Costco or Hearing Care Solutions (HCS)

Both of my parents need hearing aids and luckily their insurance (Aetna) will cover a portion of the cost.

If we purchase hearing aids this year, they will be reimbursed $1500 per person no matter where they go. We were looking at Costco’s Kirkland brand that is $1500 for a pair.

If we wait a couple of months, next year the benefit changes to $2000 per ear, but hearing aids have to be purchased through Hearing Care Solutions. It looks like they offer several brands, but when I contacted them they did not have any pricing information they could send me for next year’s aids.

Since the hearing aid benefit is yearly, we could actually get the Kirkland hearing aids now, and then get something different from HCS next year if we wanted.

Does anyone here have an opinion about HCS and what the cost of their hearing aids would be? Should we stick with the plan of getting the Kirkland models this year?

Thanks!

Seems like you have nothing to loose by going with the Costco ones this year. It won’t cost you anything after insurance.

One thing you could do is ask Hearing Care Solutions what their price is on a pair of Phonak Audéo Marvel M90 M-312 hearing aids is now. That is a receiver in ear, 312 battery, with no tinnitus masking, no telcoil, and not rechargeable. It is essentially the same as the Kirkland Signature KS9 model that sells for $1500 a pair. The KS9 is made for Costco by Phonak. That will give you an apples to apples price comparison between Costco and Hearing Care Solutions. Costco does not give free batteries, but they are very cheap at Costco. Fittings unless they are custom molds are free, as are unlimited follow up visits for fitting and testing.

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I’d go with Costco. I don’t know anything about Hearing Aid Solutions, but issues with that type of arrangement are common place. I don’t think you’ll have any regrets about going to Costco.

Sierra (and MDB) offer the best advice. Getting the KS9s is the best deal, right now, in the hearing aid world, in my opinion. My guess is that a commensurate pair of aids thru HCS (Phonak Marvels) will be at least $5500. Even if they are reimbursed $1500, it’s still $4000 out of pocket. In my state, it’d be reimbursement of $2000 under Aetna (which was $500 for me, this year) STILL making it more cost effective to go to Costco. I’d say get them aids this year, and I highly recommend the KS9s. As I said in the opener - best deal going.

Actually, Phonak M90-312 does have tinnitus masking. It is the Costco KS-9 that doesn’t. Not a big deal either way.

Oh yeah, go to CostCo. The one near me has a 4 week wait for an appt. year end is coming quickly, call and get the 2 appointments made. You can always cancel if you investigate further and decide not to go. But really, CostCo is THE place for hearing aids just now.

Also, make the phone call as Sierra suggested and get the price from HCS for the Phonak Audeo Marvel . . . . you will be surprised at the difference vs. the CostCo KS9. Come back and tell us what you learned in that phone call!

We have dual appointments at Costco at the end of this month. I have been e-mailing a contact with HCS. This is what she told me:

“The Aetna pricing for the M90R is $1800. The Aetna pricing for the M90 is $1,750. All prices are per instrument.”

With these prices, the hearing aids would be covered fully by the Aetna plan next year also but we’ll still try out the Costco option.

My mother currently has one hearing aid which we purchased from Costco around 3 years ago. I believe it is a ReSound. She’s unfortunately been having issues with it, but it could be somewhat user error.

Buy the right ear in December and the left ear in January.

So a pair of hearing aids comparable to the Kirkland S9 will be covered 100%, per pair, per person, if you wait until January. Those KS9’s pair will be covered THIS YEAR under the current coverage. To me this says go in for the appts you have at CostCo, gather as much info as possible, and see what they offer. It is possible that based on the person’s individual hearing issues, the KS9 won’t be recommended . . . get specifics as to what IS offered and why. If the KS9 IS offered, I say get it, get started with hearing now, and getting the acclimatizing in process. Why not? Hearing now vs. hearing later, no change in cost, seems the best idea, with my very limited knowledge.

In regards to HCS, I guess the next step is to learn what is ‘included.’ Unlimited follow up visits for fitting and testing are items @Sierra mentioned are included at CostCo. I think other people will chime in with which things to put on this list. @MDB may have more specifics on his comment “issues with that type of arrangement are common place” which may also lead to specific questions for you to ask as follow up.

From what I’ve seen, insurance plans that are tied into having to buy from certain places end up not being that good. Pricing often ends up being less than transparent, and once they have your money, there seems little incentive for good service. I’m sure there are exceptions. I hope this is one of them.

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Consumer Reports rated hearing aid retail outfits based on a survey of about 16,000 subscribers. Costco rated #1 of the 8 retailers rated. Hearing Aid Solutions did not make the list.

You need to double that for a pair

I used my insurance company provider which was True Hearing and was given substandard service by an under qualified vendor. I think you will be better off with Costco. Now I have to pay an office visit charge for any adjustments, and since they were never properly programmed with Real Hear Measurements in the first place , I am having to keep going back for tweaks. And had to switch providers altogether.