Hearing aids – who pays, and when?
Hearing aids fall under Federal disability insurance (IV) and Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance (AHV). Insured persons with a hearing loss above a certain threshold are entitled to a flat-rate contribution towards the cost. The degree of hearing loss must be assessed by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor. The amount of the flat-rate contribution depends on whether you need one hearing aid or two.
IV pays up to age 64
Federal disability insurance pays a financial contribution to people under 65 with an overall hearing loss of 20% or more. Specifically, it pays CHF 840 for a monaural device (i.e. in one ear) and CHF 1,650 for a binaural device (in both ears). Insured persons can claim this benefit once every six years. Federal disability insurance also reimburses CHF 40 a year towards the cost of batteries, or CHF 80 if two hearing aids are required, and makes a flat-rate contribution towards repairs.
Hearing aids for children and young people
Special rules apply to children and young adults up to the age of 18: the hearing aid(s) must be fitted by a recognised paediatric audiologist. Federal disability insurance pays CHF 2,830 for a monaural aid and CHF 4,170 for binaural devices. As in the case of adults, it also pays a flat rate of CHF 60 or CHF 120 a year towards the cost of batteries and a flat rate for repairs.
AHV takes over from age 65 onwards
Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance covers part of the cost of hearing aids for over-65s with an overall hearing loss of 35% or more. The AHV reimburses CHF 630 for an aid in one ear and CHF 1,237.50 for an aid in both ears.
When does health insurance pay?
As a rule, hearing aids aren't covered by general health insurance. However, if a person isn't entitled to IV or AHV benefits, the health insurer’s mandatory basic insurance comes into play. These cases are very rare: examples include individuals who are waiting to be granted asylum in Switzerland, or Swiss nationals newly returned from living abroad who haven't yet taken out basic insurance. In these cases, basic insurance pays the same benefits as those provided under Federal disability and Old-Age and Survivors' Insurance.
Buying a hearing aid: it’s worth having supplementary insurance
The financial support provided by the AHV and IV will only pay for a basic device. Supplementary insurance from CSS reimburses an additional share of the cost of hearing aids:
- myFlex Balance Outpatient Insurance: 90%, max. CHF 500 every 5 years
- myFlex Premium Outpatient Insurance: 90%, max. CHF 1,000 every 5 years
Health insurance premiums at a glance
A small device with a big impact: thanks to the latest technology, modern hearing aids are barely visible to the eye. They can either be worn behind the ear or inserted into the ear. Hearing aids also vary wildly in price, costing anywhere between CHF 450 and several thousand francs.
Which hearing aid is most suitable depends on how it will be used in your working and private life, and on how severe the hearing loss is. To find the best option for your individual needs, you should always have hearing aids fitted and checked by specialists.
- The flat-rate payment is only designed to cover basic hearing aids recognised by the Federal Social Insurance Office.
- If you wish to buy a more expensive, high-end hearing aid, the provider might offer you an AHV discount. You’ll have to pay the difference between the flat rate and the actual price from your own pocket.
- There is no insurance specifically for hearing, but you could take out supplementary insurance to cover certain benefits.
Improved quality of life for people with hearing loss
1.3 million people in Switzerland are hard of hearing. And not all of them are elderly. The sooner a hearing impairment is detected, the better it can be treated. Pro Audito helps people in Switzerland with hearing difficulties to improve their quality of life.
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