To help senior citizens who face financial challenges, several programs exist to help them take care of certain medical needs. Vision and hearing costs can often be covered by various programs.
A number of programs provide free glasses to the needy, as well as hearing aids for free or at low cost for seniors with hearing problems. First, let’s discuss eye care.
Senior EyeCare Program
The Senior EyeCare Program helps people over the age of 60 who have no vision coverage through an insurance policy. Basically, through this program, you can get a free eye exam. Free screening for eye conditions and eye diseases common to seniors is provided. In addition, free prescription glasses are available.
If an eye condition or disease is found, the program can provide on-going care. You will receive care through a qualified provider. Also, medications or surgery needed to treat certain eye conditions can be arranged. You will be referred to a local eye doctor. All of this, at no or low cost to you. This is a great program for eligible seniors. The Senior EyeCare Program can be reached at 877-887-6327.
Senior citizens (and others) who have no vision coverage through insurance can get help from the nonprofit organization Vision USA. This organization works with eye doctors. In fact, these doctors generously donate their time and skill to provide complete, quality eye care. In addition,eye exams and glasses are included. Most importantly, this is provided at little to no cost for those who have limited income.
How To Apply to Vision USA
Anyone needing vision services can apply. If you are eligible, you will receive information to make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area. Contact lenses are not available at this time, but glasses and exams are available. In some states, a small donation or fee may be required. To contact Vision USA, call 1-800-766-4466.
National Eye Care Project
National Eye Care Project is a non-profit organization that operates nationwide. The program makes referrals to an eye doctor who will provide an eye exam at no cost to the patient. In addition to the routine exam, these providers also offer follow-up care. Besides that, you will not be charged for one year for any eye conditions diagnosed on the exam.
Although glasses are not provided, the National Eye Care Project can refer patients to programs that offer glasses, contact lenses, and other eye care products. You can contact the National Eye Care Project at 1-800-222-3937.
Hearing Aids and Medicare
If you are a senior on Medicare, you no doubt realize that Medicare does not cover hearing exams or hearing aids. However, some of the Advantage plans do cover hearing and vision. If you have an Advantage Plan, check with your provider to determine your coverage.
Lions Clubs across the United States and around the world have volunteers who help people with social and medical issues. For instance, this includes those with vision and/or hearing loss. In addition to the work they do directly, the Lions Clubs make referrals to partner organizations. Providing hearing aids and glasses that are free or for a low cost to seniors is one of the services they provide.
Contacting the Lions Club
To contact the Webmaster at Lions Clubs, call (630) 203-3887 or send an email at LionsAHAP@lionsclubs.org. In addition, you can call your local Lions Club. They can make a referral to a hearing aid bank that provides low cost or recycled hearing aids to seniors experiencing hearing loss.
Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation is a worldwide organization that has provided free or low cost hearing aids to people in 100 countries. However, the United States has received more of these hearing aids than any other single country. A great program carried out by Starkey is called ‘Hear Now’. Specifically, it provides assistance to low-income Americans. You must fill out an application to qualify. So, seniors who cannot afford the price of hearing aids are welcome to apply. Certainly, receiving them with no out-of-pocket charge or for a low cost makes a difference. For more information call 800.328.8602.
You may also want to check with some of your local agencies such as a senior center. They may be aware of clinics or other resources that can provide help to individuals who have hearing loss. There may be programs that offer services based on your income using a sliding scale.
Low income seniors may qualify for Medicaid. Through Medicaid, hearing aids can be available. If your income is higher than Medicaid eligibility, you may still apply for temporary assistance. This is referred to as the “medically needy” program. You will need to go through your county’s social services department to see if you qualify and if your state participates in this program.
Volunteer for a Hearing Aid Trial
Another way to find a hearing aid for a low cost would be to call the makers. Simply ask if you can volunteer for a trial. If accepted into a trial, seniors will probably be able to keep the aids as part of their payment. Although there may be a waiting list to participate in a hearing aid trial, it is well worth the wait. Calling several makers is a good idea. This will increase your chances of getting a hearing aid with less waiting time.