Maryland Medicaid program expands to pay for devices for hearing-impaired adults

Several types of hearing devices will now be covered by Medicaid in Maryland for those over age 21, the Department of Health and the Governor’s Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing announced Wednesday.

Previously, the federal-state health program for the poor only covered hearing devices for those under age 21.

The devices include hearing aids that amplify sound, cochlear implants that stimulate nerves and auditory osseointegrated devices that use bone conduction to pick up sounds.

State officials said the closing this coverage gap would relieve a financial burden for thousands of people enrolled in Medicaid. There are 1.2 million people in Maryland who are deaf and hearing-impaired.

“Our office received calls asking for financial assistance to help cover the cost of hearing aids due to the high out-of-pocket costs and the lack of coverage through Maryland Medicaid, so we worked with the Department of Health to address this significant gap,” said Kelby Brick, director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “The Hogan administration’s expansion of Maryland Medicaid coverage for adults provides tremendous financial relief for thousands of eligible Marylanders in need of these vital services.”

Medicaid recipients will need a referral from their primary care doctor to an audiologist who can complete an assessment for services.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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