Can audiologists in the states bill a patient just for sending hearing aids under warranty to a factory as a medical fee?

Hi everyone :wave:

I wear Starkey Livio AI and visited the new in-network audiologist to exchange the battery under warranty. She just sent them to the factory, and I picked up my hearing aids the other day.
Then, I received the vague invoice from the audiologist, and she submitted $450 as a service plan to my insurer. According to the EOB, that cost was for hearing aid service, CPT code V5299, hearing aid maintenance: ear hook, receiver, tube changes, etc.
I’ve never received those services from that audiologist.
This audiologist didn’t accept my request to send me the itemized bill.
I am stuck on this issue, and if you have any information about similar situations, I would appreciate it.

Yep it’s outrageous, it’s these types of clinics that gives the industry a bad name, you didn’t ask for anything but to have the battery exchanged under warranty, so no charge for that, anything else they did (or as you say “they didn’t do”) was without your consent, it’s on them (the clinic) to sort it out, just remember in most cases the manufacturer is the one that does the"service" not the clinic, don’t waste anytime in contacting the clinic manager to voice your concerns, I’d also mention this to your insurance company. That code (V5299) just comes up with “Hearing service, miscellaneous” for whatever that’s worth.

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OMG. Thank you for your comments, and I was almost crying and smiling and could release my stress. You are an excellent and knowledgeable person!

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@tenkan Can @kurokuromaki contact the insurer to tell them not to pay the $450, or how does this works?
Thx

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That’s a good question! Thank you :pray: I forgot to ask that question. I really wanted to know about whether she is a scammer or not first.
She put a buddha statue in her desk, and I believed she should be a good person….🥹

Always a good sign!

The million dollar question! Really depends on who the insurer is, and what the terms and conditions are at the time of signing, the OP is going to have to reach out to them and ask the hard questions.

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Practices might vary by country, too. But in the U.S. I had a Quattro or two (…or three) that needed service under warranty. I asked my audi a couple of times whether I didn’t owe her anything. I thought at least she might be picking up a bill for the expense of sending the HA into ReSound. She said not to worry that ReSound was picking up the tab for everything under warranty including any fitting that she did with the new replacement HA. And in every case, although the problem was just in an external mic and the device worked fine in streaming, smartphone control, great battery life, etc., she said ReSound replaced everything: HA body and the receiver with wire. You might want to check with Starkey as to what their policy is and whether your audi should be billing you or your insurance. Starkey might deal with such stuff a bit more heavily and directly with the audi than the insurer because their customer satisfaction over the long haul is at stake.

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You didn’t authorize all that extra stuff. In most states if you didn’t sign for all that stuff in advance your not required to pay… Tell them you sent them in for warranty work and that’s it. It’s been a long time since I sent aids for warranty work but I never paid the audiologist anything

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How old are those hearing aids?

I know I had an issue with one of mine one time (a Starkey CIC) that was out of warranty, and for $450 I was allowed to send it back to the manufacturer to be refurbished, when it came back good as new I was given 2 years of added warranty as part of the refurbishment, a warranty card came with it stating the added warranty period. To me, that $450 was money well spent since I wasn’t in a position to buy a new hearing aid at the time and it gave me two more years of use backed by the new extended warranty.
Maybe that’s what you’ve got going on and it wasn’t explained to you? Just throwing that out there for consideration.

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Believe it’s under warranty?

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The warranty on my hearing aids will be expired by 08/11/2023. I think I still can reserve other services which is repair / loss + damage 1 time lea #300 copay.

Thank you for your advice! I will reach out to Starkey as soon as possible.

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I switched away from Starkey to phonak because my Starkeys constantly needed repair.

Tell your audiologist they have to split that $450 with you from the insurance company or you will report them. :rofl: :rofl:

For that amount you should at least be getting new receivers. If you did not, perhaps you could request that the audiologist provide value for money.

You meant Phonak? :thinking:

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When we send an out of clinic hearing aid for repair, we back-up the programming, complete the administrative work to send it in and then receive it, run ANSI tests to ensure that it is functioning to spec when it returns from repair, and then confirm the settings have been appropriately restored. We send a handful of hearing aids for re-repair a year for coming in faulty, and many more come in un-restored.

Maybe not $450, but certainly not nothing.

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I think your new audiologist thought you were wanting to be established as a patient, with the usual follow up services that come with purchase of hearing aids. Hearing aids are most typically sold as “bundled”, meaning both the actual device purchase and the professional services needed to program, update, and service the devices. I once asked my ENT’s office about moving to using their audi services on my already purchased (elsewhere) hearing aids, and this is similar to what they quoted.

The aids went in under warranty. Any additional fees should have been discussed and agreed to prior to them being sent in. Not when they come back. Changing tubes and hooks is pennies, not hundreds of dollars

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