You likely have insurance for all sorts of things, including your life, health, car, house, and more. Insurance is a business, not a social welfare grant. There are generally no limitations to insurance premiums beyond free market competition. Rates are largely determined by actuaries using math, stat and financial theories. Let’s find out how they influence hearing aid insurance rates and whether hearing aid insurance is worth the money.
Let’s Find Out How Insurance for Hearing Aids Works
The actuaries behind hearing aid insurance premiums assess the chance of making payouts for successful insurance claims. They use the likelihood of this happening to determine the variable cost to their employer. Then they factor in the impact of client lifestyle choices, health, age, and other factors.
The cost of hearing aid insurance varies on the probability of claims. Therefore, seniors can expect to pay higher rates if their peers are more likely to lose their hearing aids. An actuary calculating the cost-to-company of protecting hearing aids, would also factor in the cost of repairing them if they fell on a hard floor.
They would also allow for the total cost of replacing hearing aids, if they were stolen, mislaid, or damaged beyond repair. Let’s move on from actuarial science. Let’s find out how hard-hearing lifestyles affect how much we pay for hearing aid insurance.
Let’s Consider Hearing Aid Insurance Risk in More Detail
Hearing aids are electronic devices inside hard protective cases. These protect them from life’s little bumps and jolts, much as smart phones do. However, if we drop them on a hard surface this can dislodge something inside. In that case they are often unrepairable in terms of cost.
Insurance actuaries also allow for the cost of replacing hearing aids if they are water damaged. This may happen when the user accidentally drops them in the bath, or forgets to remove them before they step into the shower. If you are thinking seniors should have insurance for their hearing aids, this very much depends on how much they paid for them in the first place.
Finding Cover to Protect a Hearing Aid Investment
Medical News Today says private insurers seldom include hearing aid benefits in their standard plans, although some allow them as optional paid extras. However, a few states insist on coverage for all ages (cover is more extensive for underage children).
FIVE US STATES WITH MANDATORY INSURANCE FOR HEARING AIDS
The following U.S states mandate nominated insurance plans include adult hearing aid insurance in standard policies. The actual payout cover varies is as follows:
- ARKANSAS - $1,400 per aid, every 3 years
- CONNECTICUT - $1,000 every 24 months.
- ILLINOIS - $2,500 per hearing aid every 24 months
- NEW HAMPSHIRE - $1,500 per aid, every 60 months
- RHODE ISLAND - $800 per aid, every 3 years
Individual hearing aid premiums vary widely. However, the above data suggests hearing aid insurance does not come cheap, assuming the companies run at a profit. The reticence of insurers is understandable, given the average cost of one hearing aid is now over $2,000 and growing.
It’s hard to understand how hearing aid manufacturers still get away with rip-off prices, when they are treatments for involuntary hearing loss. One senior we spoke to remarked some hearing aid companies prey on seniors, because they have no other choice.
Hearing loss has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, with at least 10% of people partly deaf. The United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey tracks the prevalence of hearing loss:
- Nearly one in four of us have noise-induced hearing loss
- Adults reporting normal hearing follow a similar pattern
- A third of adults exposed to noise at work have hearing loss
Hearing loss is therefore not something we bring upon ourselves. It’s a result of living in society, and society should pay. Unfortunately, it generally does not, meaning we are on our own when it comes to the cost of hearing aid insurance.
MEDICARE seldom includes hearing aid cover, although there may be options under Advantage plans. However, some U.S. states mandate MEDICAID insurance cover for hearing aids as we mentioned just now.
VETERAN AFFAIRS provides hearing aids for qualifying patients, and may assist with replacements for deserving causes. Some states have vocational rehabilitation programs that could help if you lose your hearing aids.
A Smarter Way to Protect a Hearing Aid Investment
Just because you have hearing aid insurance, does not necessarily guarantee an insurance payout if you make a claim. As the old adage goes, read the small print before you sign the contract. Many hearing aid users self-insure their devices, in the hope they will break even and then score more than the premium saving.
The purchase price of hearing aids affects the time to break even. Folk who purchase hearing aids that do a good job are often ahead of the curve. Because their one-off cost could be less than hearing aid insurance, like ours at Blue Angels Hearing. That way, you don’t have to panic if you break a hearing aid knowing the cost is reasonable!