Can a Pensioner get a Free Hearing Aid?
Can a ‘Pensioner’ get a Hearing Aid for Free?
Australians on the age pension make up a large portion of the participants in the Hearing Services Program. Can a pensioner get a FREE hearing aid? YES! Pensioners can get a hearing aid for free if they meet the Minimal Hearing Threshold Rule and, if applicable its sub criteria.
To clarify not just ‘pensioners’ qualify for free hearing aids, every participant under the Hearing Services Program (HSP), if criteria is met can receive hearing aids. Participants of the HSP can also use the allocation of hearing aid funding per voucher towards a ‘top-up’ set of hearing aids which have advanced features, over-and-above the basic free government hearing aid.
If a hearing aid is lost or damaged beyond repair a hearing aid replacement option is available under HSP. A fee can be charged for the replacement of the hearing aids by the provider. Again, certain criteria need to be met.
Does Medicare cover hearing test?
The Australian Government provides certain services at low or no cost to eligible persons for a range of health care related services and products through the long-established Medicare initiative, enacted by the labor party in 1984.
Unfortunately, when it comes to hearing aids, Medicare does not cover the cost. Several funding schemes exists for certain populations in Australia.
- Hearing Services Program (HSP) is the largest funding scheme for both hearing testing, rehabilitation, and hearing aids. See full description below.
- Community Service Obligations (CSO) is a sub funding initiative also falling under the HSP banner
- Hearing aid banks for persons who cannot afford hearing aids. In South Australia, this is run through the Audiology Department at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) and is an option for persons who have a low-income Health Care Card. More info can be found here.
- Extra’s cover with certain health funds (usually the major funds, if not all by now). This usually ranges from $500 to $2000 rebate. Please call your health fund to check specifics rebates and waiting periods
The Hearing Services Program (HSP). The HSP was first established in 1997 and is a national scheme delivered through Government and privately owned hearing clinics. Practitioners under the HSP must hold a Qualified Practitioner (QP) number to deliver services. HSP is commonly referred to as the Government hearing aid voucher scheme, although not its official name.
A voucher is issued to each participant who meets the criteria listed below and is re-issued every five years. The voucher entitles the holder to a full hearing assessment, subsequent yearly hearing checks and funding for hearing aids if meeting certain criteria.
The eligibility to obtain services can be found directly on hearingservices.gov.au. In short, HSP eligibility relates to persons who have an age pension, Department of Veterans affairs, member of the Australian Defense Force and a few other categories.
The Community Service Obligation (CSO) assists persons with complex hearing needs, Australians under the age of 26 and aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. Certain conditions apply for each group listed, please see specifics requirements for the program here; hearingservices.gov.au. The CSO is only delivered through Hearing Australia.
What about the rest of us?
Australians who do not fall into one of the above categories (employed, or self-funded retire) can seek services from any private hearing clinic. Common practice is to charge for the full hearing assessment and a bundled price for the rehabilitation, the hearing aid, fitting fee and follow up appointments.
Therefore, can a pensioner get a free hearing aid? In short YES, certain criteria are required, and advice from your Hearing Care Professional should be followed.
Call one of our friendly team on 1300 017 732 for more information or to make an appointment. An online enquiry can be made here; CONTACT US.