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Thread: United Health Care hearing aids

  1. #1
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    Default United Health Care hearing aids

    I just returned from a United Health Care meeting where it was shown, depending on the program, that hearing aids will be covered with 0 deductible or $360 deductible per aid. Aids will be shipped to insured's home from a hearing aid company United Health Care apparently now owns. Has anyone else encountered this or have more knowledge of it?
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    L.......Cochlea Implant

  2. #2

    Arrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Soonerman42 View Post
    I just returned from a United Health Care meeting where it was shown, depending on the program, that hearing aids will be covered with 0 deductible or $360 deductible per aid. Aids will be shipped to insured's home from a hearing aid company United Health Care apparently now owns. Has anyone else encountered this or have more knowledge of it?
    I actually got an alert on this, because there is already a legal fight brewing over a company selling hearing aids without a license.

    https://www.hihealthinnovations.com/...productlanding

    Basically a health insurance company figured that rather than cover the hearing health care needs of their policy holders, they would just offer some cheap hearing aids over the counter so to speak.

    It's a direct affront to the law in most states. Although notice how they refer to their products as 'hearing devices' not 'hearing aids.' An effort I'm sure to keep the lawyers happy. By making this one distinction they can avoid the 'middleman' as they call it, or in other words avoid having a comprehensive hearing examination conducted by an expert hearing professional.

    Their products appear to be non-custom amplifiers. They don't have any significant technical specs posted, so I'm guessing the technology is nothing to brag about.

    It will be interesting to see how it all pans out, especially with some of the statements made on their site, such as "both ears are recommended for optimal performance." Really? A bold statement without examining the patient! What if they have a unilateral loss? Or an acoustic neuroma. Oops.

  3. #3
    DocAudio Guest

    Default

    Yeah I'm aware of it as well.

    Someone called about the program (an audiologist who also happens to have UHC) and asked some questions - not as an audiologist but a beneficiary - the most important being what happened if there was a problem or the devices needed work or repair or what happened if they didn't work at all for them...the rep had no answer. Literally just sat on the phone in silence...

    This is the result of someone sitting in a big office somewhere trying to figure out ways to swindle money out of their beneficiaries under the guise of "easy solutions" to a very complex problem. After these people purchase these sub-standard products and realize they don't work for them they way they'd expect they will not be able to get any money back and will still have to go and get actual hearing aids...or better yet, figure that is what all hearing aids are like and never get anything again because the experience is so poor. I'm sure that some people will do okay, but for the majority of people doing this I'd bet money that they are terribly disappointed.

  4. #4

    Default

    Appatently, thay are using an online "hearing test" here. They supposedly create an audiogram from that.
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  5. #5

    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by prodigyplace View Post
    Appatently, thay are using an online "hearing test" here. They supposedly create an audiogram from that.
    And all these years I've been spending thousands of dollars on audiometers or MedRx systems for testing hearing, thousands more on sound booths, annual calibration and continuing education and license renewals. Yet all I needed to do was install a Flash sound player on my web site and let people test themselves!

    To me it looks like a straight up con, the more I think about it. What looks at first glance like a cheap hearing aid concept is actually a device not even certified as a hearing aid, not even called a hearing aid, no published fitting range, no meaningful service arrangement, nothing to protect the consumer at all really, except they can send the device back.

    The scary thing is, we're talking $1500 in round figures for a set. For just a few hundred more you could get a vastly superior system with a proper hearing test, life time service, and a real audiological fitting with follow up adjustments and annual hearing tests.

    The web site is encouraging people to send in their audiogram, meaning that in all likelihood these people will have gone to one of those clinics, wasted the time of a hearing professional who offers free hearing tests, and then walks out of the office with a copy of their hearing test having just cost that hearing professional an hour or two of his professional time (I wonder why hearing aids get so expensive?). Then they send in their audiogram and order up a cheap amplifier and shove it in their ears and wonder why it doesn't work.

    Or worse, they order up a hearing aid set after self testing on the web site, and wear these fake hearing aids for a year or two when all along the problem was actually a build up of wax and what they really needed was a cleaning at the doctors office not hearing devices at all. They could have solved the problem for $50 at the doctors office, but instead convinced themselves they had a hearing loss with this self service web site, and now they are out $1,500.

    Scam scam scam.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Default

    I really don't know what to think yet about UHC'c insurance program. A zero deductible was exciting to many in the meeting I attended and in the insurance booklet it's referred to as "hearing aids". In looking at the online hearing test I don't see how you can be accurate with the results. I wonder if this won't morph into an agreement with certain providers to do the testing and then the fitting once they are in the hands of the insured. UHC'c PPO's and HMO's are quite effective in S. Florida, the main drawback I see on the HMO's is that when go out of your county, you're out of the network, not so with PPO's. However the PPO's have a $360 deductible per ear. All in all it has the makings of a potentially good program but it can't be free (can it?).
    Hz.....250.....500.....750......1K......1.5K...... 2K.......3K
    R.......40.......60.......70.......75......100.... ..105......110
    L.......Cochlea Implant

  7. #7

    Arrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Soonerman42 View Post
    I really don't know what to think yet about UHC'c insurance program. A zero deductible was exciting to many in the meeting I attended and in the insurance booklet it's referred to as "hearing aids". In looking at the online hearing test I don't see how you can be accurate with the results. I wonder if this won't morph into an agreement with certain providers to do the testing and then the fitting once they are in the hands of the insured. UHC'c PPO's and HMO's are quite effective in S. Florida, the main drawback I see on the HMO's is that when go out of your county, you're out of the network, not so with PPO's. However the PPO's have a $360 deductible per ear. All in all it has the makings of a potentially good program but it can't be free (can it?).
    Based on what I read on the site, and your audiogram, I'd bet you $1,000 that their aids would be next to useless for your loss. I'd bet another grand that for just $500 more I could fit you with something vastly superior.

    When a company is scared to use the term 'hearing aid' that's a red flag. Then when a company is still peddling non-RIC technology, that's a concern too. And the final nail in the coffin is the lack of technical information (they have something to hide) and the assertion that you can just test yourself in your living room.

    It's insulting. It took me three years to become a senior licensed Hearing Aid Audiologist, working my ass off. And years of experience to reach my skill level now. To imply that a laptop and a set of iPod headphones can do my job is pretty stupid and dangerous. Not to mention insulting.

  8. #8
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    Default

    ZCT, I can appreciate what you're saying and by no means am I defending their program. It looks to me like it attempts to minimize the skills necessary to be able to accurately assess a person's hearing loss. From that perspective it looks like it would be an insult to all the people in the hearing aid industry. Unfortunately I have experienced first hand the difference in the abilities of hearing aid specialists to understand what I am hearing and adjust the aids to compensate. I have no doubt this cannot be done long distance. My intent on starting this thread is to let other people know what's coming.
    Hz.....250.....500.....750......1K......1.5K...... 2K.......3K
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    L.......Cochlea Implant

  9. #9

    Arrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Soonerman42 View Post
    ZCT, I can appreciate what you're saying and by no means am I defending their program. It looks to me like it attempts to minimize the skills necessary to be able to accurately assess a person's hearing loss. From that perspective it looks like it would be an insult to all the people in the hearing aid industry. Unfortunately I have experienced first hand the difference in the abilities of hearing aid specialists to understand what I am hearing and adjust the aids to compensate. I have no doubt this cannot be done long distance. My intent on starting this thread is to let other people know what's coming.
    No it's a good thread. Just saying what I thought of the web site, that's all.

  10. Default On behalf of United Healthcare Group

    Hi, we noticed your conversation about our recent launch, and wanted to point you to our FAQ on the Hi HealthInnovation's website. This should answer your questions about our products, technologies and offerings. Unfortunatley we are unable to post a live link in this reply, but you can access the FAQ from the lower left-hand corner of Hi HealthInnovation's homepage. If you need additional information, please donít hesitate to contact us at 1-855-523-9355.

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