If I asked you to name 10 things that are more fun than dealing with health insurance, could you do it? How about 20 things? For most people, that exercise takes no time at all, because the truth is that almost anything is more fun than navigating the complexity of insurance.
In our work with hearing healthcare at Precision Hearing, we see first-hand the frustration and difficulty that insurance can cause for patients. That’s why we’ve put together a simple list of things you should know to help make your hearing health journey just a little easier:
- Your hearing aid provider may be able to verify your insurance for you.
As an audiologist, my number one priority is helping patients access the hearing care they need to improve their life. An easy way that I can support patients and help create transparency for them around their costs is to have our office verify insurance directly. If you are unsure of your hearing benefits, ask your provider to verify them. If they are unable to, call our office at (352) 404-5671.
- There’s a difference between an insurance benefit and a third-party discount program.
There are two ways your health insurance company might help you when it comes to hearing aids. The first way would be to provide a hearing aid benefit. A benefit could be a percentage or a dollar amount. For example, an insurance company might pay $1000 toward hearing aids, or they might pay 80% of the cost of hearing aids. Other plans don’t offer a benefit, but they give their members access to third-party discount programs that allow patients to purchase hearing devices at a reduced cost. In the majority of cases, patients are still responsible for paying this reduced cost out of pocket.
Another difference is how much follow-up care is included. If you use an insurance benefit, you will likely have unlimited follow-up care with the provider you purchased the hearing aids from. This is to your advantage because it means you can have your hearing aids professionally maintained regularly and you can have them adjusted any time there is a change in your hearing. On the other hand, if you use a third-party discount program, part of the reason the price is discounted is that they limit the number of follow-up visits you get with your provider. You would then have to pay out of pocket for any additional follow-up care you need.
- Out-of-network providers may still be covered by your insurance.
Most major insurance companies who have a hearing aid benefit will provide the same benefits for in-network and out-of-network providers. This is different than most other services that your insurance covers and its great news because it means you can choose any provider you want to work with when it comes to hearing care. Additionally, many hearing aid providers are contracted with the third-party programs offered through their insurance even if they aren’t in network with the insurance company itself. Essentially, this means that a hearing care provider may be covered under your insurance even if they are out of network with your insurance carrier.
At Precision Hearing, we participate with almost all third-party providers like TruHearing and HearUSA. So, while you won’t find us listed on websites for Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Healthcare, we do accept insurance for patients covered under those plans as well as the majority of other large insurers.
- There is support available for the costs insurance won’t cover.
Medical care is expensive. There’s no way around that. But many hearing care providers work with a variety of programs to help financially support patients who need hearing care. At Precision Hearing, we offer hearing evaluations for free to ensure all patients have access to valuable information about the health of their hearing. We also offer financing and leasing programs that support patients who are unable to buy hearing aids outright. If you have concerns about the cost of hearing devices, talk with your provider about payment options.
- Your choice of hearing provider matters.
When it comes to hearing care, you have a huge range of options. On one end of the continuum, audiologists are clinically trained professionals with a doctorate degree in the diagnosis and treatment of the hearing care system. These professionals are equipped to help counsel you through the full range of hearing needs and recommend further medical treatment as needed. At the other end of the continuum, hearing aid dispensers have a minimum education requirement of a high school diploma and a basic certification in fitting hearing devices.
When you are pursuing hearing care, consider the level of expertise that you need. If your hearing aids don’t seem to be matching your needs or your provider isn’t able to offer holistic counseling and care around your hearing health, it may be time to pursue care with a licensed audiologist. As someone with a hearing loss myself, I’ve personally experienced the difference expertise and quality care can make throughout the hearing journey.
If you are looking for a hearing care provider who is experienced, professional, and covered by most major insurances contact Precision Hearing at 352-765-8008 to schedule an appointment. Or, learn more about your hearing health by visiting www.precisionhearingfl.com.