United Health Care Levels of HAs

My insurance company, United Health Care, provides some coverage for HAs :disappointed:. They classify a particular HA as being in one of 7 levels: Basic, Reserved, Entry Level, Essential Level, Standard Level, Advance Level and Premium Level. The HA’s level determines what the copay would be for that aid. As I have looked at different brands of HA they seem to be some what consistent at having about 4 categories for their HAs. Anyone have any idea about how a particular brand of HA would fit in United Health Cares Levels?

I used have AARP United Healthcare HMO plan and found out that United Healthcare have their own hearing aid company. They didn’t have any aids for my profound hearing loss. I have a healthcare provider and they give me 1500 dollars for a pair of aids.

Thanks for your insight. In the here and now, UHC is behaving like Costco. They have a deal with many HA brands (they do not have their own HA company). The HA must be purchased from the UHC supplier and can only be purchased by a hearing aid “vendor” who is a provider who has entered into a contract with UHC. UHC provides you with the name and location of a provider (vendor) who has a contract with UHC. Many providers have refused to become involved with UHC.

Not sure where you came up with this statement. I see zero similarities.

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The only real difference is that Costco is both the supplier and vendor. They obviously have an arrangement with certain HA companies and they get them for a special price that is available only to Costco and Costco also fits and provides support for the HAs. UHC is a supplier but not a vendor. They obviously have an arrangement (probably similar to Costco) with certain HA companies and they get them for a special price that is not available to the general public unless they purchase them using a UHC approved vendor that will fit and provide support for the HAs and who orders HAs thru UHC.

Two and a half years ago my wife said I needed hearing aids.
I had UHC at the time.
They sent me to Audible.
So I have Audible aids.
I’m not sure how much they paid, but my cost was $1700.00.

I don’t have an answer to your question but I have some experience that might provide a single data point for you.

In my case, I’m covered by a state medical benefits plan for University employees through UHC. In the contract with UHC, my state (AZ) apparently requires high quality hearing aid coverage (brand unspecified) but the benefit actually comes through a hearing provider called EPIC. EPIC usually provides a list of approved hearing aid providers near where you live, in my case only a single vendor, who can supply a number of brands of hearing aids of different performance levels. Last fall I was approved for and then provided Oticon OPN S 1 miniRITE aids at no cost to me through EPIC/UHC. Previously (about 3 years before) I had Oticon OPN 1 (no cost) and about 3 years before that Siemens Pure (highest performance level at the time with a $1K copay per instrument). All coverage was through the state plan from UHC at the time of service. So I expect that the level of service provided by UHC depends strongly on the insurance plan that was purchased by you or your employer as the covered hearing benefit in my plan changed with changes in state coverage for a number of different possible health benefit plans I could choose from. In my case, the benefit is stated as a dollar amount to be covered (less than the normal retail price of a pair of OPN S 1 from a provider) and how often (as often as annually if medically indicated).

According to my provider, EPIC approves the purchase of a particular model aid from a main line manufacturer like Oticon for a given price. That does not seem to me to be like Costco where they contract with a manufacturer to build a model specifically for them with a Costco brand name that may be similar but differ in details from the manufacturer’s normal models.

Sounds like you have a great health plan. All I was suggesting with regards to Costco and UHC is that their business plans are very similar. I was not talking about the specific hearing aids each will provide. Point of fact, with both companies you must purchase the aids thru them and also use a fitter and provider of their choosing.

UnitedHealthcare Hearing brings together EPIC Hearing Healthcare , the nation’s largest provider of hearing health benefits, and hi HealthInnovations, a direct-to-consumer hearing health care company. A few years ago, l applied for EPIC Hearing aid provider. There was only one audiologist working with EPIC and it was a two hour drive to get there. I wanted the Phonak Naida V90 UP aids and they didn’t offer it. Their highest model was Naida V70 UP. They quoted over 1700 dollars for one Naida V70 UP aid and one earmold.