AccuQuest Hearing Aids

Had an appointment at an AccuQuest hearing center this morning. I was all set to go with Costco again (currently wearing Kirkland Signature 4.0 HAs since 2012). Although the old HAs have done a pretty good job, dealing with Costco has been another matter. For one thing, visiting them is a 3 hour round trip for me. If not for the HAs I would not get to Costco at all, too far away. Other problems as well.

I found out that my health insurance through work pays for 80% of the cost of HAs and fitting, so decided to investigate alternatives. Checked into AccuQuest and was surprised to hear they are quite a large organization with over 450 stores around the USA. They are owned by the Danish William Demant Company, who is also the owner of Oticon, Bernafon, and Sonic Innovations brands. They sell their own AccuQuest brand that is made by Oticon. They are iPhone / Apple Watch (MFi) compatible without a separate streamer.

They have an office that is only about 15 miles away so it is very convenient compared to Costco for me.

Vince the HAD checked my ears with an otoscope and took pics to show me. Clean as a whistle after my cleaning them with the EarRX cleaning stuff I have. All pink, almost zero wax and no evidence of irritation or disease. Costco refused to even test me last week because too much wax in my ears (another wasted 3 hour round trip).

Tests were pretty much as I expected, very similar to my audiogram posted here, maybe down 5 db from there. Word recognition was 70-80%. We talked a lot and decided on their RIC model c05 which is equivalent to Oticon OPN MiniRite I believe. I can upgrade to the c07 or c09 during the 45 day trail period if the c05 isn’t up to the job.

He took impressions for ear molds and I go back in a couple weeks for them. Cancelled my upcoming appointment with Costo.

Well, I have my own thread here, yippee!

Looking at the Bernafon Zerena, I believe that is the one I saw today, not the Oticon. No matter, the Zerena looks like it is a nice HA.

Ask AccuQuest what manufacturer and what hearing aid model they are selling to you? Also ask them if it is possible to get them programmed at another non-AccuQuest location?

After doing lots of research on AccuQuest and finding pretty much zero information on their HAs, I believe I am going to call and cancel the order I placed yesterday. I don’t like the idea that the internet seems to know nothing about their products, and the company itself does not give me warm fuzzies either.

Lower right on this chart. Click the chart a couple of times to expand.

You should go and see my friend Dr Lee Weissman in San Rafael. Apparently a 45m drive from Angels Camp. He works with all the major brands, and does not have financial ties to any of them. We went to Vanderbilt together, and he’s one of the few people I know with integrity in his profession.

Oh nevermind, I had Google maps on walking directions, and it was saying a 45 hour WALK! Nevermind, he’s over 2.5h from you.

I don’t know much about AccuQuest. You might see AGX on that chart under several different manufacturers. I know that AGX uses techniques to insure that their re-branded HAs can only be programmed at AGX franchises. And sometimes a franchise location may close. Do a search for AGX.

Audigy clinics sell AGX. I believe AccuQuest primarily sells Oticon aids. I think they’re owned by William Demant, Oticon’s parent company.

Lovely place. I only had 1 day there while on a road trip. I hope to get back.

Funny, when I went in there I was looking for Oticon, but was immediately steered to their own AccuQuest brand, who he said is made by the same people who make Oticon, Bernafon and Sonic Innovations. They do sell Oticon and several other brands including Starkey, but I think he was pushing the AQ brand because AQ corporate’s cost is lower on those than the Oticons (although they sell for the same price as the Oticons), therefore higher profit margin (and likely commission) on the AQs.

Just found this link What hearing aid brands does AccuQuest sell?

I didn’t know they had their own “AQ” brand, and not sure anyone stated that in the link above.

Yep, the model I bought is an AQ-C05 (MSRP around $11,500 per pair), (there is also a C07 and C09) that I think roughly corresponds to an Oticon OPN-1. Not certain of that though.

The whole pricing & out of pocket cost for me is something else I am not comfortable with.

He said they have to bill the insurance the full MSRP. The insurance coverage is for 80% of “reasonable and customary” charges. So they bill the insurance full MSRP, but he said the insurance often comes back with a check that is approx 50% of MSRP rather than 80% because the insurance does not consider the inflated MSRP to be reasonable (I don’t either).

So if they did that, they would be paying for 50% of $11,500, or $5750. Normal price (whatever that means) is $7,000 for the pair of C05s. He said they discount them 20%, down to $5600 (plus earmolds, no sales tax). So what is confusing is that it sounds like the insurance company would pay $5750 on a pair I could buy for $5600. That doesn’t make sense.

Further, he said they will not know how much my out of pocket is until:

  1. they fit me and the 45 day trial starts
  2. the check arrives (what amount is not clear) from the insurance, and I would be on the hook for the balance

My mama din raise no dummy. I don’t want to get into this open-ended pricing thing when the dollar amounts are so high. If the HAs were $25 I would still want to know my OOP cost before committing.

Overall, I am just too uncomfortable with the unknowns here to proceed. At least with Costco you know what you are getting and it is a firm price.

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The brand is AccuQuest, same as the company name. The model is AQ-C05.

Wow! that sounds like the entry level aid. Many clinics sell that model for about $3200/pair. Many clinics will throw in batteries, adjustments, supplies for 3 years.

People must not do any price shopping if they purchase those.

That sounds extremely convoluted. Insurance is a nightmare in this country.

OK I told the AccuQuest guy I wanted to cancel. He was gracious and tried to offer Oticon instead at the same price, but is unable to offer any certainty about how much of it the insurance picks up. Never encountered such a CF in any transaction, and I have been through a bunch.

So rescheduled a new appt at Costco. I will sure be glad when this is over.