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does Medicare cover cochlear implants

Does Medicare Cover Cochlear Implant Batteries?

Cochlear implants are electronic devices that help to restore hearing, even if it is only partial. However, these devices need a special type of battery in order to work.

And since the batteries are important to make them function, a common question many people have is, “does Medicare cover Cochlear Implant Batteries?”

We answer this question in clear, plain English below. You will also find out about the average costs of cochlear batteries, as well as other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Cochlear Implant Batteries?

The short answer is, yes, Medicare will cover the cost of Cochlear Implant Batteries. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your Cochlear Implant Batteries. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

First, it’s is important to know that Medicare covers only cochlear implant batteries. The coverage usually does not include hearing aid batteries or any other types of batteries.

To increase the chances that Medicare will reimburse you for cochlear implant batteries, there are a few things you should do. First, you’ll need the invoice/receipt from your purchase. Second, if you have a physician’s order for the batteries, you’ll want to submit that too. Third, buy your batteries from a supplier enrolled in Medicare.

If you do not have a Medicare enrolled supplier within 200 miles of you, hope is not lost. You can buy them from a retail supplier online. Then you can submit a CMS 1490 Part B Form to Medicare, providing the requested information.

Cochlear implant batteries are considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Medicare Part B covers DMEs.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C), there may be additional coverage options for these batteries. Be sure to check with your plan provider for the specifics of what they will cover for you.

How Much Do Cochlear Implant Batteries Cost?

Cochlear implant batteries’ cost can range widely. They can be as low as $5 and go high as $150 or more. (However, higher-cost batteries often come in packs.)

Types Of Batteries For Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implant batteries come in different variations. Each type of battery has subtle differences, most commonly the battery size and cell type.

The battery’s size will indicate if it will fit in your cochlear implant. They are labeled with a letter or number. The most common battery size is 675.

Most of the batteries we cover in this article are all available in size 675. Only the custom-made MED-EL DaCapo battery is different in size.

Cell Types

Cell types are another name for type of fuel that powers the battery. Here are the different cell types:

  • Zinc-air batteries
  • Silver-oxide and alkaline batteries
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • MED-EL DaCapo batteries
  • Sonnet batteries

Zinc-air batteries have a lot of power, so they are for long-lasting use; batteries can last 60-90 hours, depending on the audio processor and the battery pack.

However, they need continuous contact with oxygen to produce power. They will start working as soon as you pull off the little tab. Once the zinc has oxidized, it will stop making power and has to be replaced.

Unlike zinc-air batteries, silver-oxide and alkaline batteries are powered by a chemical reaction inside the batteries. Though they are cheaper than zinc-air batteries and don’t last as long. They usually last 6-8 hours per set.

Rechargeable batteries are self-explanatory. Depending on your audio processor and battery pack, they can last approximately 6-8 hours.

MED-EL DaCapo batteries have their battery pack, which can be used with the OPUS 2 or RONDO. They are rechargeable batteries and can last for as long as 16 hours.

Sonnet batteries are lithium-powered batteries. They have two rechargeable battery options, the Standard and Micro battery packs, and they can last 7-10 hours.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover handicap vans?

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