AlwaysCare Benefits, Baton Rouge, La, a Starmount Life Insurance company, offers a hearing savings plan to all AlwaysCare members at no additional cost, effective immediately. Through a partnership with Ear Professionals International Corporation (EPIC Hearing Healthcare), the hearing savings plan provides members access to savings ranging from 30 to 60% off MSRP on all major name brand hearing instruments and accessories, the company says.

According to the National Institutes of Health, hearing loss is the third most common chronic disability in the United States. Hearing loss affects more than 32 million Americans, and the majority (65%) of Americans with hearing loss is below retirement age, says the company. In 2009, the hearing industry’s MarkeTrak conducted a national survey that found the average out-of-pocket cost of a hearing aid increased 16.9% to $1,601.

The plan offers a standardized and consistent approach to hearing care by offering substantial discounts on materials typically not covered under medical insurance plans, according to the company. The partnership also provides AlwaysCare Members with access to on-call support for questions and assistance.

In addition, the hearing savings plan offers members access to a battery program in which EPIC will ship the batteries directly to AlwaysCare Members’ homes. The cost savings for the batteries is greater than 40% of standard retail store pricing, says the company.

AlwaysCare will continue to offer the fully insured hearing benefit as a rider to AlwaysCare’s dental and vision plans for groups who elect to have fully insured plans with exam and device coverage.

AlwaysCare Benefits and its sister company, Starmount Life Insurance Company, are privately-owned businesses. AlwaysCare is a provider of group dental, vision, life, and disability products.

[Source: AlwaysCare]