Good news for those with a health policy through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). The insurer has launched a hearing healthcare program to combat hearing loss and make hearing aids more accessible to those who need them.
The program is called UnitedHealthcare Hearing and provides benefits for anyone with coverage through UnitedHealthcare. This includes those in private, employer-sponsored, or Medicare Advantage plans.
UHC is partnering with Ear Professionals International Corporation (EPIC) to give beneficiaries access to 5,000 audiologists and hearing specialists across the country, as well as hearing aids discounted up to 80 percent.
Tom Wiffler, UHC Specialty Benefits CEO said in an announcement, “UnitedHealthcare Hearing expands our whole-person benefit plans that offer greater access to quality, cost-effective care for the millions of Americans we serve. Helping people maintain or improve their hearing health can enhance their overall well-being, such as depression and dementia.”
Why the program is necessary
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, about 48 million Americans live with some degree of hearing loss. However, a 2015 study concluded that only 20 percent of those who need hearing aids have access to them.
Most people who need but don’t have hearing aids say the main deterrent is the high price. Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, so seniors are left paying upwards of $4,700 for two hearing aids, according to the study.
Firefighters and hearing loss
Firefighters with hearing loss are one specific demographic UHC is aiming to help. Due to frequent high-stress, high-volume working conditions, firefighters are disproportionately affected by hearing loss, according to a 2015 study. This hearing loss can create an even more dangerous work environment as well as other health conditions like cardiovascular disease.
UHC is taking this hearing protection initiative one step further. They’re also distributing more than 20,000 silicone-based earplugs to firefighters and police officers in major cities across the United States, including Minneapolis, Dallas, and Seattle.
For more information on the UHC hearing benefit, call 866-926-6632 for more information.