Medicare generally covers supplies and services that are considered medically necessary. Certain services and supplies such as routine dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses are not considered medically necessary, so Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) generally will not cover the costs associated with these. However, under certain circumstances, Original Medicare may cover these services. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage for this care as additional included benefits.
Understanding what Original Medicare covers and does not cover will help you understand how much you are expected to pay out of your own pocket and whether or not you need to look for additional coverage when it comes to Medicare dental, hearing, and vision care.
Dental services that Medicare may cover
Original Medicare does not cover dental services such as check-ups, routine exams, cleanings, or fillings, nor does it cover the cost of supplies such as dentures or braces. However, Medicare will cover certain services needed to maintain your overall health, such as a dental procedure needed before another Medicare-covered health service can be performed. Medicare won’t cover any follow-up dental care or hospitalizations.
Medicare covers dental procedures under these circumstances:
- If you have a jaw disease and need dental services before you can undergo radiation treatment
- If you need surgery to treat face or jaw fractures
- If you need dental wiring or splints as a result of jaw surgery
Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, so they only cover dental services under the same special circumstances. Depending on the plan, Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional dental benefits.
Medicare hearing coverage for hearing aids
As a general rule, Medicare doesn’t cover routine hearing exams or hearing aids, so beneficiaries are responsible for 100% of the costs of these services and supplies. Medicare Part B may cover hearing exams under certain circumstances, such as hearing loss resulting from an illness or injury. Medicare Advantage plans cover at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, and some plans may cover additional hearing services. However, no Medicare plan covers any of the costs of hearing aids.
Medicare vision coverage for eyeglasses
Because eyeglasses are generally not considered medically necessary, Medicare doesn’t cover the costs associated with them. However, if you have a chronic eye condition such as cataracts, Medicare will cover contact lenses or eyeglasses after you have had cataract surgery. Medicare will also pay for routine eye care if you have diabetes or if you are at high risk for glaucoma. Beneficiaries may receive additional vision benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan, but these plans generally don’t cover eyeglasses for beneficiaries without any chronic eye conditions.
Because Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional dental, hearing, and vision benefits, you may be interested in finding a plan that offers these options. You can compare available Medicare Advantage plans in your area by using our eHealth Medicare plan comparison tool.
To hear more about Medicare coverage of dental care, hearing aids, and eyeglasses, watch the video below:
Medicare hasn’t approved or endorsed this information.