With the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications estimating that approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing, it is important to have a cost effective hearing aid benefit for your members.
Hearing loss is a degenerative condition, and although it most often cannot be medically or surgically corrected in adults, it can be successfully treated. The most effective way to manage adult hearing loss is with the use of hearing aids, which has proven to reverse the negative consequences associated with the inability to hear. These include depression, cognitive decline, short term memory difficulties, and increased risk of high blood pressure, anxiety and even balance issues, such as falling.
Despite successful adoption rates and high hearing aid satisfaction rates, many people who could benefit from hearing aids refuse to use them, with reasons varying from the high cost of hearing aids to cosmetic concerns or the fear of looking older.
Hearing aids can be a costly investment, with the prices often varying by several hundred or even thousands of dollars, depending on the type of technology selected and the place of purchase. What’s more, many insurances don’t cover hearing aids. But the truth is, a hearing plan can be designed at a very low cost, or no cost to the organization, but offer big savings to the membership.
Consider these types of plan designs that can be customized for your group, saving your members hundreds of dollars on their hearing aids:
- Copay up to a set amount for one or two hearing aids per year
- Coverage of the partial costs of a hearing aid up to a set amount
- Coverage of the entire amount or a set amount per ear
- A discount on hearing aids from specific healthcare providers
- Many reputable hearing benefit managers will provide value added offerings, such as extended warranties, follow up care and money back guarantees to give your members extra protections
There are also state mandates that can influence hearing aid benefits, but mostly are for children which can benefit your members’ families. Only five states mandate insurance coverage for hearing aids for adults. They include:
- Arkansas – $1,400 per aid, every 3 years
- Connecticut – $1,000 every 24 months
- Illinois – $2,500 per hearing aid every 24 months
- New Hampshire – $1,500 per aid, every 60 months
- Rhode Island – $800 per aid, every 3 years
Knowing the importance of hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss, the question every benefit administrator should ask is: “Are my members paying more for hearing aids than they should?” A Hearing aid benefit can make a difference in whether your member decides to purchase hearing aids. And to get the important help they need. When choosing or changing your hearing benefits, make sure those benefits include a hearing aid benefit and are customizable. To learn more about the benefits of hearing aid use read our white paper, “Modern Hearing Aids: Smarter, Smaller and More Effective.”