How to Save Money on Hearing Aids
Top 5 tips that can save you thousands on hearing aids
They're one of the most expensive personal items you'll ever buy.
In the U.S, the average price for a pair of hearing aids is a staggering $4600.
With prices like that, it's only natural to wonder how you might save money on hearing aids.
Well, look no further.
In this post I'll provide the top 5 ways you can save money on hearing aids.
5 tips for saving money on hearing aids
1. Check with your health insurance
More and more health insurance plans are providing hearing aid coverage.
Before you pick up the phone and call a hearing aid company, call your insurance company.
Here are some questions you should ask them:
"Do I have any benefits for hearing aids?"
"Do I have a different benefit amount if I go with an in-network provider, vs. an out-of-network provider?"
"What sort of preauthorization (if any), is required, to take advantage of my hearing aid benefits?"
And since we're talking about saving money on hearing aids, you should know that even if you have a hearing aid benefit from your insurance, that doesn't necessarily mean that utlizing that benefit is going to be your most affordable option.
For example, a lot of insurance plans will refer you to their “in-network” or "preferred" provider, where they'll promise a certain % of savings, or a flat amount off your purchase price, like $1,000.
The catch? Those savings are taken off an inflated manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), and your final price may not be very competitive when all is said and done.
And, don't assume that if your out-of-network benefit is less than your in-network benefit, that that means it's going to be cheaper for you to stay in-network.
It all depends on the starting price of the hearing aids you're considering buying.
If the in-network provider's starting price is drastically higher than an out-of-network provider's starting price, it could totally negate the extra benefit amount you would've received by staying in-network.
The bottom line, is don't assume that just because you have a hearing aid benefit through your insurance, that that's going to be your most affordable option.
Take a close look at your real out-of-pocket costs and evaluate accordingly.
2. Consider Costco
If you have a Costco nearby, you could be in for some serious savings.
Costco hearing aids are very similar to the hearing aids that are sold at independent hearing aid offices, and the savings can be tremendous.
For example, most independent hearing aid offices will sell a set of premium hearing aids for around $6,000.
Costco's price? Around $2,000- sometimes a little more.
There are some downsides to buying through Costco- there's a limited selection of products, sometimes defeatured products, and long appointment wait times, among others.
Buying hearing aids from Costco isn't for everyone.
3. Buy through a discount network
Discount networks, like ZipHearing, negotiate discount pricing with hearing aid manufacturers, and pass the savings on to their customers.
There are probably a dozen discount networks in the industry, and this is an easy way to save up to 35% off retail prices, while still getting local hearing care and access to all the major brands.
Call one of the discount networks and ask to be referred to their local affiliate provider in your community.
You'll get discount pricing below what you can typically negotiate on your own, while still getting access to local care.
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4. Check “Local Deals” on the HearingTracker website
Founded by an audiologist, HearingTracker.com is one of the most well known resources for consumers in the industry.
One neat feature of the site is their local deals section, where local hearing providers create and advertise special “deals” on hearing aids.
It's not uncommon to find deals that are up to 50% off retail prices.
Through HearingTracker's deal program, you get access to discount pricing and you also still get local care.
5. Ask about “unbundling”
At most hearing aid offices, the price you're quoted is what's called a “bundled” price.
That is- a price that includes both the cost of the hearing aids, but also a lengthy service plan.
So the devices and service are “bundled” together.
But, if you separate the price of the devices and service, there's room for savings.
This is called “unbundling.”
It can save you thousands of dollars, and it'll make you look like the informed buyer you are.
Ask your hearing provider for their unbundled price, or in other words, their price for the devices, plus a few appointments to get them setup properly for you.
Then, get on a pay-as-you-go type arrangement for future service appointments (which you definitely will need).
This could easily net you a thousand dollars or more in immediate (at least short term) savings.
Heads up though- this is a more "advanced" way to save money on hearing aids, and it doesn't come without risks.
If your pay-as-you-go rate is high, buying hearing aids unbundled could end up being more expensive in the long run.
If you're an experienced hearing aid wearer and you know roughly how many appointments you require over the lifespan of a hearing aid, it should be easy enough for you to calculate whether or not you'll come out ahead.