Help Me Figure Out How Much to Pay for Phonak P-90s and Negotiate with my Provider

I am in the US, in Florida. I have an excellent relationship with a local audiologist and am currently trialing Phonak P-90 HAs. I have purchased accessories before from her, and she handled a warranty issue with my Oticon OPN devices (that were technically out of warranty), but I moved here from out of state and never purchased HAs from her before. She did me several solids without having a sale associated with it, so I want to give her my business. I am an experienced HA wearer and won’t require a lot of care/feeding, but I recognize the value of having a local resource and an advocate. Price has NOT been discussed. She gave me a complete exam and just up the P-90s for me and away I went, no paperwork, nothing. She suggested I come back in a week or so (tomorrow will be a week). According to the HearingTrack discount page, one can expect to buy with discount these devices for $4,450. I suspect there would sales tax on top of that here.

How would you handle it? any feedback is appreciated.

Why don’t you just buy them from Costco for $1400, no need to pay inflated prices… unless your happy to do so.

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Obviously an option, but that’s no the question I asked.

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This is how I would handle it

Why don’t you just buy them from Costco for $1400, no need to pay inflated prices… unless your happy to do so.

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If the provider is not in the Tru Hearing net work they won’t match that price. If they are in the network, the services you get with the hearing aids will be less (Tru Hearing barely pays the provider enough to cover costs and does not really add to the practices bottom line). If you want the “full service” option, there are a few ways to get the price discounted. If the audiologist you are working with is just an employee, negotiations on price will be more difficult. You may request a talk with the owner regarding price. If you pay by check instead of credit card you should be able to get a 2-3% discount since the practice will not have to pay the credit card fee. If they offer 12 months interest free financing, you should be able to to get between 5-10% off a cash sale since that is what they would have to pay the finance company to handle the paper. Just being honest and telling them you would really like to give them the business but the price is just too high and asking for a discount often works. A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush, and you are sitting right there and interested in buying. If they want your business they should be willing to work with you. Be nice, be courteous but be firm. If you go in the the attitude that some of the members of the forum have, you will get no discount and may be asked to leave. There is not law that says you have to take them on as a patient.

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Why don’t you answer tenkans question ?

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The relationship you have described/expect and what the AuD has done for you demand a higher price than the no actual services provided by TruHeating. We just purchased new Starkey Evolv 2400 RIC R HAs. We negotiated $500 off sticker per pair plus a 3% discount for paying with a check. But, we get unlimited support with new Audiogram/tune up every 6 months for 3 years. All repairs etc are covered. He also sells accessories at cost and replaced a broken RIC on my older Halo at no cost.

Could I have gotten similar HAs for less, yes, but the overall value would not be as good. The new HAs are set up better than either set I got from TruHeating ever were - I can actually hear sound coming out of the new HAs at the stock setting. On my old set, I had to move from the stock setting to 80-100% to hear anything out of the aid.

The Tru Hearing aid had a 50 gain RIC and the new one in that ear has a 60 gain. The AuD stated the 50 gain could not do what I need, so I was sold the wrong thing to begin with (my audio gram is basically the same in that ear as it was when I got the last 2 HAs from TH and both have a 50 gain RIC).

Overall, I am happy to pay for competence and service. Also, the new HAs don’t squeal when I hear loud noises. This had long been a problem when parking my truck in the garage and the proximity sensors went off. I’m glad that’s over.

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Thanks for that. I only used the “offer” as an example of pricing that was publicly available to me (it’s been hard to actually get more pricepoint information). I am a business owner and have resold various technology and services over the years, so I think about costs (including service costs) and profit. I also am willing to pay for value. I just don’t want to overpay (for Phonak branded devices, not the Costco versions).

I feel that the AuD services and trust are worth a lot, and frankly, as much as folks talk up Costco (and I am a member), I am not sure I want to buy hearing aids from them. I did buy eyeglasses and tires from them, but those feel different to me.

Good points all. As a buyer, I wish I knew what the costs were of the devices as it would help me figure out what a fair price is. One of the providers in the Phonak FB group said this: “Myself I sell 90’s with $4700, warranty 3 year, all visits included.” Since you are a provider, does that seem like what I should expect for a negotiated price?

This site (hearingtracker.com) lists local prices under Products-> Brands. Select the brand, then select the device and there’ll be a local prices link on the device page.

That’s where I pulled the screenshot from.

Any time I see prices in the 4-5k range, I assume it’s through a middleman company like TruHearing or ZipHearing. I won’t pretend to exactly understand how each work, but there are a lot of complaints about the service through audiologists who are part of their networks; there are a few threads dedicated to them. That isn’t to say there aren’t people who go through these companies and come out more than satisfied!

But I think you might find the more “standard” pricing through private audiologists is much higher, in the 6-7k range. It varies geographically as well. For the Paradise in particular, that’s why I believe you’ll see so many advocates for the KS10s, since they really use the same software and processing chips for a quarter of the price, unlike some of the brands carried by Costco, some of which have lesser processing tech/software than their major HA brand equivalent. The value can be hard to overlook.

When I look up the P90 in my area I see local prices like $5000 and $5600. Some $4500 too.

It really depends on where you are. When I was consulting, after selling my practice, I saw practices with probably $10-20K+/month overhead, not counting salaries and business admin expenses, I also saw practices with $1K overhead. Depending on the number of support staff, it just costs more to do business in some areas. The $4700 does seem low for a technologically up to date practice with a very competent provider, it all depends on their cost of doing business. When I was consulting I saw practices pricing their premium products around $4500 but unfortunately, the customers got exactly what they paid for. I also saw practices pricing their premium products at over $10K, which for what they were offering I thought was excessive. Costco can be a bargain but only if you get a competent provider. They don’t pay very good so they really don’t many of the very competent people to work for them. There are exceptions since I know some very good professionals who do work for Costco, I have also seen and heard of some real jokes.

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As a fellow business owner and CPA, I hear you. The problem in the HA industry is bundled pricing. As a consumer, you have to break out the spreadsheet and phone to figure out what you are getting for your money. There are 4 things I considered in our latest purchase:

  • bundled price,
  • services bundled,
  • the reputation of the clinic/audiologist,
  • the likelihood the clinic will be around to fulfill its obligations for which I prepaid.

This entailed spending hours learning what are the current HAs I would be interested in, then getting on the phone and asking folks what they sold and their best and final price. Further, it involved evaluating the clinic and the AuD. Finally, it meant knowing which HAs I wanted to try and knowing who sold them. An analysis like this allows you to determine the best value package. It also requires you to make certain assumptions as to the likelihood of needing certain services, i.e., repairs. This analysis took about a month to complete.

In the end, and as you know, there is far more to product pricing than inventory cost. The trick as the consumer is figuring out what services you want/don’t want and determine who offers that bundle at the best value. It’s a bit like buying a new pickup truck, but with an additional layer. With the truck, you have to figure out the brand and option package you want, the winning dealer generally is the one that offers lowest price. In that model, assuming we are talking about a new truck and a main brand dealer, the competence of the dealer to deliver the truck is not really a factor. With the HA, dealer competence is a big deal and a significant part of determining the value received.

Or find a place that unbundles. I just mentioned this in a different thread. Mass Eye and Ear went unbundled in 2020, and didn’t communicate the change well at the time (to me, anyway.)

Mass Eye and Ear Hearing Aids

Clinically, I thought the care I got there was excellent. They scared the hell out of me trying to prepare me for what I’d have to pay. So I went another route.

WH

I’m dealing with a small clinic that has a handful of employees, but mostly just the AuD. I suspect that this will be friendly, just trying to prepare my bargaining position.

Thanks for the super thoughtful reply. I firmly believe as a consumer price is NOT everything. Value is more important to me, as are relationships.

The discount program here shows a “potential” discount of 33%. Should I assume that the discount is off of MSRP? Bundling aside, is there a way to find out MSRP for US Phonak devices? also what would a typical dealer pay as a percentage of MSRP (or what kind of discount do they get).

I’m not sure if there is an MSRP in the hearing aid world. You could always call one of the manufacturers and ask what the MSRP is for a certain unit. My guess is they’re going to tell you that depends on who’s selling it to you.

The bundling is really the issue in the hearing aid market. I haven’t found a good way to determine the cost of each of the components in the bundle. Further I could not get my current AuD to unbundle the pricing, he said he had looked at that and didn’t really know how to make that work. I read that as he’s comfortable doing business the way he’s doing business, end of story.

Sorry I can’t be of any more help in determining pricing. My guess is that 33% off number that you’re looking at has limited follow up services and a full-service audiologist may well have more services included to provide you with the best hearing care. In the end, you really are shopping a business model. Different business models will have different values to different people.

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It has been pretty well documented that the KS10s are identical electronically to the P90s as they have the same FCC certification numbers. Others have pointed out a small difference in microphone openings.

Costco and Phonak are making a profit at $1400/pair, so manufacturing cost is less than that - if that’s what you mean by wanting to know costs.

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