Hearing loss is a common problem affecting millions worldwide. Unfortunately, many don’t seek treatment because their insurance doesn’t cover hearing care and they can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs. While most basic insurance plans include urgent care and preventative measures like regular hearing tests, they seldom cover hearing aids.
If you have hearing loss and are looking for providers that include hearing health, you might have stumbled across UnitedHealthcare. This guide will look at UnitedHealthcare’s hearing health benefits, including hearing exams and hearing aid coverage.
Does UnitedHealthcare Cover Hearing Aids?
UnitedHealthcare covers hearing aids for Medicare users, but only for those with a Medicare Advantage plan.
The coverage options depend on the plan and location of the buyer.
UnitedHealthcare caters to older adults, offering affordable and convenient options for purchasing hearing aids. The company partners with EPIC Hearing Healthcare and a home delivery system called hi HealthInnovations to provide hearing aids up to 80 percent less than the industry average.
What is Medicare Advantage (Part C)?
Medicare Advantage—also known as Medicare Part C—is an alternative model for delivering Medicare benefits to adults over 65.
A private provider offers Part A and Part B’s medical and hospital insurance functions plus some additional coverage options not included in the original Medicare, like routine vision care and hearing health care.
UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plans
UnitedHealthcare offers four types of Medicare Advantage plans in most areas throughout the United States.
|Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)||HMO is a type of health care insurance that aims to control costs by restricting coverage to health care providers within a network. Members are assigned a primary care physician (PCP) to coordinate care and refer them to in-network specialists.|
|Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)||PPO covers in-network and out-of-network providers. However, you will likely pay more to see providers outside your network. A PPO might not require you to get a referral to see a specialist. However, this may vary between networks.|
|Point of Service (POS)||POS is a combination of HMO and PPO. POS members may need a referral to consult a specialist and will have some coverage for out-of-network care.|
|Special Needs Plans (SNP)||SNP provides tailor-made benefits, such as prescription drugs for individuals with chronic health conditions eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare. SNP availability is more limited than other Medicare Advantage plans.|
Enrolling in a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage Plan
You can enroll in the following ways:
- Online: Enter your zip code and proceed with the enrollment
- Phone: Call UnitedHealthcare toll-free at 888-638-6613 (TTY 711) to enroll in the desired plan.
What is UnitedHealthcare Hearing?
UnitedHealthcare Hearing is the hearing division of UnitedHealthcare that provides hearing health benefits, such as hearing tests and hearing aids. The benefits of UnitedHealth Hearing include:
- A wide selection of hearing aids at affordable prices
- Access to more than 5,500 hearing health professionals nationwide
- End-to-end member experience
- Hearing exams
What Types of Hearing Aids Does UnitedHealthcare Hearing Offer?
UnitedHealthcare members can pick from a wide range of custom-programmed hearing aids made available through the company’s partner hi HealthInnovations. There’s a full spectrum of styles and technologies to choose from.
The selection from HealthInnovations includes major manufacturers like:
The availability of different models depends on the mode of care you choose: virtual or in-person care.
The models available through virtual care include Relate rechargeable BTE and RIC hearing aids and Phonak rechargeable RIC models.
Features of UnitedHealthcare Hearing virtual care are:
- 70-day trial
- Three-year extended warranty covering repair and one-time loss or damage replacement
- Three free follow-up virtual visits
- Hearing aids come with a charging case, wax pick, brush and cleaning pin.
If you come into one of UnitedHealthcare’s brick-and-mortar hearing centers, you can get your hearing aids fitted in person and select from more than 2,000 hearing aid models, including 11 Relate models.
Features of UnitedHealthcare Hearing in-person care are:
- 45-day trial
- Three-year extended warranty
- Three free follow-up visits
- Hearing aids come with extra batteries or a charging case, wax pick, brush, and cleaning pin.
How to Order Hearing Aids From Unitedhealthcare
To order hearing aids from UnitedHealthcare,
- Go to the UnitedHealthcare website and take an online hearing test.
- If the results indicate that you have hearing loss, schedule an appointment with a hearing health provider for a checkup. If you have tested your hearing within the past year, submit your test results on the UHC website.
- Enter your zip code and fill out the form to request an appointment to find a provider. You can also call 1-855-523-9355, TTY 711 to find an audiologist nearby.
- Contact the provider to place your hearing aid order. You can choose virtual care or in-person care for hearing aid delivery and follow-up.
Did you know you could also get hearing aid help from a non-profit managed care group? Read more in our Does Kaiser Permanente cover hearing aids article.
How to Validate a Member’s Benefit Eligibility
To validate a member’s benefits eligibility, go to the UnitedHealthcare provider website and follow these steps:
- Click on “Check Member Eligibility.”
- Go to the “Eligibility and Benefits” tool.
- Enter your healthcare ID or email address and password
The site will give you the following information:
- UnitedHealthcare member eligibility and policy dates
- Benefits details, including copay, coinsurance, and deductible
- Availability of additional coverage
- Patient information and digital ID cards
While some people think hearing problems are little more than an annoyance, untreated hearing loss can have serious consequences.
Hearing loss can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life. Hearing issues have been tied to depression, anxiety and dementia in seniors.
The good news is that treatment for hearing loss is within reach. Retirees can access hearing health care through UnitedHealthcare’s Medicare Advantage plans. UnitedHealthcare provides its members access to high-quality, custom-programmed hearing aids below industry prices through its partnership with EPIC Hearing Healthcare and hi HealthInnovations.