Aids > Costs
Generally, the product’s type will have a smaller effect on the price than the product’s size. That is to say, a BTE and an ITE that offer the same functionality and amplification, for example, will carry a similar cost. However, a BTE model that is significantly smaller will tend to cost substantially more than a traditional, larger sized BTE. Correspondingly, CICs and IICs will tend to be more expensive as they must, of necessity, fit all of the functionality into a much smaller device.
The hearing aid products from major brand manufacturers can be subdivided into four tiers: basic, standard, premium, and top-of-the-line. Although retail prices vary by location and depend on whether the purchase is made at a bricks-and-mortar store or an online retailer, the general price ranges are as follows: $750 to $2,000 for basic; $1,500 to $3,500 for standard; $3,000 to $5,000 for premium; $4,500 to $6,500 for top-of-the-line.
While it is possible to purchase a hearing aid for a few hundred dollars, these are either disposable aids or low quality devices with limited functionality, customization, and longevity. Most consumers are willing to spend more for a quality product that is backed by a brand name manufacturer and known for its performance. On the other hand, once the price point moves above $3,000, many consumers feel that the extra features are not worth the increase in cost. Market data suggests that a majority of consumers end up in the standard tier, paying between $2,000 and $3,000 for their hearing aid products.
Given the constant insertion and removal that takes place with hearing aids, coupled with their sensitive electronics and susceptibility to moisture, the need for repairs may arise even for the highest quality instruments. Consequently, the warranty can be an important component of the purchase decision. Most manufacturers offer a 2-year warranty covering repairs, although warranties can typically range from 1 to 3 years. In addition, certain retailers offer supplemental warranties.
For most consumers, the purchase of a hearing aid represents a substantial expense. Consequently, it may be worthwhile to carefully consider a broad range of products before committing to a particular device. Moreover, the place to try is not necessarily the place to buy, meaning that a retail location can offer a hands-on experience, but may not provide the most competitive price. Once a consumer identifies the type, brand, and model optimally suited to his or her needs, there may be a number of sources that offer that exact instrument. However the price for the same product can vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars from one retailer to another.
Given that hearing loss is a type of medical condition, many consumers assume that the costs of a hearing aid will be covered by their health insurance carrier. Unfortunately, this assumption is incorrect in most instances. While some health insurers cover costs related to hearing aids, the majority do not.
Some health insurance plans allow subscribers to add vision and hearing coverage for an extra fee. However, the specific treatment and product categories covered, as well as deductibles, will vary substantially across plans. Consumers should explore in detail the terms of coverage offered by their individual plans in order to avoid making unwarranted assumptions regarding the extent to which their hearing aid purchase may or may not be covered.
Certain states in the U.S. have passed legislation requiring hearing aid coverage for children, and some have proscribed coverage for both children and adults. Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Oregon all have laws requiring that health insurance plans in the state provide hearing aid coverage for children. In most states, coverage is provided until the age of 18, although in some the acceptable age is as low as 12 or as high as 24. The states of Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island require hearing aid coverage for not only children, but adults as well.
Most state laws place a cap on the price of the instrument and the frequency with which it can be replaced. The specific amount of coverage and the benefit period vary from state to state. The requirements for who is considered to be a “qualified provider” also vary. Consequently, consumers should check the specific guidelines for the states in which they reside.
In situations where a consumer’s health insurance does not cover hearing aids, or where a consumer does not carry health insurance, there is another alternative. A number of companies offer supplemental insurance specifically related to hearing products. Two examples are ESCO and PlanPlus. The downside is that such supplemental insurance can be expensive and, depending on the specific terms of the plan and the unique needs of the consumer, may or may not be worth the investment.
Many consumers have expressed that it is unfair for health insurance plans to cover eyeglasses, but not hearing aids. There is an on-going debate on this issue and both health insurance companies’ policies and state laws are being changed and updated as a direct consequence. For this reason, it makes sense for consumers to remain informed regarding changes in state legislation and in the terms of their health insurance plans.
This is the general cost breakdown and insurance coverage associated with hearing aids. Please explore other topics available on our site. In the meantime, if this information has been helpful to you, we would greatly appreciate it if you would support us by recommending our site to other users on Google. You can do so by simply clicking this button: