Can You Hear me?

I stopped in Home Depot to pick up a light bulb for my outside lamp post a few days ago. A sales representative helped me to locate the proper bulb. As we exchange information i.e. what I needed?, the different options available e.g. LED, solar, etc. and the price ranges I noticed that the gentleman often leaned to one side and almost always asked that I repeat what I had just stated.

As a volunteer Board Member and Officer of the Hearing Loss Association of America – Rochester (HLAA-Rochester), I suspected that something was not right. So I asked, are you hearing me O.K.? He replied, no, I am deaf in one ear. Immediately, I asked, then why don’t you wear a hearing aid?

His response was a common one especially for Senior Citizens. He said that he did not wear a hearing aid because he could not afford one. The cost of hearing aids can range from approximate $4 to 8 thousand dollars. If you are a senior and live on a fixed income, like Medicare, then, it is likely that you may not be able to afford to purchase one.

Approximately 12% of the U.S. population or 38 million Americans have a significant hearing loss. Thirty to forty percent of people over 65 have some type of hearing loss. Hearing aids can offer dramatic improvement for most people with hearing loss.

Medicare does not provide coverage for hearing test or hearing aids, eye care, dental services, foot care and many other services. Additional Services are available to seniors through Medicare Advantage Plans. Each carrier offers different “additional” services. I was surprised to learn that the gentleman was currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan; however, it was one that did not offer hearing exams or hearing aids. Lifetime Financial Group specializes in assisting seniors with understanding Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, and understanding their needs prior to enrollment.

Persons, who are either disabled or Age 65 and qualify for Medicare Part B, can enroll in an advantage plan. There are no pre-existing conditions. You must be a US Citizen, live in the plan service area, and not currently be receiving dialysis treatment.

Seniors can enroll and or switch plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) during the Fall (October through December). There is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for seniors who might have moved outside of the plan service area, become disabled, or qualify for Medicaid status.

 If the senior is turning 65, and qualifies for Medicare Part B, then he/she will be given an initial enrollment period (IEP) for 7 months. The government will give you 63 days after your IEP to sign up for a prescription drug plan or you will receive a Late Enrollment Penalty (LEP). Contact our office to learn how you can avoid this penalty or sign up for a workshop.  

HLAA-Rochester also has access to Audiologist who dispenses donated Hearing Aids. I asked the gentleman to call us so that we can assist him with receiving a donated hearing aid until the next annual enrollment period (AEP).

If you know a senior who has difficulty hearing, there is help available. Please call us!

© Carmen Coleman, President and CEO
Lifetime Financial Group, LLC
30 W. Broad Street, Suite 300
Rochester, NY 14614