UnitedHealthcare (UHC) are a private insurance company administering Medicare Advantage plans, most of which provide hearing coverage.

Private insurance companies that administer Medicare Advantage plans often include benefits not available to those with an original Medicare plan.

Insurers, such as UHC, usually include additional coverage for services including:

  • prescribed medications
  • routine vision care
  • routine dental care
  • hearing care

Some plans also include fitness and well-being benefits.

We may use a few terms in this piece that can be helpful to understand when selecting the best insurance plan:

  • Deductible: This is an annual amount that a person must spend out of pocket within a certain time period before an insurer starts to fund their treatments.
  • Coinsurance: This is a percentage of a treatment cost that a person will need to self-fund. For Medicare Part B, this comes to 20%.
  • Copayment: This is a fixed dollar amount that an insured person pays when receiving certain treatments. For Medicare, this usually applies to prescription drugs.
Close-up of a healthcare professional fitting a hearing aid to an older adult's ear as they may have unitedhealthcare medicare hearing coverageShare on Pinterest
Rawpixel/Getty Images

There are different types of Medicare Advantage plans available, but the most common are:

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A person with an HMO has the choice of in-network healthcare providers, but must choose a primary care physician (PCP) to coordinate care, and they require a referral to see a specialist.
  • Health Maintenance Organization Point-of-service (HMO-POS): A person has the same provider setup as the HMO plan outlined above, but they may also have a choice of out-of-network providers.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A person can visit a healthcare provider whether they are in- or out-of-network. They do not need to choose a PCP, while PCPs are not required to give specialist referrals.
  • Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS): Plan providers preset how much they will pay for healthcare services in a PFFS plan. They also decide how much a person will pay for care. Individuals do not have to choose a PCP, and a PCP is not required to give specialist referrals.
  • Special Needs Plans (SNP): If a person has a chronic health condition, is eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, or will be admitted to a healthcare facility, an SNP will provide tailor-made benefits, including prescription drugs.

Of these plans, UHC offer:

  • HMOs
  • HMO-POS plans
  • PPOs
  • SNPs

All policies provide routine hearing care.

Private companies are not obligated to administer every Medicare Advantage plan in all areas.

UHC’s HMO, HMO-POS, and PPO plans are available in most areas throughout the United States. However, their SNPs are more limited in availability.

There are two types of UHC SNPs. One plan serves a person eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, known as dual eligibility. UHC manage both programs’ benefits under one health insurance policy.

The second type of SNP involves individuals with chronic health conditions, including but not limited to heart disease and diabetes.

UHC also offer group plan HMO and PPOs through a person’s employer. Employees who are eligible for Medicare can enroll.

Most UHC Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for hearing exams and hearing aids. The coverage amount depends on the plan a person chooses and their location.

Testing an individual’s hearing may begin with a PCP. The PCP can usually perform a screening in their office to determine the need for a specialist referral and further diagnostic tests.

A hearing specialist can examine test results to determine whether a person has hearing loss, and if so, what type, allowing them to recommend appropriate treatments.

The table below shows an example of hearing-related costs based on Medicare Advantage plans in the 77010 zip code in Houston, TX.

Hearing ExamsHearing Aids
Medicare Advantage Choice (PPO)In-network: $0 copayment

Out-of-network: $65 copayment
In-network: 2 every 2 years with a copayment of $375–2,075

Out-of-network: Available through nationwide mail order
Medicare Advantage Plan 1 HMO-POS (In-network only)1 per year with a $0 copayment 2 every 2 years with a $375–2,075 copayment
Medicare Advantage Choice Regional PPOIn-network: $0 copayment

Out-of-network: $50 copayment
In-network: $375–2,075 copayment, limit of 2 every 2 years

Out-of-network: Available through nationwide mail order
Medicare Silver PPO C-SNPIn-network: $0 copayment

Out-of-network: 20% of the cost
In-network: All types $0 copayment and up to $2,000 every 2 years

Out-of-network: Available through nationwide mail order

Other UHC plan benefits

Many UHC Medicare Advantage Plans also offer other benefits with $0 copayments, including:

  • routine vision care
  • routine dental care
  • doctor’s appointments, whether in-person, by phone, or online
  • a telehealth service, allowing a person to speak with a healthcare provider 24 hours per day, 7 days per week

UHC Medicare Advantage plans also include a fitness and well-being program called RenewActive. The program features a free gym membership and access to fitness locations across the country.

Coverage with UHC also includes travel throughout the U.S. and worldwide emergency and urgent care.

There are options to help pay for hearing aids using local, state, or national resources.

A person can contact local programs, including:

  • speech and hearing centers
  • organizations serving older adults
  • deaf community centers
  • hearing aid banks

Below are some organizations that may help with costs.

  • Hear Now: This national non-profit program help people with limited income. Phone (800-481-5512) for more information.
  • Help America Hear: This group help people with limited income with the costs associated with hearing aids. Phone (888-580-8886) for more information.
  • National Hearing Aid Project: This group help people with limited income to receive hearing-related services, including hearing aids. Phone (816-333-8300) for more information.

Around 33% of people in the United States aged 65–74 years experience hearing loss, which can be due to aging, disease, or genetics.

There are three primary types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive hearing loss: Occurs when sound cannot pass through the ear canal. Doctors can sometimes treat this with prescription drugs or surgery.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss: Occurs following damage to the inner ear or irregularities with the nerves that run from the inner ear to the brain.
  • Mixed hearing loss: A doctor may diagnose a person with mixed hearing lossif they have a combination of the two conditions above.

UHC are a health insurance provider administering Medicare Advantage plans with hearing coverage.

The company have four different types of Medicare Advantage plans, which include HMOs, HMO-POS plans, PPOs, and SNPs.

All plans cover in-network hearing care and hearing aids, if a person needs them. Out-of-pocket expenses apply in most cases, while some out-of-network options are also available.

People who need help with the costs associated with hearing and hearing aids have a variety of options to explore, including seeking help through local and national groups.