Hearing Centers With Heart
VVHC’s fees vary depending upon the type of service offered. Dr. Rinn will provide all the test results to your primary care physician, and also give you a copy so that it can become part of your medical record. There are no hidden fees.
Dr. Rinn is a licensed Medicare provider. Although Medicare will cover most hearing services, it does not cover the cost of hearing aids. Traditionally, health insurance companies have not covered the cost of professional hearing services, but fortunately, that is undergoing change. Secondary health benefit providers might provide a hearing benefit. If your health insurance company offers a hearing benefit, Dr. Rinn will do everything she can to take advantage of the benefit.
Let’s Talk About Cost
These benefits are generally offered as an option that you pay extra for in your premium costs. To add hearing benefits to a health insurance plan it raises the premium per month on average $25, and the payout is typically $500 every three years, per ear. So let’s do the math. That’s $900 you have now paid into your insurance company, for a possible thousand dollar benefit. We stress possible, because as anyone who has ever dealt with an insurance company knows, the possible maximum benefit is very rarely what is paid out. People don’t often take this into account, and insurance companies know this.
Hearing Health as a Sales Tool
So why are insurance companies offering this type of benefit? Well, the biggest reason, simply put, is profit. The insurance companies use hearing benefits to attract more subscribers to their health insurance plans. People know that hearing aids are costly, and assume that when they buy this type of insurance, that the benefit they will receive will be comprehensive. This is not the case. These benefits will always fall short of the true cost of the device and associated services.
A Health Insurer’s Attempt to Profit from Hearing Aid Sales
As recent as a few years ago, one nationally known health insurance company’s attempt to dive into the hearing healthcare industry started with the company’s subscribers being directed to an online hearing test, which is dangerous on a variety of levels. You wouldn’t take an EKG online, or any medical test, you couldn’t possibly be diagnosed properly, and thus would not receive medically necessary follow-up care. Unbelievably, this was the insurers’ direction. Next, if a hearing loss was detected from the online hearing test, the insurance company would mail the member a set of hearing aids to the insured’s home, which, as we’ve discussed, is very dangerous. The insured member would never see a trained audiologist, or any professional, for that matter. Underlying issues would remain undiagnosed and untreated, often to the detriment of the patient.
Thankfully, the FDA banned this practice very quickly. However, now those insured members that still have this type of plan must obtain a comprehensive hearing evaluation from a licensed audiologist and receive medical clearance to use a hearing aid system before the health insurance company will mail them a set of hearing aids. This practice is still a huge disservice to the patients in need of hearing healthcare because the acquisition of hearing aids is only one aspect of a successful outcome for patients that need hearing benefits.
Fortunately, the industry is seeing a shift in the hearing benefits being offered by the health insurance companies. Recently many of the insurance companies are offering much better benefits to their members in the way of hearing aid coverage.
So, before buying a costly hearing health benefit offered by your insurance company, be sure to read your policy carefully to determine whether or not the cost truly matches the benefit. Vail Valley Hearing Center offers many payment options and maintains relationships with many local agencies that can help cover the cost of quality hearing healthcare.
Linda Braly, our office manager, is an excellent insurance advocate for our patients and she is proficient at accessing and obtaining a patient’s health insurance benefits information for them. Because the market costs of hearing aids change often, VVHC does not list our prices.
Please call the office to inquire about various fees and styles of hearing aids and other products.
Colorado law entitles the patient to a 30-day trial period with hearing aids. The law of Colorado also states that the hearing aid provider may retain up to 5% of the total purchase price if hearing aids are returned within the 30-day trial period.
VVHC provides brochures in the office on How to Purchase Hearing Aids in Colorado.