When people buy hearing aids, they usually don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. How is hearing aid cost determined, and what should I pay for them? What should I get with my purchase? How long do they last? What brand is best for me?
Unbundling can help you answer many of these questions!
Most hearing aids are sold with a bundled price structure. Essentially, they’re marked up an undisclosed amount, and you’re told that all services like hearing tests are included. But they don’t tell you what those services are, how much the hearing aids are marked up, or what the services would cost if you bought them separately. The markup is usually a percentage of the wholesale hearing aid cost (sometimes as much as 300%!). But that means that you’re paying a different price for the same service depending on the wholesale price of the hearing aid.
At Link Audiology, our hearing aids are unbundled. We separate the cost of our services out from the hearing aid cost. The price for those services is based on our costs and is compared with Medicare and insurance rates for the same services, to make sure our rates are fair and comparable. So you see the actual list price of your hearing aids and the cost of hearing aid fitting and maintenance. We do this because we believe in being as fair and transparent as possible with our patients. It also allows us to bill some of those services to your insurance, depending on your insurance plan, effectively minimizing your out-of-pocket costs. You can then decide to pay for services at each visit or opt to purchase one of our hearing aid care plans.
So how exactly does unbundling affect hearing aid cost?
Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say the wholesale hearing aid cost is $2,100 when you include parts and shipping. With a bundled model a typical markup percentage is about 100%, with some rounding for simplicity’s sake. So we end up with a $4,200 price tag on that hearing aid. That usually includes all services for the first 3 years. Many places will give you a discount for purchasing a pair… but even then, you’re looking at around $8,000 for a pair of premium hearing aids. To see how this stacks up with Link Audiology’s unbundled model, check the table below.
Hearing Aid Cost
Bundled1 Pair of Premium
- “Free” hearing aid fitting/orientation
- “Free” hearing aid programming and service
- “Free” follow-up visits
- “Free” annual hearing rechecks
- “Free” replacement parts
Unbundled1 Pair of Premium
- $2,075 per hearing aid ($4,150 for the pair)
- $128.33 for quality check
- $137.50 for fitting and orientation
- $250 dispensing fee
- $55 Real Ear verification
- $6 batteries for trial period
- $1,200 for 3 Year Care Plan (includes batteries)
So the benefits of the unbundled model are clear to us: fairness and transparency are preserved, and the costs to our patients are minimized. That’s why we adopted this model and will continue to practice with this model.
If you have any other questions about how this works, check out this article in Hearing Loss Magazine about unbundled hearing aids, or call or email us for a consultation.