Hearing Aid Insurance
- We have an expert staff to help you determine whether you insurance covers hearing aids.
- Hearing aids are generally not covered by health insurance companies, although some do.
- Children and young adults ages 21 and under, may receive hearing testing and hearing aids through Medicaid
- Retired low income adults in Oregon may be eligible for one hearing aid through some of the Medicaid program
- Adult with hearing loss who are displaced or need help doing their job some qualify for help through Vocational Rehabilitation.
- Medicare does not cover hearing aids for adults; however, diagnostic evaluations are covered if they are ordered by a physician for the purpose of assisting in the development of a treatment plan.
- Some nonprofit organizations, like Lions Club International, provide financial assistance for hearing aids.
- If your insurance pays for hearing aids, the payment may be in two different forms:
- The payment may be bundled
- Bundled payments are single one time payment that may cover some or the total cost of the hearing aids.
- The payment may be unbundled
- Unbundling assigns individual fees for the hearing aid evaluation, hearing aids, hearing aid fitting, and follow-up and service. Each item is billed separately when it occurs.
- The payment may be bundled
Bundled Vs Unbundled Hearing Aid Pricing
Historically audiologists sold hearing aids using a single price that reflected the cost of the hearing aid and the services to fit the aid including follow-up and routine cleanings. It was easy for the consumer to understand that after they purchased hearing aids, all their follow-up and services were included in the single price. During the last 5 years, insurance companies asked audiologists to unbundle hearing aid pricing. While this might not sound like a big deal, patients accustomed to paying only one time for their hearing aid find unbundling confusing and unfair. Let’s first talk about each method. If you’re a new hearing aid user, chances are you might prefer one method over the other.
When you arrive at the audiologist’s office for your first visit, the audiologist performs a hearing evaluation. The evaluation includes a case history, physical ear exam, and a series of tests to evaluate the transmission of sound from the outer ear to the auditory cortex. We may evaluate the middle ear and outer hair cells with automatic tests, and then you move to a sound treated room for tone and speech testing. After the testing, the audiologist explains the results. If you need amplification to improve your speech understanding, the audiologist will talk to you about hearing aids. The discussion is part of the hearing aid evaluation. If you decide to order hearing aids, the audiologist will quote you a single price for the hearing aids. This price includes the hearing aid, fitting, and follow-up. In addition, we include routine and unscheduled check-ups in this cost. If you have a problem with your hearing aids between your routine checks, you just call and the office for an appointment. You never pay for office visits related to your hearing aids. The service continues for the life of the hearing aid fitting. The biggest advantage to you is that you never pay for an office visit related to care or service of your hearing aids for as long as you have them. The biggest drawback to bundled pricing is that consumers pay for all their service and follow-up up front.
Unbundling assigns individual fees for the hearing aid and the service needed to deliver/fit it. The hearing aid is billed separately as well as the services such as, hearing testing, hearing aid evaluation, fitting, and follow-ups Each of your visits are charge based on the specific services performed and the time spent in the office. You pay a fee each time you visit the office for service or follow-up. The biggest advantage to unbundling for the consumer is that upfront or out-of-pockets cost is less at the beginning compared to bundled pricing. The biggest drawback to unbundling is your insurance benefit typically stops paying for service before the hearing aid needs replacement. This means that you pay for some of your follow up and service out of your pocket.
What’s Best, Bundled or Unbundled?
Some new hearing aid users prefer unbundled pricing. With unbundling, you pay less for the hearing aid up-front. Unbundled pricing mimics how you consume most of your professional and medical services. You pay only for the services you consume. You just need to remember that the life of hearing aid is typically five to seven years. Just because you have an insurance benefit for hearing aids, doesn’t mean that you won’t need to pay for some of your services, especially after the third or fourth year.
I prefer bundled pricing and here is why this works best for most hearing aid users. Hearing aids require service from a professional. In our office, hearing aid users have semi-annual check-ups, and hearing retested every two years. If your hearing changes significantly, then your hearing aids need reprogramming. Hearing aid users with bundled pricing never worry about the fees for these services because they were included in the pricing. In addition, your never worry about emergency/unscheduled visits between your routine appointments. Whenever you have a problem, just pick up the phone and schedule a time for service. Usually we see you within 24 hours.
Unbundling does not really save you money or cost you more money. In many ways, unbundling may be a fairer way of providing hearing aids and their related services. The problem with unbundling is that most experienced hearing aid users are accustomed to paying up-front with a single charge for their hearing aid and services for the life of their fitting. And in the long run, especially if you need extra service, bundling may be less expensive over the life of the hearing aid system.
For more information call us at 541-884-3725