for granted.
Obtaining Hearing Aids Insurance
Federal Employee Hearing Aid Insurance: Since January 1, 2009, hearing aid insurance is provided as a part of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). This coverage is meant to include federal employees, retirees, and their families. It is hoped that this move will encourage private insurance companies to extend health insurance to include hearing aids.
Private Insurance Companies: Most insurance companies do not provide hearing aid insurance as a part of their plans. A few companies that provide this facility charge an additional premium. Thankfully, there are insurance programs that address the need for this kind of insurance. The companies that offer this insurance provide coverage for replacing the hearing aid on account of loss or accidental damage. Electronic failures and amplification problems on account of normal wear and tear are also included. Of course, a comprehensive coverage would require additional premium payments.
Hearing aid insurance is a must once the warranty period of the device expires. Usually, hearing aids come with a one year warranty. During this period, the user is insured against loss and damage. Some devices may come with a warranty period of 2 - 3 years. Once the warranty period expires, it's the user's responsibility to opt for a suitable insurance policy.