One of the main barriers to accessing hearing care is affordability, with the cost of prescription hearing aids ranging from $1,000 to $4,000. A new collaboration between UnitedHealthcare Hearing and AARP aims to make them easier on the pocket.
UnitedHealthcare Hearing is part of UnitedHealthcare and has a network of more than 7,000 hearing providers across the nation. AARP, meanwhile, is a nonprofit serving about 38 million members who are at least 50 years old.
Through the partnership, which was announced last week, AARP members can purchase prescription and over-the-counter hearing aids through UnitedHealthcare Hearing. AARP Members — even if they’re not covered by UnitedHealthcare — can buy prescription hearing aids starting at $699, as well as receive a complimentary hearing test and hearing aid consultation from the payer’s network of hearing providers.
AARP members can also receive virtual care and a 15% discount on hearing care products, including hearing accessories and assistive listening devices. Additionally, they can receive a year of follow-up care with a provider for no added cost.
Those seeking the program’s services can start by going to AARP Hearing Solutions’ website. They begin with an online hearing test, select how they want to receive care and see a hearing provider, who can help them decide which products are best for them.
The program is able to sell these hearing aids at a low cost because it serves such a large group of people, said Dave Falda, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Hearing.
“As one of the nation’s largest providers of hearing aids, we have the opportunity to leverage economies of scale and have established strategic relationships with key manufacturers and care providers to offer members such affordable prices,” Falda said.
UnitedHealthcare Hearing has been around for over a decade, providing care to its own members. Working with AARP allows it to expand its services, Falda said.
“We just simply have an opportunity to help more people,” he said in an interview. “Hearing unfortunately affects millions of people and it’s been reported that a large portion of people for whatever reason are unable or not pursuing hearing care.”
Indeed, about 13% of all adults and 27% of adults aged 65 and older have difficulty hearing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hearing loss is linked to higher rates of dementia, depression and fall injuries, the University of Michigan reported.
Greg Marion, AARP services senior vice president of health products and services, described the partnership with UnitedHealthcare and the “exclusive pricing” for OTC products as a game changer.
“AARP members will benefit from access to UnitedHealthcare Hearing’s expansive network of hearing centers and its commitment to providing quality hearing care,” Marion said in a statement.
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