Questions from a Complete Newbie

I was diagnosed with hearing loss several years ago and have finally decided to do something about it since it’s been starting to impact me in the workplace.

Anyways I have no clue how the whole hearing aid/insurance process works. I have GEHA standard option insurance and they offer HearPO as well. For the insurance plan, I would pay 15% of the plan allowance for PPO and 35% for a non-PPO provider for hearing tests performed. The plan covers $250 for each ear (no deductible) towards hearing aids every five years. As far as I can tell, if I go to a HearPO provider, I would have to submit a claim later for reimbursement of costs but those providers don’t take my insurance directly. Anyways, financially would I be better off just going to a Geha provider or would HearPO provide a bigger savings? I am relatively knew to the workforce and dealing with insurance pretty much for the first time (and since this is my first real job I don’t have a whole lot of money to spend on hearing aids either). :confused:

It’s a little hard to tell what they would pay. Are you saying that with one of them you pay 15% and they pay the rest? Then where does the $250 limit come in?

Most people don’t have any insurance coverage at all for hearing aids. My plan specifically excludes hearing aids. That’s why I went to Costco.

The 15% is for the exams and not the hearing aids. Only $250 is covered towards a hearing aid for each ear (once every five years.

OK, gotcha.

I would very much encourage you to go forward and actually get the hearing aids. It really is life-changing when you can hear most of the things going on around you instead of missing most of it. If it is impacting your work it is undoubtedly impacting your social/family life as well. Hearing aids are not miracle cures for hearing loss, and with hearing aids you will not be at 100%, but they are a BIG benefit.

Hearing aids are not a commodity that you buy and start using, like eyeglasses, or a washer and dryer. It takes several adjustment sessions to get everything just right so my opinion is, the relationship you have with your hearing professional is more important than the actual brand and model of hearing aid. If your professional is an expert in the brands they recommend, and you can communicate with the person, and he/she is willing to take enough time and is not just trying to make a sale and move on, then you should do well. Likewise, if you don’t like, have confidence in, and trust the person then you will know it’s time to find another.

OK, I didn’t really answer your question, just rambled around there for a while, but you might have to get all the recommendations and prices from all your options before you will know what to do. Hearing aids can run from $2,000 a pair to $6,000 so $500 is not especially helpful, but every bit helps.

Again though, I wouldn’t go in a particular direction solely because of a couple of hundred dollars.

When you get some specific models and prices people here can weigh in with information about which is a better hearing aid, features, etc.

Also, post your hearing aid test results like you see people here do, like my signature area.

Unfortunately when all is done and said the $250 limit per ear will end up being a drop in the bucket. I would not toil on how you get reimbursed, the bottom line is that you will be footing most of the bill and will probably eventually finish the maze your insurance company will put up before they pay up.

Don and Zafdor,

Thank you for the very helpful responses. Unfortunately last time I took a hearing test was in 2004 or 2005 and I couldn’t find those results. The reason I was asking these questions was in order to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. Anyways I decided to try out both the HearPO audiologist and the PPO provider audiologist since it wouldn’t really be too much additional cost besides time and see what both audiologists say. I agree if the difference is only a few hundred dollars then I’ll go with whomever I am most comfortable with and can provide something that best fits my needs I’ll post the results of my hearing test once I complete them.

When I was initially diagnosed with hearing loss, I saw several different audiologists and received conflicting information on whether I should get hearing aids. My upper and lower ranges were generally fine, however I had medium to severe (borderline profound) hearing loss in the mid ranges. Some of the audiologists said that since I could compensate and since the loss was so gradual I subconciously lip read it probably wasn’t worth the cost of getting the hearing aids (I have no problems with normal face-to-face conversations) while others insisted that I needed them to keep my brain trained to hearing those sounds otherwise those parts would weaken. Anyways at the time I was also under my parents insurance and they couldn’t afford them (it also turns out hearing loss runs in my family). I recall at the time one of the audiologists was trying to sell my parents on a set of hearing aids that cost $5000, were completely in the ear and inconspicious and supposedly the most advanced hearing aids at the time. Although the insurance didn’t cover them, they offered a benefit of a 100$ a month payment interest fee including insurance on the aids.

If I do end up getting hearing aids they absolutely must be discrete/inconspicuous and relatively low maintenance (I guess this is a factor of my relative youth as I am in my mid-20s). They also must be under a payment plan I can afford since I have a ton of college/graduate school debt I have to repay and I am working an entry level position in government.

Thank you both for the feedback. I guess the next step is to actually go meet with the audiologists and see what their recommendations are.