While most health insurance plans don’t cover hearing aids, you may still be able to reduce the cost of hearing aids using your HSA, HRA, or FSA benefits.
Buying a hearing aid is a significant investment in your health and quality of life, especially when looking for quality. While some health insurance plans provide an allowance for hearing aids, most do not. But the good news is that you may still can purchase your Vibe Air through a few special programs, including HSA, HRA, and FSA benefits.
The first step to find out is check if your health insurance includes a Health Savings Account (HSA), Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), or Flexible Spending Account (FSA)—if it does, you should be able to use those funds to buy not only Vibe Air hearing aids but batteries as well!
Not sure if you have these benefits?
Your best bet is to check with your employer’s HR department. What’s more, the cost of a hearing aid and batteries, repairs, and maintenance is an IRS-approved, qualified medical expense.
Now, let’s take a peek at each of these benefit programs in detail.
What is a Health Savings Account?
An HSA account lets you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses. Any withdrawals you make from your HSA account are also tax-free. Most HSAs provide a debit card for accessing your funds.
You can contribute to an HSA if you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) and you’re not covered by Medicare. Most HDHPs have a minimum deductible as well as a cap on your out-of-pocket expenses which change year to year. The amount you can contribute to your HSA changes annually and any balance left in your HSA at the end of the year carries over to the next year.
To open an HSA, visit any bank that offers this type of account. It’s worth searching around as different banks offer different interest rates or other benefits. For convenience, you might want to keep your HSA at the same bank where you have your checking account, though this isn’t required.
What is a Health Reimbursement Account?
HRAs are employer-established benefit plans, which the employer pays for, usually in conjunction with other health benefits. If you purchase hearing aids through your HRA, you will typically submit a reimbursement form, just like if you were filing a regular insurance claim. HRA funds can generally be carried over to the next year.
What is a Flexible Spending Account?
An FSA is a prepaid spending account funded by contributions from you (and sometimes your employer as well) that allows you to cover certain medical expenses using pretax dollars. These expenses can include copays, deductibles, and a variety of medical products and services, including eyeglasses and hearing aids.
It’s up to you how much to contribute to the the FSA. Most employers set a limit on contributions that changes from year to year up to a limit that your employer sets. This limit may change each year.
To use your FSA, you would submit a claim to the FSA administrator (through your employer) with proof of the medical expense and a statement that it has not been covered by your regular insurance plan. Then, you’ll be reimbursed, usually as part of your regular paycheck.
Most FSAs simplify this process by providing a debit card that you can use to pay for qualified expenses, eliminating the need to request reimbursement.
Like HRAs, FSAs are available only through an employer, but they may also be available as part of a Medicare supplement plan.
Unlike the other two plans, FSAs have a ‘use it or lose it’ model, where any remaining funds expire once a year—typically on December 31.
There have been some recent, temporary changes to the FSA regulations where your employer may allow you to carry over the funds or give you a grace period of 12 months. However, these changes are not mandatory so it’s best to check with your FSA plan administrator or your HR department to see if they’ve adopted these options.
How to use these accounts to buy Vibe Air
For plans that provide a prepaid debit card, simply use that card to order your hearing aids, and keep the Vibe Hearing receipt for your records.
If your plan requires you to pay for durable medical equipment upfront and then get reimbursed, you can attach your Vibe Hearing receipt to your reimbursement claim.
Other questions you may have about Vibe Air and your FSA or HSA
Q: I don’t have enough left in my FSA or HSA to pay for the hearing aids in full—can I pay for part of the order with my debit card and the rest with my credit card?
A: Yes—just call our customer service team at 1-833-400-VIBE, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: If I pay for my hearing aids with my FSA or HSA, do I still get the money-back guarantee?
A: Yes, although the refund will either be credited back to your debit card or sent in the form of a check to your plan administrator.
Q: I’d like to add more to my FSA so I can pay for my hearing aids in full. How do I do it?
A: Depending on how your employer’s FSA is structured, you may be able to increase your FSA contribution rate at any time, or you might have to wait until the end of the plan year. Check your FSA plan documents or contact your HR department to find out.
Q: It’s just past the end of the year and I still had funds left in my FSA. Can I use them or is it too late?
A: Your employer may offer a grace period or allow you to roll a certain amount into the next year, known as a carryover option. Check your FSA plan documents or contact your HR department to find out.
Using your HSA or FSA benefits to reduce the cost of your Vibe Air hearing aids is a smart move. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact our customer service team at 1-833-400-VIBE, or email email@example.com.