Does health insurance cover hearing aids?
Compare hearing aid and audiology benefits offered by Australian insurers.
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Private health insurance and Medicare both provide some level of cover for some of the costs associated with the following treatments and appliances.
- Hearing aids. Hearing aids are devices that restore or improve your ability to hear.
- Audiology. Audiology is how conditions are diagnosed and assessed on an ongoing basis.
Hearing aid cover is available through extras cover. You'll probably have a waiting period of around 12 months, so start looking now if your hearing is on the decline.
How much is health insurance with cover for hearing aids?
To get you started, these example policies from Finder partners all include rebates for hearing aids. The prices quoted are based on a single in Sydney.
Contents of this article
- Which Australian health funds include cover for hearing aids?
- How does private health insurance cover hearing aids and audiology?
- Should I get private health insurance for hearing aids?
- Does Medicare cover hearing aids or audiology?
- What should I be aware of when comparing health insurance?
- Compare policies currently available
*The policies listed in this table are extras only. However, in most cases these can be combined with hospital cover.
|Health fund||Extras policies and annual benefit limits*||Waiting periods|
|Health Care Insurance|
|Latrobe Health Services|
|Mildura Health Fund|
|Phoenix Health Fund|
|CBHS health fund|
|Doctors Health Fund|
|Reserve Bank Health Society|
|Teachers Health Fund|
*The majority of the policies listed in this table are extras only. However, in most cases these can be combined with hospital cover.
Many private health insurance funds will include hearing aids and audiology on their policies. However, these services are typically only covered by comprehensive extras.
Private health insurance and hearing aids
- Hearing aids are typically only covered by the highest level extras policies.
- Policies will typically pay a set cost, rather than cash-back rebates. This is because the cost of hearing aids can vary widely.
- Private health insurance generally pays out for a single device. However, most funds have a specified limit for how many times you can claim, such as one device every five years.
- Some health funds offer benefits for repairing damaged hearing aids.
Health insurance benefits for audiology
- Benefits will either take the form of cash-back offers, where you get a certain percentage of costs paid, typically 60-100%, or set costs such as $35 for each audiology session.
- Initial audiology consultations and diagnoses usually take longer than subsequent follow-up sessions. As such, set cost policies generally pay more for initial sessions and less for follow-ups.
Hearing aids are typically only covered by the more comprehensive and high level extras health insurance policies. This means you will be paying for many benefits in addition to hearing aids, whether you want to or not.
As such, you should not get private health insurance just for hearing aids and audiology. However, you might want to get private health insurance for all the other benefits it offers, on top of audiology and hearing aids.
If you use a hearing aid, then look at how it is covered by private health funds when comparing policies, but remember to look at all the other costs and benefits as well. The level of audiology and hearing aid cover should be an important factor in making your choice, but so too are all the other features included in the policy.
Average amount of hearing aid costs covered by funds
The below table shows the average amount of cost covered toward hearing aids by fund. All figures are taken from extras cover.
|Fund name (abbreviated)||Hearing aids & audiology|
|Open membership funds|
|Medibank (includes ahm)||25.30%|
|Restricted membership funds|
|Nurses and Midwives||42.90%|
|RT Health Fund||35.10%|
For some funds, the data does not take account of discounts at some providers or fund Dental / Optical centres.
Note: All percentages based on health fund reporting to APRA. 'n/a' signifies no activity and 100 per cent is likely to indicate small numbers (eg. only 1 episode).
Medicare doesn’t cover any of the costs of a hearing aid device. It will only cover some of the prior surgical procedures required for a specific type of hearing aid (bone conduction) if you are unable to use a conventional hearing aid, but won’t cover the cost of the device itself.
When comparing health insurance cover of audiology and hearing aids you should be aware of.
- Limits. These refer to the maximum amounts that can be claimed. Audiology might have its own limits, or it might share limits with hearing aids or other diagnostic services. Meanwhile, hearing aids usually have their own specific limits, but will in some cases share limits with audiology, or with other implants and devices.
- Conditions and exclusions. These are conditions and restrictions where health insurance will not pay out. There are typically very few, or no, restrictions surrounding hearing aids. Audiology services, however, will generally need to be provided by a licensed and recognised audiologist and for the fulfilment of clear diagnostic purposes. You typically can’t claim audiology if it is done for the purpose of irregular assessment, such as checking occupational fitness for a job that requires good hearing.
- Waiting periods. This is how long you must wait between taking out a policy and being able to make a claim. For hearing aids this will typically be 12 months, while audiological waiting periods can vary from a couple of months to a full year, and may even be nonexistent.
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