Business Management | March 2021 Hearing Review

Medicare beneficiary demographics and utilization/payment for audiologic procedures

By Ian Windmill, PhD, and Barry Freeman, PhD

The purpose of this 14-year review of Medicare data is to inform budgetary or productivity decisions within hearing care practices and support initiatives related to payments at the state or federal level. While reimbursement for audiologic procedures has changed over the past 14 years, payments have been relatively stable since 2013. The absolute number of patients referred for audiologic services has increased, but the proportion of referrals has not changed over the past 12 years, with Medicare beneficiaries receiving air/bone conduction SRT, word recognition, and tympanometry. Diagnostic testing was conducted less than 20% of the time and tinnitus evaluations less than 1% of the time on the Medicare population. The stability of Medicare payments allows practitioners to predict revenues in upcoming years and provides a benchmark for judging payments from other third parties. The majority of Medicare beneficiaries receive hearing evaluations but not diagnostic assessments.