Sometimes it feels like all the government does is take your taxes and argue. Who knew they’d give us such a gift to your practice so unexpectedly.
In case you missed it, late last month the House Ways and Means Committee passed the Medicare Hearing Act of 2019.
What does this mean for you?
Well, if you’re an audiologist, it’s an early Christmas present. The committee has finally agreed that audiologists can provide diagnostic and treatment services starting in 2022. They even went so far as to reclassify audiologists as practitioners as of 2022.
Under the new act, patients with profound or severe hearing loss will also have their hearing aids covered by Medicare so long as they are not over-the-counter.
And what patient in their right mind would want an over-the-counter hearing aid if they could get a top-of-the-line one with a warranty and service plan completely covered by Medicare.
Of course, this only applies to you if you’re an audiologist or physician and if your patients have severe or profound hearing loss. Even then you’ll have to wait for it to become law and go into effect on 2022.
Why This Is Good News for All
The Medicare Hearing Act of 2019 is a huge move on the part of the government to finally recognize how fundamental hearing is for a patient’s overall health.
And for patients, it means more access to quality care and to the hearing devices they’ll need to stave off the long-term effects of hearing loss.
But it also has the interesting side effect of breaking past some of the most common problems we all have in selling more hearing aids:
- Ignorance. Any change in Medicare is going to get great press and help spread the word. For those patients who don’t know how crucial good hearing is to brain health (and health overall), this will certainly help open some eyes and get more people scheduling appointments.
- Expense. Clearly, this helps severely and profoundly deaf Medicare patients have access to hearing aids. But it also helps everyone else. Because this Act is just part of a larger trend to get hearing aids covered. Witness Illinois’s new 2019 law that forces all insurance companies to cover hearing aids up to $2500. Just 5 years ago only 3 states mandated coverage for adults. Now there are 5.With all the research coming out linking hearing loss to dementia, depression, risk of falls, and a significant increase in healthcare costs after just a few years…lawmakers are finally getting the message that hearing aids are an important part of preventative care.
Essentially, the Act, if passed into law, increases the number of people aware of how important their hearing is. Combine this news with the latest research and the new breakthroughs in technology, and you’re going to have more people calling for a hearing test.
Of course, to capture your share of the market you’ll still need to market your services and get the good word out there. But the future looks bright, and we’re here to help you grow.
Ready to grow? Let’s talk.