If you have health insurance and have tried to get your hearing aids covered through it, you know that it’s difficult, if not all-together impossible. Insurance companies rarely cover hearing aids despite the extensive research now showing that they may play a vital role in total health and well-being.
But could that be changing? If the newest move by United Healthcare is any indication, health insurance companies could be recognizing the value in covering hearing health care costs such as hearing aids.
Health insurance and hearing healthcare
Millions of Americans report some degree of hearing loss, according to the NIH, approximately 37 million adults alone. This number continues to grow as the population ages. It’s hard to deny that hearing healthcare can no longer be pushed to the back burner where it’s been in the past.
Experts now stress the importance of hearing evaluations as part of monitoring our overall health and recommend hearing aids to treat hearing loss and help prevent things such as depression, anxiety and cognitive decline. Unfortunately, even those that want to follow those recommends are unable to because of the cost. A cost that is rarely covered by insurance companies.
According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, less than 20 states require healthcare plans to pay for hearing aids for children. Just four states (Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island) require health plan benefits to help cover the cost of hearing aids for both children and adults. This coverage varies widely from state to state, and often leave subscribers paying a significant portion of the cost.
Even a device deemed so essential to hearing health, mental health and cognitive health is still considered non-medically necessary. United Healthcare is now leading the charge against the view.
UnitedHealthcare Hearing, launched by UnitedHealthcare, is now making it more affordable for their subscribers to take control of their hearing health. The program is available in individual, employer-sponsored and Medicare Advantage plans and includes:
- Custom-programmed hearing aids at up to 80% less
- A partnership that allows employers to provide expanded hearing health benefit plans with hearing aid options and access to hearing health professionals
- Medicare Advantage plans allow subscribers to choose custom-programmed hearing aids from major manufacturers with only a nominal copay
“Helping people maintain or improve their hearing health can enhance their overall well-being and reduce their risk of falls and health conditions associated with untreated hearing loss, such as depression and dementia,” said Tom Wiffler, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits.
The move by the insurance company offers hope to the millions out there living with hearing loss and the countless more who will be diagnosed in years to come. Hearing aids, once out of reach for many, could become more affordable and accessible without sacrificing quality or the guidance of hearing healthcare professionals as some alternatives do.
If you believe you have hearing loss, don’t wait for insurance to cover hearing aids. Investing in your hearing health now could be one of the smartest decisions you ever make for your health. Contact our office to learn more about hearing aids and how to make them more affordable.