As boomers reach retirement age, they may be surprised to discover that Medicare doesn't cover either hearing aids or routine dental work, although the need for both is great at this time of their lives.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 18 percent of Americans ages 45 to 64 have reported hearing loss while 47 percent of those 75 and older have a hearing impairment.
Lisa Satterfield, director of health care regulatory advocacy for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, said that while Medicare doesn't cover hearing aid services in any way, several Medicaid programs do offer hearing aid options for income-eligible people. She said many states offer at least one hearing aid every five years to qualifying Medicaid beneficiaries. Check with your state Medicaid program, as each is significantly different, she said.
Speech and hearing centers may provide hearing aids at a reduced rate for clients who've had an audiological assessment done there, and local civic clubs might also be of help.
Check out the ASHA website, asha.org, and these sites for hearing aid help:
An alliance for accessible hearing care, AUDIENT assists income-qualified hard-of-hearing people nationwide to access quality hearing aids and related care at significantly reduced costs.
Easter Seals provides referrals to local programs for financial aid for devices or services and provides financial aid for assistive technology. State and federal laws determine referral requirements and funding opportunities.
E-mail: joanita@sotheworld- mayhear.org
Hear Now, the domestic program of the Starkey Hearing Foundation, is a national nonprofit committed to assisting deaf and hard-of-hearing people with limited financial resources who permanently reside within the United States. It relies strictly on donations of money, time and hearing aids.
Travelers Protective Association Scholarship Trust for the Deaf and Near-Deaf
The TPA provides financial aid to children and adults who suffer deafness or hearing impairment and who need assistance in obtaining mechanical devices, medical or specialized treatment or specialized education as well as speech classes, note takers and interpreters.
The American Dental Association recommends those heading into retirement begin planning for their dental expenses in advance. It says organization like AARP offer supplemental dental insurance plans for members and other low-cost plans are available.
Dental schools often provide low-cost dentistry, with students working under a licensed dentist instructor. Check your county dental association to see if any schools in your area provide the service.
National Association of Dental Plans
Page 2 of 2 - Discount dental plans typically have a lower monthly fee than traditional plans and the dentist within the plan network has agreed to provide services for 10 percent to 60 percent less than the usual fee.
National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics
Find a free and charitable clinic near your home by putting in your ZIP code.
National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research
This site provides different ways to find low-cost dental care, including any clinical trials in an area and a listing of federally funded community health centers.