Does Medicare cover cochlear implants?

Does Medicare cover cochlear implants? Medicare will likely cover at least a portion of your cochlear implant surgery. If you need to repair or replace specific pieces of the equipment, however, it may be more difficult to get Medicare to help. Read on to learn more about Medicare coverage for cochlear implants and what you can expect.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Written by D. Gilson, PhD
Professor & Published Author D. Gilson, PhD

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 22, 2022

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The Highlights

  • On average, cochlear implants cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 without insurance
  • Medicare covers at least a portion of the cost of cochlear implant surgery for beneficiaries that meet specific guidelines
  • Post-surgery costs and services may not be covered by Medicare

If you or someone you know is considering cochlear implants, you have likely thought about the cost. Cochlear implants can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 without insurance coverage.

Most insurance providers cover cochlear implants, or a portion of them, though individuals will certainly have to first meet their healthcare deductibles.

If you are wondering whether Medicare covers cochlear implants, rest assured that programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Affairs also help to cover some of the costs of the procedure.

If you are considering cochlear implant surgery, shop around to compare Medicare insurance plans that work best for you!

What are cochlear implants?

Cochlear implants are small, electronic devices that help to provide sound to someone who is severely hearing-impaired or deaf.

The implant consists of two portions, one of which is external and behind the ear, and the other which is surgically placed under the skin. These implants are more advanced than a routine hearing aid.

Cochlear implants often improve individuals’ quality of life by allowing them to experience sounds and sensations they would otherwise not be able to. Cochlear implant recipients often find their hearing improved.

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Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implants

Many people who are deaf, suffering from profound hearing loss or otherwise hearing-impaired could be candidates for cochlear implants. It is important for anyone considering the surgery to also consider the potential pros and cons of such a procedure. Having the right coverage can help with the average cost of cochlear implants.

Pros and Cons of Cochlear Implants
Hear different soundsBleeding and swelling
Comprehend speech without reading lipsRinging in the ear
Hear and recognize distinct voicesDizziness
Hear musicInfection at surgery site
Watch television without captionsFacial paralysis
(For infants) learn how to speakMaintenance and upkeep
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The results of any surgery—including cochlear implant surgery—vary from one individual to the next. Still, anyone considering the procedure should understand the risks they may be taking.

How much will Medicare cover?

Thankfully, any individual with Medicare will have at least a portion of their cochlear implant cost of surgery covered.

The amount that Medicare will cover varies from one individual to the next based on multiple factors such as the extent to which the beneficiary is hearing-impaired and prior avenues the beneficiary has pursued before cochlear implant surgery.

It is impossible to know just how much Medicare will cover when it comes to cochlear implant surgery without speaking to an agent.

Will Medicare cover costs and accessories?

In addition to the initial surgery for cochlear implants, Medicare will also likely cover clinical care and services necessary to maintain the function of cochlear implants.

Although Medicare covers a portion of many services, payment is often low, and working with Medicare is administratively challenging.

Most components of the implant system are durable, but maintenance or replacement of parts can be expected over time. The cost of upkeep for cochlear implants is something you need to consider before going forward with the surgery. You should discuss your individual situation, medical conditions and remedies with your physician. They and your insurance company, can help you determine what may be covered under your insurance plan.

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Making the Decision

If hearing aids have not improved your hearing, cochlear implants may be your best bet.

As with any surgery, you should consider all the potential outcomes—both positive and negative—before deciding on a procedure. While cochlear implants offer much to be celebrated, there are some drawbacks to the procedure itself.

If you are considering a cochlear implant, Medicare will likely cover at least a portion of the surgery. But you should check with an agent to know exactly how much, if any, you will be expected to pay.

You may not have to pay for Medicare when you turn 65 for any portion of the cochlear implant surgery.

If you are shopping for affordable Medicare insurance, use our free tool below to find insurance coverage that works for you!

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