Answers To Your Questions
WHY AN AUDIOLOGIST?
Audiologists are the most highly skilled and trained professionals to manage and treat hearing loss. New audiologists are now required to hold a Doctorate of Audiology degree to be licensed to practice. I strongly recommend that people seek an Audiologists’ opinion before purchasing a hearing aid. Audiologists are trained to identify certain auditory conditions and refer to physicians for medical intervention before hearing aids are fit.
Hearing aids are also sold by hearing aid dispensers. The level of training for Audiologists vs hearing aid dispensers is significantly different. Many hearing aid franchise establishments employ hearing aid dispensers instead of Audiologists.
Dr. NO takes pride in approaching the patient through the diagnostic route, rather than retail sales. While the end result of treatment may both lead to hearing aids, seeing the patient as a person rather than a sale is the main goal.
WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS THAT MY HEARING MAY BE DECLINING?
Most people start to notice that they can hear other’s speaking, but that they cannot understand what they are saying. This is common complaint of people who slowly lose their hearing due to the aging process. Another strong sign is that family members and friends have noticed your hearing loss and are forced to repeat themselves so that you understand what they are saying.
WHAT HEARING AIDS DO YOU SELL?
I am not obligated to buy from any one manufacturer. I typically sell what I wear. I wear what I feel helps me hear well. If I don't like how it sounds I am unlikely to have it as a primary pick for the patient. However, not one manufacturer will no meet the need of every patient. Just like some people prefer Coke and others Pepsi, people have different preferences in sound and style of hearing aids. I can and will accommodate those preferences.
FINANCING? WHAT PAYMENTS DO YOU TAKE?
I take financing through CareCredit. I participate with 12 months deferred interest.
I accept all Credit Cards, Cash, and Check.
DOES INSURANCE COVER HEARING AIDS?
More often than not Insurance does not cover hearing aids. There are obviously exceptions. I encourage patients to call their Insurance provider to obtain this information.
Medicare Does NOT cover hearing aids.
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER MY VISIT?
It truly depends on your insurance plan. I will bill any insurance that you have, whether they pay or not is another story. This clinic does not take any Medicaid insurances.
Medicare does not cover hearing aids, however they typically cover a good portion of the cost for Diagnostic testing when a patient has a referral from their Primary Physician.
WHAT 3PAS DO YOU PARTICIPATE WITH?
None. Dr. NO feels 3PA do not have the patient's best interest in mind. These plans typically limit the patient's product choices, may only cover inferior/obsolete product, and may not follow best practice protocol.
Dr. NO feels it is ethically wrong for an insurance company to tell the provider how to treat and what products to use when treating the patient. Also, some insurance companies are requiring patients to purchase their hearing aids through a 3PA that they own. In other words, to use this benefit you already paid for, you must buy it from this other business that we own.
WHEN DO I PAY FOR THE HEARING AIDS?
Payment is due the day you receive your hearing aids. If insurance benefit has been verified, your portion will be due on day of delivery and insurance will be billed.
WHAT IS THE IL STATE MANDATE FOR HEARING AIDS?
A new law in Illinois requires insurance companies to offer optional coverage to people 65 years and older for hearing instruments and any related services when they are prescribed by a hearing care professional. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2020. The law mandates coverage of up to $2,500 per hearing aid every 24 months.
This mandate is great, if you can use it. Many loopholes have been left open for the insurance companies.
1. Up To $2500, may only be $100
2. As mentioned earlier, 3PAs. United Healthcare is an example. They require you to see a network provider and must get hearing aids from a business that they own. They will only pay the provider ~$800 to do all the work, testing, and follow-up. Guess where the rest of the money goes? No business can run off of that kind of compensation for very long.
HOW ARE YOUR HEARING AIDS DIFFERENT THAN BELTONE, MIRACLE EAR, ALL AMERICAN, ETC
The short answer is that they aren't different. I have access to all the same hearing aids. The chain stores get the same hearing aids from the same manufacturers, stick their name on it, and call them proprietary hearing aids. All American and NuEar is private label Starkey, Miracle Ear and Beltone switch throughout the years depending on which manufacturer contract wins the bid. Furthermore, these companies purposely lock the hearing aids to prevent Audiologist like me from being able to make adjustments for the patient, and force you to seek them for any and all help.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE FOR A HEARING TEST WHILE OTHERS DON'T?
Typically, others don't charge for the hearing test is because the insurance companies will not reimburse them. The reason is because Dispensers do not have the training or license to have their testing used for diagnostic purposes, only for hearing aid fitting.
Past that, I can not legally provide free Diagnostic testing to patients and not provide free testing to insurance patients.
WHAT ARE THE COST OF YOUR HEARING AIDS?
Common price ranges are from $1000.00 to 3,000.00 per hearing aid. I caution people not to shop for hearing aids based solely on price. The most expensive hearing aid on the market, fit on the wrong hearing loss or fit incorrectly, will produce poor results. On the other hand, someone with an active lifestyle will need the correct hearing aid technology to match that lifestyle and hearing loss. If it is not met correctly, the hearing aid will not be able to keep up with the patients listening lifestyle and the results will be poor. It is important to match the level of hearing aid technology to the patient’s hearing loss AND lifestyle.
My suggestion is to get a complete diagnostic audiological evaluation and hearing aid consultation. A hearing screening is NOT the same as a complete diagnostic audiological evaluation. They are simple indicators to whether further testing is needed. I do not recommend being fit with hearing aids solely from a “free hearing screening/evaluation
WILL MY INSURANCE COVER MY VISIT?
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WHY ARE HEARING AIDS SO EXPENSIVE?
I agree that there is a big cost attached to hearing aids. However, here you getting more than just hearing aids. You are paying for the time, service, warranties, batteries, and more importantly my expertise all bundled into the cost. If all you get is a hearing aid and nothing else, I would suggest you run as quick as you can away from that place. Hearing aids should never be a one-stop-shop.
When determining pricing, I take all my overhead and Cost of goods into account and price the products appropriately to make sure that I am fair to the patients as well as to the practice. Whenever I get any discount from the manufacturer, my prices reflect that discount.