Do you know if your Federal Health Benefit Program (FEHB) hearing aid benefit is changing for 2021? Some plans have made changes and whether you enrolled in the same plan for 2021 or switched to a new one during open enrollment, it’s worth reviewing the status of your hearing aid benefits. Several plans are changing their hearing aid benefits for 2021, including the amount of time that must pass before you’re eligible to purchase hearing aids again. If you’re switching plans, you may be moving to a plan with a different type of hearing benefit. The following is one example of the change to the benefit time renewal.
Here’s a Real World Example
Bob last purchased hearing aids in 2017. His current FEHB insurance plan offers a hearing aid allowance every three calendar years and he’s currently eligible to purchase hearing aids in 2020. His plan is changing to a hearing aid benefit period of every five calendar years starting in 2021.
- If Bob purchases hearing aids in December 2020, he will be eligible to use his hearing aid allowance again in January 2023. The three year renewal period applies for purchases 2020 and earlier.
- If Bob purchases hearing aids in January 2021, he will be eligible to use his hearing aid allowance again in January 2026. The five year renewal period applies for purchases 2021 and later.
Additionally, if you enrolled in a Federal Flexible Spending Account for 2020, there may be money in your account that must be used by the end of the year. If you are considering a hearing aid purchase, your FSA can be used to supplement your hearing aid benefit allowance if the benefit does not cover the full amount.
Here are some official resources you can use to review your FEHB plan options and their associated hearing aid benefits:
- FEHB Open Enrollment https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/open-season
- FEHB 2021 Plans https://www.opm.gov/healthcare-insurance/healthcare/plan-information/plans/
- FEHB Federal Spending Account https://www.fsafeds.com/