Bargaining and Negotiating
According to 2014’s Consumer Reports, about 40% of those who took the initiative and negotiated got a break on their hearing aids. While it may feel a little uncomfortable to ask for a price break, bargaining can actually result in quite large discounts, up to 50%. When you’re talking about thousands of dollars, a 50% price reduction can make a huge difference. Not every hearing aid provider will be open to negotiation, and even if you ask, you may not get a price break. However, it’s worth it to ask if there are any discounts available.
Memberships in Senior Organizations
For those who are members of organizations like the AARP, there may be discounts available on a variety of health and wellness items, such as prescriptions, eye exams and hearing aids. AARP boasts many benefits for its members, but there are certain restrictions; most notably, you must be a senior citizen in order to become an AARP member.
Medical Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
FSAs are accounts into which you may put a portion of your paycheck in order to pay for medical expenses. The money you choose to contribute is deducted from your gross pay before any taxes are figured, reducing your tax burden. If you have one of these accounts, batteries and other related hearing aid costs are reimbursable.
Medicaid and Medicare
For those who are on Medicaid, hearing aids and exams may be a covered expense. However, the same cannot be said of Medicare; hearing aids and exams are not covered expenses for traditional Medicare. Medicaid coverage of hearing aid costs varies from one state to another; information on the various requirements is available on the website for the Hearing Loss Association of America.
If you’re a veteran of the armed forces, you may qualify for help with hearing aids if your hearing loss is related to your service or a condition for which you were treated at the VA hospital. Even if your hearing loss is not service-related, you may be able to get assistance if your hearing loss interferes with your daily activities.
Some Additional Thoughts
With all the changes taking place in the arena of health insurance coverage, there may be other options for handling hearing aid costs that are not listed here. Even if you don’t have insurance or it doesn’t cover hearing aids, there are several reliable ways to reduce your costs and get the hearing aid you need. For those who are in the greatest need, there are even options for help from non-profit organizations, such as Sertoma’s SHARP program.