In June 2019, UnitedHealthcare announced the launch of UnitedHealthcare Hearing, which it said would offer “all consumers, including people enrolled in the company’s individual, employer-sponsored and Medicare Advantage plans, greater access to affordable, quality hearing health”.
UnitedHealthcare Hearing network brings together EPIC Hearing Healthcare, which the company acquired from Sonova in 2018, and hi HealthInnovations, a home-delivery hearing healthcare subsidiary of UHC, originally launched in 2012. The network offers hearing health services including a full product portfolio for retail customers and Medicare Advantage, Part D, Group Retiree and Employer & Individual members.
UHC Hearing Aid Program Overview
UnitedHealthcare Hearing is said to be supported by a large network of hearing care professionals and distribution relationships with major hearing technology manufacturers (“name brand” devices, such as Oticon, ReSound, Starkey, Widex, etc).
The product offerings available to individuals will vary based on the health plan type.
UHC Relate Brand Hearing Aids
With the launch of the UnitedHealthcare Hearing program came a new private-label brand of hearing aids, manufactured by Unitron for UHC: RELATETM.
The new Relate brand updated its offering beginning on January 1, 2021 to begin offering rechargeable models – previously unavailable. With the update, most Relate1.0 models have been replaced with Relate2.0.
Relate Behind-The-Ear (BTE) devices are available in 4 models — Relate2.0 Basic Li BTE, Relate2.0 Reserve Li BTE, Relate2.0 Reserve 312 BTE and Relate Reserve 675 Ultra Power BTE.
Relate2.0 receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are available in two models — Relate2.0 Reserve Li RIC and Relate2.0 Reserve 312 RIC.
Relate2.0 custom hearing aids are offered in five models — Relate2.0 10 CIC, Relate2.0 10 Mini ITC, Relate2.0 312 ITC, Relate2.0 Half Shell 312 ITE and Relate2.0 Full Shell 13 ITE. A wide range of receiver offerings allow the custom devices to be fit to a wide range of hearing losses.
Available wireless accessories for compatible Relate hearing aid models include:
Care Options: In Person Care or At-Home Delivery
UHC allows its members to access hearing aids through two different care options – in-person visit, or virtual care at home.
The company has expanded their virtual, direct to consumer offering in 2021 (Right2You Virtual Care), by offering both the Relate brand of hearing aids, as well as Phonak devices.
According to the company, Right2You virtual care at home includes:
• Virtual appointments with a licensed UnitedHealthcare Hearing professional, including
remote hearing aid adjustments
• Custom-programmed hearing aids delivered directly to your home
• Three online follow-up visits after hearing aid purchase*
*Hearing aids purchased in the Basic technology level receive 1 virtual follow-up visit.
In-person care includes hearing aid fitting and support visits at a network provider in your area, including:
• In-person appointments with a licensed UnitedHealthcare Hearing professional, including
hearing aid adjustments
• Choice of 2,000+ hearing aid models and styles from the industry’s top brands
• Three in-person follow-up visits after hearing aid purchase
Trial Period, Returns & Exchanges
According to the company, all Relate home delivered devices offer a 70-day trial period, which starts the day of the shipment. All other devices’ 45-day trial period starts from the date of the fitting appointment with a licensed professional.
Returns or exchanges may only be accepted during the trial period. Earmolds cannot be returned or exchanged. For Exchange requests, UnitedHealthcare Hearing will contact the member to collect any out of pocket price difference and will send a new authorization to order the new hearing aids.
**PLEASE NOTE: HHTM IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH UNITED HEALTHCARE. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT THE UHC HEARING WEBSITE HERE.**