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Are Vision and Hearing Benefits Needed in Medicare?

This brief describes current use of and spending on routine vision and hearing services among all Medicare beneficiaries, as well as select subgroups. About 31 percent of Medicare enrollees used routine vision services in 2020, with average total vision expenditures of $411. Only 6.5 percent of Medicare enrollees used a routine hearing service, but average spending was high among those who did. This brief suggests that if Medicare were to cover vision and hearing services, it would primarily benefit lower-income enrollee groups who may have considerable unmet needs for these services.



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