This is marketing and if one needs a free hearing aid it could potentially have an impact on one’s decision.  I wonder this is going to go over with the other insurance carriers and what will they think of to counter offer?   In case you missed it, United has a new subsidiary that is distributing “cheap” hearing aids from IntriCon.  I am guessing they are made in China but don’t quote me for sure.  Traditional Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids so again the option of getting one to sign up with the United plan is there. 

United HealthCare Gets In the Medical Device Business–Distributing Cheap Hearing Aides Sold Via Hi HealthInnovations Division –Subsidiary Watch

The company has been buying up independent physician’s groups as well such as this example in Orange County, CA.  I try to tag most of my acquisition posts with “subsidiary watch” and you can use those search words to find more here at the Medical Quack.  BD 

United Healthcare To Buy Huge Chunk of Orange County, California Managed Care Business with the Purchase of Monarch Healthcare–Subsidiary Watch

MINNETONKA, Minn., Oct 19, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group UNH +2.45% company, will offer its AARP MedicareComplete Medicare Advantage HMO and HMO-POS plan members in Miami-Dade County access to high-tech, custom-programmed hearing aids at no out-of-pocket cost. Because Original Medicare does not cover the substantial cost of hearing devices, this new feature could potentially save UnitedHealthcare members in the Miami area thousands of dollars in 2012.

"We design our plans with the goal of helping our members live healthier, more secure lives, which is why we feel it's important to make a critically needed but underutilized product like hearing aids more readily available," said Lissette Garcia, executive director of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in South Florida. "We have significantly lowered the price of the devices without sacrificing quality, offering our members improved hearing, which can help them stay engaged with their families, friends and communities."

The nearly 379,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the county can enroll in UnitedHealthcare's Medicare Advantage plans -- AARP MedicareComplete Plan 1 (HMO) and AARP MedicareComplete Plus (HMO-POS) -- during the Annual Election Period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7).


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