Newbie needs some help before getting first HA's


#1

Hi all, first time on here. I’ve been reading quite a bit but need some advice. It’s kind of a multi-layered question, so I hope I’m not off base.

I am a 65 year old male. Went to a Hear Again Center for my hearing test today. I had one 3 years ago. I have moderate to severe hearing loss. They showed me the test results as compared to last time and I’ve gotten much worse. I do not currently have hearing aids.

After the test the audiologist showed me the recommended hearing aids. My insurance, Anthem BC+BS covers up to 1500 per ear for a “medically necessary basic hearing aid.” She is recommending Starkey Livia that would cost an additional $5600 plus my insurance money (8600 altogether.). That includes 3 years of service, adjustments, warranty and batteries.

I have also done research online and know that the most expensive hearing aids at Costco would cost a total of $2600 (I called this afternoon just to confirm.). However, they are not “in network” and I don’t know if BC/BS would give me the same amount of money towards their hearing aids. So I guess my questions are:

  1. Why is my audiologist only pushing one type of hearing aid?
  2. Why are thy so blessed expensive?
  3. Does anyone know if BC/BS will reimburse me for HA’s bought somewhere else, like Costco?
  4. Are Costco hearing aids “as good as” the Starkey that is being recommended for me?
  5. What about buying online like from HearStore?

Ok, thanks! :grinning:

Chip


#2
  1. Multiple reasons. None likely in your best interest.
    2)Because they can be. In other words enough people buy at that price for the audiologist to make a living.
    3)No clue. Only way to find out is to ask. Even if they don’t, Costco is way cheaperl
    4)Impossible to answer. I’m convinced could fit you with hearing aids that should work fine for you.
    5 A possibility. I know they will set you up for the fitting with a local audiologist, but you’re not going to get the followup service you’d get from Costco without paying for it.

#3
  1. Because you let her. If you have a good idea which one(s) you want to try out, let her know and see what she says. If you have no idea, then of course she’s going to recommend something. Not sure why you think she’s pushing you, unless you already told her what you wanted to try and she was not receptive to your idea.

  2. Because audiologists get to charge you what they want, and they’re going to try to charge as much as they can to see how you react to it. If you don’t protest and vote with your wallet by doing thorough research on the pricing and letting her know that it should be in a certain price range, but instead just gladly hand over whatever amount they want, then they’re going to keep doing that to you. But if you shop around and do your research, maybe they’ll back off on the price. If not, you can simply walk.

Having said the above, I think the $8,600 for a pair of HA, even a premium brand/model, is pretty outrageous in my book. The more common range for premium models at an audi channel should run in the $6,000 range based on what I’ve seen so far.

  1. You’ll need to ask Anthem BC/BS if they have the option to reimburse you directly or not for Costco. Sometimes insurance companies are willing to deal with out-of-network providers but will give you a lower coverage and higher out-of-pocket option for out-of-network providers to discourage you from dealing with those providers, because there’s no pre-determined structured discount like they already have in place with in-network providers. So while Costco doesn’t want to deal with insurance companies directly, there may be other out-of-network providers that are willing to deal with insurance companies directly and are willing to charge you less to compensate for your lower coverage and higher out-of-pocket. I guess in your case the coverage is the max allowance of $1500 per ear.

  2. It’s hard to say if the Costco HAs are as good as the Starkey Livia or not, but sometimes good enough is all that you need to hear better.

  3. You should ask whether the HearStore is an in-network provider for your insurance or not. Most likely it isn’t. But as long as you still get your $1500/ear allowance from out-of-network providers and they’re willing to deal with your insurance company (unlike Costco) and your insurance company allows you to use out-of-network, then I don’t see why not as long as you get a cheaper price from them and still have a local provider affiliated with HearStore who can provide you with good service.


#4

I just today got set Evoke Fusion 2 440 for $6200.00. With those I get domes, batteries, cleaning at 6 month intervals, and adjustments as needed for 3 years. The Phonak Marvel and the Oticon OPN1 would have been about the same price. You’re getting ripped off. I’m going back in in two weeks and out of curiosity I’ll ask what the Livio would be.


#5

might wanna check out HearUSA, the one where I live takes BCBS also I live in the same state as you, but kinda close to where you live though!
IMO Oticon would still be good for moderate/severe also :wink:


#6

Volusiano, I came right out and said I could not afford that amount of money. I also said that I have been doing research and can get a good set of hearing aids at Costco for a lot less. Her reply was “Do you really want to buy hearing aids from the same place you buy toilet paper?” I made it VERY clear that I cannot afford the $5800 over the $3000 insurance payment. Didn’t phase them in the least.

I am going to contact BC/BS on Friday and try to get some kind of an answer. They can be obtuse at times. For instance, when I asked them how much they would pay towards hearing aids they wouldn’t tell me because I’m not a provider, I’m just the client! DOH!

HearStore is not BC/BS, at least that’s what I was told when I “chatted in” earlier today. However, their prices on Livia/Livio by Starkey are significantly less than I was quoted at the audiologist’s office.


#7

Hey, you live in CT near Manchester? Is there a HearUSA around us? And they take BC/BS? Thanks and HAPPY THANKSGIVING.


#8

"Her reply was “Do you really want to buy hearing aids from the same place you buy toilet paper?”

Those would have been her last words to me.


#9

Thanks for the details. Wow, I’d run from this audi if I were you. The right response from them should have been “Yeah, we know that Costco sells good value HAs and is very popular, but here’s how we’re different and better and worth the extra money: blah blah blah”.

Instead, her response is one of total ignorance about their competition for someone who calls themselves professionals. But if she actually knows that Costco is a fierce competitor and still outright dismissed them like that, then she’s not only disrespecting her competition, but she’s disrespecting you as well for dismissing you like that.


#10

I’m in the Glastonbury area and there’s one in my town if you wanna go further out! (it’s typically known as the hearing center)
also Matthew Cross (that’s my new audi in the same buliding) he’s wonderful too, got me new earmolds this year also
hopefully we’ll talk business and crap next year after my birthday!


#11

I also failed to say that Starkey is the only manufacturer they carry.


#12

Do they have good prices? Do they carry more than one brand of HA? My hearing loss is moderate to profound.


#13

HearUSA/the Hearing Center does! (they have Resound, Signia, Starkey, and Oticon too)
I think they might have the Phonak/Unitron too

yeah (my Oticon Nera was 5k)

also? my hearing loss sounds like yours alot this year as of January too

almost forgot they carry Widex too!


#14

I am in northern Michigan. I got prices from three audiologists in the same area on the newest ReSound
hearing aids, the Quattros, which I ended up purchasing as my first hearing aids, about 3 months ago. I purchased the rechargeable version, at the highest of their 3 technology levels. One audiologist charged $6150, plus $150 for the recharging unit, with a $150 restocking fee for the pair if you didn’t purchase hearing aids from her. Another audiologist charged $6K, $250 for the charging unit, an extra $400 fitting fee (which was nonrefundable) and a $300 restocking fee if you didn’t buy hearing aids from her. A third audiologist says the price for the highest technology level is $5700, $150 for the charging unit, with a $200 restocking fee for the pair (if you don’t buy hearing aids from her.)

I went with the third audiologist because she was the least expensive, the closest to me, and I thought she was very professional and explained things well when we talked over the phone. She has spent a lot of time with me (6 appts) because I’ve had a lot of difficulty with finding the right domes. Recently, I’ve moved to silicon custom molds (which she didn’t charge me for).

I got general pricing info from several audiologists in the same area–beyond these three. Two audiologists charge a $500 restocking fee! (If you don’t buy a pair of something from them.)

All the audiologists would have provided “free” servicing of my hearing needs and the aids, along with batteries, for the 3-yr warranty period.

So, in my case it really paid to shop around, once I decided I wanted to give the Quattros a serous look. Before that, I found an audiologist who would let you demo up to 3 brands she carried, for one week each, by paying $50 a trial. I tried the Oticon OPN.

I NEVER heard a price anywhere near what you’re being told.


#15

I went to 2 audis- 1st one was $7800 for OPN1/ 30 day trial $400 restock fee/ no other brands besides Oticon. Very slim hours of office availability. High pressure sales
2nd audi- Starting @$3500 for lowest level of tech to $5800 for any brand at their highest technology level, / 45 day trial $100 restock fee, office hours anytime they can fit me in within reason. Think about it and call us and we will order your choice of HAs, No pressure sales.


#16

I have had some brief interactions with Dr. Cross. He has always come across as intelligent and ethical.


#17

that’s why I’m choosing that dude as we talk business hopefully NEXT YEAR! (unless he can give my hearing aid a very good checking up too LOL)


#18

She tried to sell you the Rolls Royce of hearing aids. Apparently, they will do language translation in real time.


#19

Even the “lowest pair we have” were $5800. That would be $2800 plus my insurance


#20

Seems to me you are personally paying for the aids, insurance is the audi’s bonus money.