Medicaid Hearing Aid Coverage For Older Adult Beneficiaries A State-By-State Comparison
Author: Michelle L. Arnold, Kathryn Hyer, Theresa Chisolm
Age-related hearing loss affects nearly thirty million older adults in the United States and is associated with increased risk of several other adverse health outcomes. Although hearing aids are the most common efficacious treatment, Medicaid coverage of the aids is not federally mandated, and cost has been cited as a barrier to access. In this first (to our knowledge) comprehensive review of state-level Medicaid coverage of hearing aids and associated services for age-related hearing loss, we found that twenty-eight states offer some degree of coverage—which varies substantially with respect to extent and hearing loss eligibility requirements. Based on six criteria, we rated those states’ coverage as fair, good, or excellent. The remaining twenty-two states have no coverage, which leaves few options for their residents with hearing loss who face financial constraints. Policy makers at the state and federal levels should consider how to make care for age-related hearing loss more accessible, affordable, and equitable nationwide.