Recently, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (Penn.) and Republican U.S. Rep. John Katko (N.Y.) re-introduced the Help Extend Auditory Relief (HEAR) Act H.R. 1106, to expand hearing benefits for seniors on Medicare.
Currently, Medicare Part B covers auditory examinations in the event of an accident or illness, but not routine checkups – which physicians recommend addressing gradual loss of hearing – or hearing aids. If prescribed a hearing device, the out-of-pocket expenses may be impossible to afford. Typical hearing aid models can cost over $1,000, with the most state-of-the-art devices topping $5,000. People who need devices for both ears face double the cost.
Specifically, the HEAR Act would amend the Social Security Act to include Medicare coverage for hearing rehabilitation, including a comprehensive audiology assessment to determine if a hearing aid is appropriate. It would also extend Medicare Part B coverage to hearing aid devices.
This legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), David McKinley (R-W.V.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif).
The language of the bill is not yet available but as soon as it is TSCL will review it to determine our position on the legislation.