UnitedHealthcare launches new virtual option for hearing care

UnitedHealthcare Hearing has launched a new virtual program that aims to make it easier for people to access custom hearing aids.

The Right2You program is available for people enrolled in eligible UnitedHealthcare employer plans, individual plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Officials said it could save members between 50% and 80% compared to more traditional approaches to securing hearing aids.

Some plans will have access to the devices at no out-of-pocket cost, and others will start at $175 per device, UnitedHealthcare said.

"We’ve worked on really bringing the cost down and improving access," Diane Nens, audiologist and senior clinical director at UnitedHealthcare Hearing, told Fierce Healthcare.

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Right2You is also available for people who are not enrolled in UnitedHealth plans who have mild to moderate hearing loss, coming in at just under $1,000 for the hearing aids, Nens said.

To take advantage of the program, a member first takes an online hearing test to gauge any hearing loss. The patient can then meet with a UnitedHealthcare hearing professional to go over the results either in person or virtually.

If needed, a hearing aid will then be delivered directly to the member's home, UnitedHealth said. They can then make fit adjustments either in a visit with a hearing professional or virtually via a connected mobile app.

For those who prefer in-person visits, members have access to more than 5,500 in-network hearing professionals who can assist with the process.

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Nens said the challenges of the pandemic significantly increased the demand for virtual options for hearing care. UnitedHealthcare also found that the number of people buying hearing aids declined significantly due to COVID-19.

"It’s really eliminating many of those in-person appointments," she said. "COVID-19 really accelerated this program for us because we knew that the need was there."