COVID-19 Update: With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation. We’ve developed a list of products that caregivers or seniors can purchase to help older adults stay happy, healthy and connected, whether they are aging in place at home or in an assisted living community.

Yes, most UnitedHealthcare plans cover hearing aids for those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss. For many people, reduced hearing comes on gradually, slowly impacting their quality of life and their ability to work or volunteer, communicate effectively and enjoy their favorite TV programs or music. Hearing loss or a reduction in hearing clarity can also be a safety issue for many seniors, making it difficult for them to hear fire alarms in the house, traffic when spending time outdoors and emergency vehicles while driving.

Hearing aids can be expensive, and not every health care plan covers them. For many seniors on a limited budget, a hearing aid may be inaccessible unless it’s partly or fully covered by their insurance, including supplemental Medicare Advantage (Part C). UnitedHealthcare understands the needs that many subscribers have and has addressed gaps in coverage with hearing health plans. Keep reading to learn more about UnitedHealthcare’s hearing health plans.

UnitedHealthcare Hearing Plans

Hearing aids and hearing health care are available from UnitedHealthcare through most fully insured plans, including ASO plans, thus reducing the costs for members. UnitedHealthcare partners with two leading hearing health providers, hi HealthInnovations and EPIC Hearing Healthcare, to give subscribers custom-programmed hearing aids at up to 80% less than industry prices.

EPIC Hearing Healthcare offers hearing health benefits nationwide, and hi HealthInnovations is a home delivery system for custom-made hearing aids. UnitedHealthcare members have over 5,000 hearing care providers and credentialed audiologists to choose from, with treatment centers across the country. Hearing aids may be purchased online, over the phone or in person. The co-pay varies according to the subscriber’s plan and the item or items purchased. Some TTY kits may also be available.

Plan Requirements and Coverage Specifications

Not all hearing aid brands may be covered under this plan. However, for those enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Hearing plans in 2020, the company offers name-brand and private-label hearing aids from a number of major manufacturers. The program has more than 5,000 hearing care affiliates across the country, and customer care specialists can help subscribers find a treatment center near them and understand their plan and coverage options, including which types of hearing aids and other devices are covered under their plan.

Other services include support for families to help them understand hearing decline, as well as education about improving and maintaining hearing health. Although pricing for each device can vary, some hearing aids are priced as low as $649, compared to industry averages of $2,000-$3,000.

How the Plan Works

UnitedHealthcare subscribers interested in purchasing hearing aids or hearing equipment should speak with their doctor for testing and a diagnosis. Hearing tests typically take the form of an audiogram, and the results are submitted to hi HealthInnovations for approval. The hearing aids are then custom-programmed by hi HealthInnovations according to each person’s individual results before the completed devices are reviewed by a professional audiologist. The final product is either sent directly to the person’s home or fitted in-person at their hearing health care center.

Ongoing Hearing Health Services

Many seniors may notice that their hearing health needs change over time, with their clarity and ability to distinguish sounds deteriorating as they age. UnitedHealthcare also covers annual audiologist appointments for most plan members. Individuals who have custom-made hearing aids from hi HealthInnovations may be able to get their hearing aids reprogrammed by the company based on their most recent audiologist results.