Audiologist charging monthly subscription for hearing aids and service

hearing-aids
#1

I have worn Widex hearing aids for around 15 years, currently Widex Beyond 440. They are pretty good, but I have had some problems with speech recognition and ambient noise. This past week I met with an audiology company that I thought offered a unique hearing device and service. As it turned out they were trying to sell me a hearing aid and service, which would also offer upgrade aids in around four years for an ongoing subscription of $175 per month, or $7,000 for some kind of Oticon aids, that I thought sounded horrible. The Oticon aids and their subscription plan was not good for me. I am also looking for a HIS or Audiologist in the Boston area that specializes in Widex aids and uses Real Ear Measurements and/or Sensograms for fitting.

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#2

No one is supposed to own anything anymore I guess. Once the software world noticed that monthly subscriptions were where it’s at (software-as-service), everything has gone down hill. If it was a money loser for companies it wouldn’t exist, so you know it’s going to cost you more than any traditional sales model. My $0.02.

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#3

Thanks for your reply, Grant.

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#4

I was just in to see my aud-guy a few days ago and he bounced a new idea off me: leased aids! The lease term would be for 3 years - no mention of cost yet tho! At the end of 3 years, I’d get the latest/greatest model out there.

There are some wrinkles to iron out, but I do agree with him that I tend to upgrade to new aids every 3 years or so - or even SOONER if the aids either don’t work out at all (e.g., Oticon OPN for 9 mos) or something significantly better comes out (e.g., Phonak Marvel with stereophonic streaming on the phone vs the B-Direct that streams to ONE ear only).

He said insurance is the major boondoggle. Will they give his patients a break? How will they treat applying the lease cost to a patient’s annual deductible? No idea yet!

Right now I’m sitting pretty with my local insurance provider as they apply the ENTIRE cost of a PAIR of aids to my annual deductible one time every three years. I think that’s incredibly generous, considering I was previously under Anthem BC and they had ZERO financial deductible or help at all for any kind of hearing aid.

Leasing and/or monthly payments sure looks like the model dispensers and audis are going to pursue going forward. It’s a smooth revenue stream for them … but it will only work if patients can work this out with their insurance co’s.

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#5

Is that a flat $0.02 or a monthly $0.02?

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#6

Cliff Olson, AuD did a video on his YouTube channel about leasing of ReSound hearing aids. It was posted a while ago. You might want to look it up

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#7

^^^ Interesting video! Several points to consider for someone like me who definitely wants the latest & greatest HA tech:

  • The monthly cost of the aids could be significant (e.g., the Resound Enzo 3D 9 at $174/mo)
  • REM is absolutely recommended to ensure the model of aids leased actually is the optimal one for my needs - something my audi simply never does as a rule
  • The finance company (in this case Allegro Credit) sets the price - NOT the audi - but what’s to guarantee THEY won’t jack up the rate like health insurance co’s do every year?
  • The “perks” of leasing are not of much value cuz I rarely use them, and they’ve always been part of my existing purchases with my current audi (e.g., warranty, service, cleaning)
  • He doesn’t really address the elephant in the room: how would one’s current health insurance handle the payments for a pair of leased aids?

Despite my being a BIG FAN of replacing my aids every 3 yrs with the latest model out there, I’d shy away from leasing. There are simply too many variables that could turn the agreement into a snafu.

Thanks for sharing that Youtube video! :slight_smile:

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#8

Allegro Credit? Ahh, I see. Well if it’s anything like leasing a vehicle you’re going to pay more in the long run.

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#9

^^^ That’s what I was thinking. The MORE gatekeepers we have between US and the AIDS, the more we can expect to pay. Right now I’ve got: manufacturer --> audi-guy --> me.

That’s about all the extra cost I’m wanting to pay. I’ll just return to my audi every 3 years. Plus … INSURANCE. For the first time in the 35 yrs I’ve worn aids I finally have some help with insurance coverage.

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#10

And just to point out, the insurance company is another “gatekeeper” that’s collecting a fee.

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