UnitedHealthcare Hearing Program for Hearing Aids

united healthcare hearing aid program relate hearing aids
April 1, 2024

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.

Since its initial launch, the UHC Hearing division continues to witness significant growth into 2023 – so much that some industry insiders have claimed that UHC Hearing is distributing enough hearing aids to rival Costco, which has been among the largest providers of hearing aids in the US for many years.

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). Thanks to these relationships, some of today’s best hearing aids can be found through the program.

The product offerings available to individuals will vary based on the health plan type.

uhc hearing aids program


UHC Relate Brand Hearing Aids

With the launch of the UnitedHealthcare Hearing program came a new private-label brand of hearing aids, taking a page from the TruHearing playbook (which is another popular managed care plan for hearing aids), except the UHC devices are manufactured by Unitron and are known as Relate.

The Relate brand offering was updated on January 1, 2024 and includes 3 technology levels, instead of 2.

uhc relate platinum hearing aids

United Healthcare’s Relate4.0 hearing aids introduce advancements in sound quality, personalization, and connectivity across three technology tiers: Relate Platinum, Gold, and Silver. Relate Platinum, the top tier, offers advanced automation for challenging listening environments with features like Auto Target Pro and Capture All. Relate Gold focuses on versatility with advanced noise management and full mobile app connectivity, while Relate Silver provides essential features for daily needs at an affordable price, emphasizing mobile connectivity and directional microphones for improved speech understanding.

relate 3.1 custom hearing aidsThe family of Relate 3.1 custom in-the-ear hearing aids delivers powerful sound and clarity. Available in Gold level only. Individually crafted with precision for optimized directional microphone performance and full connectivity options. 

Available wireless accessories for compatible Relate hearing aid models include :

New Relate Hearing Aid Site Launched

In April 2024 UHC launched a dedicated website just for its Relate brand hearing aid family. The motivation behind the new website aims to enhance brand awareness and provide educational resources for all members of the UnitedHealthcare Hearing, EPIC, and AARP® Hearing Solutions™ provided by UnitedHealthcare Hearing program.

“We’ve launched a new consumer-facing website for our Relate® line of products. The Relate site is focused on driving brand awareness and education to all UnitedHealthcare Hearing, EPIC and AARP® Hearing Solutions™ provided by UnitedHealthcare Hearing program members.”

–April 18, 2024, communication to UHC providers

The easy to navigate website offers a more consumer-friendly interface, where UHC members can explore different models and compare options and styles of devices. (link available at the end of this article)

Care Options: In Person Care or OTC. Virtual Home Care No Longer Available

Previously, UHC had offered its members access to hearing aids through three different care options: in-person visits, over-the-counter, or virtual care at home. However, the virtual fitting option is no longer available as of January 2024.

The company had expanded its virtual, direct-to-consumer offering in 2021 with Right2You Virtual Care, providing both the Relate brand of hearing aids and Phonak devices. 

Right2You virtual care at home previously included virtual appointments with licensed UnitedHealthcare Hearing professionals, remote hearing aid adjustments, and custom-programmed hearing aids delivered directly to members’ homes. Additionally, it offered three online follow-up visits after hearing aid purchase, with Basic technology level purchases receiving one virtual follow-up visit.

In-person care continued to include hearing aid fitting and support visits at network providers, featuring in-person appointments with licensed UnitedHealthcare Hearing professionals, hearing aid adjustments, and a choice of over 2,000 hearing aid models and styles from top industry brands. Members also received three in-person follow-up visits after hearing aid purchase.

Over The Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids

While it was many years in the making, the FDA released its long-awaited final regulations for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids in 2022, which made them available to consumers in the US in October 2022. 

With some UHC plans, such as the AARP program described below, OTC hearing aids have now been made available for purchase. Some of the top brands, including Jabra Enhance Plus, Lexie B2, powered by Bose, and enhancement devices like the Sennheiser ConC400, with pricing and discounts varying by plan.

united healthcare otc hearing aids

UHC offers assistive listening devices, like the Sennheiser ConC400 (L) and OTC devices like Lexie B2 (middle) and Jabra Enhance Plus (R)

UHC AARP Hearing Program

UnitedHealthcare is partnering with AARP to offer AARP Hearing Solutions, making it more convenient and affordable for millions of Americans to purchase prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. AARP members can now buy prescription hearing aids through UnitedHealthcare Hearing at a starting price of $699 per hearing aid, which includes support from licensed professionals and personalized assistance.

Additionally, AARP members have access to exclusive pricing on OTC hearing aids from top brands, offering a convenient option for self-diagnosed mild-to-moderate hearing loss without the need for in-person appointments.

As part of the program, which is available to people even if they don’t have UnitedHealthcare insurance, AARP members will gain access to:  

  • 20% off prescription hearing aids from the industry’s top brands
  • A 15% discount on hearing care products, such as hearing accessories and assistive listening devices
  • Access to exclusive pricing on OTC hearing aids
  • A no-cost hearing test, hearing aid consultation and personalized support through a nationwide network of hearing providers
  • Convenient virtual care and direct delivery options provided through Jabra Enhance.
  • One year of follow-up care included at no additional cost
  • A 60-day money-back guarantee and four-year manufacturer warranty
  • A three-year supply of hearing aid batteries ($100 value) or a charging case ($199 value) at no additional cost with each prescription hearing aid purchase

UnitedHealthcare Expands Hearing Aid Coverage in 2024 Medicare Advantage Plans

UnitedHealthcare has announced enhancements to hearing aid benefits in their 2024 Medicare Advantage plans. Key updates include:

  • Expanded device coverage – More than 2,000 hearing aids and devices will be covered, including new over-the-counter (OTC) options. This is a significant expansion compared to original Medicare which does not cover hearing aids.
  • Reduced copays – Hearing aid copays will start at $99 per device and go up to $1249
  • National network access – UnitedHealthcare offers one of the largest national hearing provider and retailer networks, giving members broad access to obtain devices and care.

The improved hearing benefits are part of UnitedHealthcare’s focus on providing stable benefits that matter most to members in areas not covered by original Medicare like vision, dental, and hearing. For 2024, UnitedHealthcare worked to expand covered hearing devices and reduce copays to increase the value of the hearing benefit. Members will have more options to get hearing aids at significant cost savings.

UnitedHealthcare Hearing Benefit Changes Announced for 2024

UnitedHealthcare has announced several updates to their hearing aid coverage that will take effect in 2024. Here are some notable changes consumers should be aware of:

  • Extended service plans beyond the included follow-up care may be offered at the provider’s standard rates. This allows consumers to purchase additional care and maintenance beyond what their plan may cover.
  • The virtual care program is no longer available, but OTC hearing aids are now covered. Consumers can use their benefit for either an OTC or traditional prescription hearing aid.
  • For children ages 0-18, a 5-year warranty is included plus a free accessory. This enhanced pediatric benefit provides added value.
  • Loaner hearing aids may be offered while repairs are needed. Providers can charge their standard fees for loaners with patient consent.
  • Mobile providers cannot charge extra for travel without consent. This protects consumers from surprise mobile service fees.

In summary, changes for 2024 are focused on updating provider policies and fees, while the consumer-facing benefits like OTC device coverage and pediatric offerings are expanded. Consumers are advised to review changes with their provider to see how they may be impacted.

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.

April 2024 Update – Disagreement with Oticon

In February, Oticon revealed a major change in its approach to managed care product offerings. They announced that their latest innovations would be reserved solely for non-managed care patients. Oticon emphasized the crucial role of personalized fittings conducted by licensed hearing care professionals.

Instead, for managed care plans (like UHC Hearing and others) they announced they would instead offer their latest Bernafon-branded hearing aids (sister company to Oticon, owned by parent company Demant). However, UHC Hearing disagreed with this approach.

“…Recently, Oticon released a communication regarding its future managed care product portfolio intention. This does not align with our strategies and contractual expectations.  As of today, UnitedHealthcare Hearing has not committed to offering Bernafon. We are confident providers will find success in fitting one of the many brands and solutions in our existing product catalog. If there are any changes to products in our formularies in the future, we will communicate those changes directly and timely.”

–Message to UHC providers, sent on March 7, 2024

On April 8, 2024, Oticon Inc. president, Gary Rosenblum, sent a letter to their customers. He explained the decision from Oticon reflects broader worries about declining reimbursements and professional fees within managed care leading to poorer outcomes for end-users. 

“…As we look towards the future, we are concerned that the decline in managed care product reimbursement and HCP professional fees will ultimately result in diminished patient satisfaction.

Our proposal to United would maintain our broad line of cutting-edge Oticon solutions, including Oticon Real™, while also offering our new Bernafon brand, a robust new platform with exceptional value and state-of-the-art technology across all price points. United disagreed with our thoughtful strategy and has removed ALL Oticon products from most of their formularies.”

–Gary Rosenblum, excerpt from message to Customers, sent on April 8, 2024

While Oticon products had been widely available through the UHC Hearing program, it’s unclear when the company’s products may return or whether UHC will ultimately decide to offer Bernafon products at a later time.



Source: UHC

  1. Do you provide custom earmolds and tubing to go with it? I have a very severe hearing loss that is treated very well with powerful hearing aids (675 batteries).

    1. HHTM Author

      HHTM is not affiliated with United Healthcare. Please visit UHC directly at their website linked at the bottom of the article to find more information and contact them directly. Thank you!

  2. I notice there are no dealers in your program where I live. I am a Pfizer/Upjohn retiree with United Health Care Advantage program who lives in Kalamazoo Michigan. I am not willing to go to Lansing MIchigan for service, ie. earmolds and replacement tubing. Please let me know you’ll get more dealers in the network. Thanks.

  3. United health care hearing benifets are still more costly than Costco so why bother.

  4. Need to find a place that is linked with United Healthcare hearing aid program.

  5. Do you dispense widex or starkey hearing aids? Is there a location I can find the brands you dispense?

  6. Does the United Healthcare Hearing Network have retailers in the Denver area?

  7. It is my opinion that United Health Care should let their members chose the Hearing aid they desire and give them a refund limit up to a set price.
    Example: I have been with United Health for many years and I need hearing aids and would like to consider using the Jabra Enhance 200. Their price of $2,000.00 seems to be very high but if United paid say up to $1,000.00, now the bite isn’t all that bad. I realize they want to keep the purchase of hearing aids in house but why should we accept a lower quality product through United Health care?

Leave a Reply