HEARING AID FINANCING: WHAT CONDITIONS APPLY?
17 September 2018
In Québec, the cost of your hearing aids may be reimbursed by government agencies (RAMQ, CNESST, Veterans Affairs, SAAQ, etc.) or by most health insurance companies. However, to benefit from hearing aid financing, you must meet several well-defined criteria to know if you are eligible.
The Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ) and hearing aids
If you are already a beneficiary and insured under the RAMQ and you have a hearing impairment, you are eligible for reimbursement assistance for the purchase price of your hearing aids. To take advantage of reimbursement assistance for the cost of a hearing aid, it is necessary:
– To obtain a medical certificate from an oto-rhino-laryngologist confirming the hearing impairment and its permanent nature and specifying the indications and contraindications for a hearing aid.
– To obtain an audiogram or a certificate confirming the need to have a hearing aid from an ENT or an audiologist.
However, there are some conditions for eligibility:
– You are the legal guardian of a person under 12 years of age whose hearing problems negatively affect their development of speech, language, and growth.
– You are the legal guardian of a person over 12 years of age and under 19 years of age whose ear is affected by an average hearing loss of at least 25 decibels.
– You are a person over 19 years of age whose ear is affected by an average hearing loss of at least 25 decibels and who is pursuing a program of studies leading to a diploma, a certificate, or an attestation of studies recognized by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport.
– You are a person whose ear with the highest capacity is affected by an average hearing loss of at least 35 decibels.
– You are a person with a hearing impairment in addition to one or more other disabilities that inhibit your social, academic, or professional integration.
If you meet these conditions, you must visit a hearing care professional practicing in Québec with the required documents to take advantage of the reimbursement assistance.
What types of hearing aids are covered?
If you meet the required conditions, the RAMQ will handle the costs (the fees that are charged directly, as well as the services rendered by the hearing care professional), whether it is a hearing aid purchase or replacement. We’re therefore talking about an in-the-ear device, a behind-the-ear device, or a receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) device. Devices used to improve hearing are now digitally controlled. They may also be reimbursed according to the patient’s medical needs. In addition, people suffering from a hearing impairment may also be reimbursed for the cost of purchasing or replacing assistive listening devices, such as decoders, tele-prescribers, telephone amplifiers, or ringtone detectors.
Restrictions for hearing aid reimbursement by the RAMQ
If the wearer of a hearing aid has used their device negligently, lost it, destroyed it, or had it stolen, they may not be able to be reimbursed, if necessary, for the replacement or repair of their hearing aid. You therefore need to take care of your hearing aid but also prove how your device was damaged for the RAMQ to handle the replacement or repair of the hearing aid. Finally, the RAMQ does not reimburse the costs to replace your device’s batteries, nor its cleaning. However, the examination of your hearing aid is included in the price of the hearing aid and is therefore reimbursed by the RAMQ.
If you want to be reimbursed for the more substantial costs associated with your hearing aid or more extensive financing that gives you access to more stylish or more effective models or hearing aids that are compatible with other technological devices, you may have to rely on private insurance, which offers more reimbursement.