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Humana Introduces Affordable Hearing Aid Benefit in Medicare Advantage Plans
Benefit offered through TruHearing relationship should improve access to hearing tests and increase affordability for hearing aids
Medicare beneficiaries in select states will soon have better access to hearing examinations and affordable hearing aids thanks to Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), a leading health and well-being company, teaming up with TruHearing, a hearing health care services and hearing aids company.
One in four Americans 70 years and over has a hearing impairment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Traditionally, hearing aids have been unaffordable and out-of-reach for many Medicare beneficiaries. According to a National Academies of Sciences report on hearing aid affordability, the average retail price of two hearing aids in 2013 was approximately $4,700. Original Medicare covers diagnostic hearing exams if a patient’s health care provider orders the test to see if medical treatment is needed. Otherwise, original Medicare does not cover hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams to fit hearing aids.
Humana is including this hearing aid benefit on certain Medicare Advantage plans offered for the 2017 plan year in select states. The benefit allows for one annual routine hearing exam at no cost to the member and introduces a copayment for hearing aids, simplifying the cost. Members will be able to obtain two hearing aids per year (one per ear) with the choice of a standard TruHearing hearing aid for a $699 copay or a premium TruHearing hearing aid for a $999 copay; copays are per hearing aid. Members who don’t have access to these plans may still have access to Humana Medicare Advantage plans that include hearing aid benefits through other companies that provide hearing services and hearing aids. However, these benefits typically have a $1,000 hearing aid allowance, rather than fixed copays.
TruHearing hearing aids include three provider visits for fittings and evaluations within the first year of the hearing aid purchase, a 45-day trial period, a three-year extended warranty and 48 batteries per aid – all at no extra cost to the member. The hearing aids offer wireless connectivity to your phone or tablet and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles.
The hearing aid benefit is offered on Humana Medicare Advantage HMO plans. People with Medicare may select these plans during the annual Medicare enrollment period, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, 2016. Those selecting a plan with this option will be able to start using the benefit Jan. 1, 2017.
Medicare beneficiaries who are interested in the hearing aid benefit should visit www.Humana-Medicare.com to research these plans and learn more about this and other plan benefits.