Hearing Aids – Why Do They Cost So Much?
The future of hearing aids will bring consumers a new way to buy them. While hearing aids will eventually be sold over the counter, for the time being, most people need to visit an audiologist to determine if they need them. According to Dr. Angela Morris, president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, “ear aids are regulated as a medical device,” so the cost will fluctuate from person to person.
Medical devices regulate the cost of hearing aids.
The FDA’s announcement last week that hearing aids will be regulated as a medical device is good news for consumers. The new regulations aim to ensure that hearing aids are safe, effective, and affordable and shape the market in ways that promote competition. The hearing aid market is huge, but it is dominated by a small number of specialty device manufacturers. In addition to these issues, the new rule will also help consumers avoid unnecessary costs and risks.
A recent study estimated that a monopolized market for hearing aid costs $89 billion between 2020 and 2029. However, the Congressional Budget Office has yet to calculate the true cost of a competitive market. The Biden executive order helped the FDA move forward with this long-overdue policy. However, there is still a long way to go until the prices of hearing aids become affordable for consumers.
Premium hearing aids are more expensive than low-end hearing aids.
The average hearing aid cost is $2,500, but you can find devices at far lower prices. For example, some brands offer affordable devices starting at only $99 per pair. Other retailers and online distributors advertise hearing devices for as low as $100. These devices amplify sounds without providing the same support and function as hearing aids. Most hearing aids are sold by licensed audiologists or larger retailers, while smaller direct-to-consumer companies manufacture and sell their own devices.
Internet purchases of hearing aids are cheaper.
In the U.S., it is cheaper to buy hearing aids online since large retailers have access to volume-based pricing from manufacturers. Retailers’ purchasing power and volume of business mean they can get the best deals on hearing aids. Most states require a 30-day trial period for hearing aids, but the six-month trial is far longer than the industry standard. There is also no loaner hearing aid service at some retailers, so if you have to wait too long, Internet purchasing hearing aids will be the best option.
The price of hearing aids varies between locations, but generally, internet purchases are cheaper than those from private practice. You can also get ongoing service from licensed professionals. You can also expect a wide selection of high-quality hearing aids, plenty of accessories and connectivity options, and personalized care from a doctor of audiology. While retailers have a large volume of products, it is not worth the cost if you don’t need them immediately.
Health insurance covers hearing aids.
As of January 1, 2022, health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and corporations providing health insurance coverage for children must cover hearing aids. The coverage must cover the cost of one hearing aid per hearing-impaired ear, up to $1,500 per ear, every 24 months. This coverage is provided by a group or individual health insurance policy, which applies to new policies delivered after that date. For more information about hearing aid coverage, read on.
In addition to federally mandated coverage, many states also consider health insurance coverage for hearing aids. Fortunately, this type of coverage is available in most insurance plans. However, insurance coverage can be complex. First, contact your insurer to determine whether your health insurance plan covers hearing aids. Then, if your plan doesn’t cover them, you can wait until the following Medicare Advantage enrollment period. Alternatively, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan covering hearing aids.
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