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ARTICLE Affordable Hearing Aids Now Available to UnitedHealthcare Vision Plan Customers Nationwide


MINNETONKA, Minn. (July 24, 2013) – High-tech, custom-programmed hearing aids are now available at affordable prices – starting at just $649 each – to people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare vision benefit plans, including employer-sponsored and individual policies.

Hearing aids can often cost thousands of dollars, but UnitedHealthcare's new discount program enables its vision plan participants to save hundreds of dollars on hearing aids by purchasing them for as low as $649 each*. The discount program already has been available to people enrolled in many UnitedHealthcare medical plans, including employer-sponsored, individual and Medicare Advantage plans, as well as Medicare Part D plans. Some UnitedHealthcare Medicare plan customers pay no out-of-pocket costs for the hearing aids.

The hearing aids are being provided through a collaboration with hi HealthInnovations, an Optum business and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company. Retail customers can also achieve significant savings through hi HealthInnovations, which sells high-tech, custom-programmed hearing aids priced between $749 to $949 each*. This compares to competitor prices for similar devices that average $2,000 to $4,000 each.

Hearing loss affects one in five Americans ages 12 and older, according to a 2011 study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. More than 85 percent of people who could benefit from using a hearing aid do not actually use them, often because of the high cost, so this discount program helps people access hearing aids that can improve their quality of life.

UnitedHealthcare plan participants and consumers interested in purchasing a hearing aid should ask a health care provider, including primary care physicians, audiologists or hi HealthInnovations hearing professionals, for a hearing test. The test results (an audiogram) are submitted to hi HealthInnovations, which programs the hearing aids for each person's specific hearing loss. Consumers can have the device sent directly to their residence or be fitted in-person.

"Cost is a significant barrier for millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss, and this new discount will help make hearing aids more accessible and affordable for more people nationwide," said Linda Chous, M.D., chief eye care officer, UnitedHealthcare Vision. "Hearing health plays a critical role in people's overall health and well-being. Untreated hearing loss can affect a person's ability to stay connected to friends and family, contributing to social isolation, depression and lower income."

hi HealthInnovations' hearing aids use advanced technology to enhance speech understanding and listening comfort. Each hearing aid is custom-programmed to a user's specific hearing needs based on his or her hearing test results. Every hearing test result and hearing aid order is reviewed by a licensed hearing professional to determine suitability.

hi HealthInnovations hearing professionals are available in many cities around the country, offering hearing health seminars in local communities and offering education, testing and support services in person, over the phone or online. Customers can attend new-user seminars on topics such as effective communication strategies, and access online captioned videos about how to use, clean and maintain hearing aids.

"Consumers are looking for options that make hearing aids more affordable and accessible, so this collaboration with UnitedHealthcare expands our efforts to help address the hearing needs for millions of Americans," said Lisa Tseng, M.D., CEO, hi HealthInnovations.

For more information on products and pricing, visit: hihealthinnovations.com.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and other care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

About hi HealthInnovations

hi HealthInnovations offers custom-programmed, digital hearing aids at significant discounts to the 48 million U.S. consumers with hearing loss. These innovative devices are delivered through a national staff and network of audiologists and hearing health professionals who provide hearing tests, fittings, seminars and counseling online, by phone and in person. hi HealthInnovations is an Optum business and part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH), a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better.

The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information, contact the plan. Limitations, copayments and restrictions may apply. Benefits may change on January 1 of each year.

Plan is insured or covered by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliates, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.

*UnitedHealthcare Internal Company Data, 2013