UnitedHealthcare Adds Hearing Aid Discount Program to Its Vision Care Benefit Plans

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MINNETONKA, Minn.— UnitedHealthcare has added a hearing aid discount program to its managed vision care benefit plans for both employer-sponsored and individual policies. UnitedHealthcare’s new discount program enables its vision plan participants to save on hearing aids by purchasing them for as low as $649 each. The discount program has already been available to people enrolled in many UnitedHealthcare medical plans, including employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans, as well as Medicare Part D plans. Some UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan customers pay no out-of-pocket costs for hearing aids. The hearing aids are being provided through a collaboration with hi HealthInnovations,  an Optum business and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company.

“There’s a growing trend for optometrists to offer hearing care in their eyecare centers,” Lisa Tseng, MD, CEO of hi HealthInnovations, told VMail. “As we age, one in three Americans 65 or older have hearing loss, so a lot of the population that optometrists are seeing have not only vision problems but also hearing problems.

“UnitedHealthcare and hi HealthInnovations are responding to a significant market need,” Linda Chous, OD, chief eyecare officer, UnitedHealthcare Vision, told VMail. “Hearing loss affects one in five Americans aged 12 and older, according to a 2011 study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In addition to UnitedHealthcare, some other vision plans now offer discount programs for hearing aids, driven by the goal of improving the health of the whole person. People with both impaired vision and hearing loss are at an even greater risk of falls, as compared to people without these conditions. By extending this discount program to UnitedHealthcare’s vision plan participants, many more Americans now have access to affordable hearing aids.”

In addition, Dr. Tseng of hi HealthInnovations told VMail, “If there’s an eyecare center that would like us to present a free hearing seminar for their staff or their patient group, we’d be happy to do that. We can also provide free hearing testing for their patients.” Eyecare professionals interested in connecting with a hearing specialist should email Jennifer Stalpes, vice president, business strategy and development, at jstalpes@uhc.com.