3rd Quarter 2014 Benefits Corner


By Al Horan

Hear In America

As we know, many of us will experience hearing problems as we age. Sometimes the loss of hearing will necessitate the assistance of a hearing aid. However, hearing aids can be expensive. They can cost as much as $5,000 per ear and many times an individual will require two hearing aids. Unfortunately, Medicare and most private medical insurance plans do not cover hearing aids.

About two months ago, I was approached by Hear In America (HIA) about making available to CRA Members a Hearing Aid Program. Their Program is comprehensive, nationwide and it offers substantial discounts on hearing aids. The discounts typically range from 30% to 50%; the prices of the discounted hearing aids typically vary from $750 to $2,825 per instrument. These prices are for top of the line, state of the art hearing aids which are offered through nine major U.S. manufacturers – GN Resound, Widex, Oticon, Phonak, Rexton, Siemens, Starkey, Sonic Innovations and Unitron.

In addition to discounts on hearing aids, HIA provides other services and supplies: free hearing screening; 45 day trial period; minimum of a two year warranty; two year supply of batteries; free cleanings, adjustments and retesting for the life of the hearing aid; and twelve month interest free financing for those who qualify (up to 5 years with interest).

There isn’t an enrollment fee or premium. Also, there isn’t a charge for their services. They are paid through their discount arrangements with the manufacturers. Members enroll when they phone HIA for an appointment.

Services and visits to hearing centers are arranged through HIA at a center near where the individual lives. They also liaise with and monitor the activities of the center. Finally, they offer second opinions and consultative advice.

HIA has been in business since1995; and they are staffed by licensed and experienced hearing instrument specialists that provide personalized attention to members. Currently, they represent 25 associations with 4 million members which are mainly retired teachers associations, e.g. Retired Teachers Associations in Indiana (have 23,000 members), Maryland (have 15,000 members), Wisconsin (have 15,000 members), etc.

To better understand how the Program works visits were made to local service centers by Bill Merkel (President of the Oklahoma Chapter of CRA), my wife, Mary Ellen and I. Bill visited a center in Oklahoma City and Mary Ellen and I visited a center in Dallas. All three of us were impressed by what we saw. HIA is the best hearing aid organization that I have come into contact with. Also from what I can see the HIA Program is better than what is offered through AARP.

If you wish to contact HIA about enrolling in the Program, they can be reached at 1-800-286-6149 or on the Internet at www.hearinamerica.com. As soon as the details are finalized, you will also be able to access HIA through the Chevron Recreation website – chevrec.mybigcommerce.com. In due course, we will also make available, through the CRA Chapters, brochures that will provide additional information.

If you contact HIA please be sure to mention that you are accessing the HIA Program as a Member of the Chevron Retirees Association. This Program is available to retirees, surviving spouses and their families.

The offering of the HIA Program through the Chevron Recreation website was unanimously approved by the Delegates to the 2014 Annual Meeting of CRA. We are proud to be able to make this additional benefit available to you.

Express Scripts

You will recall that many CRA Members expressed concern about the size of the type on the prescription labels that are prepared by Express Scripts (ESI). We are pleased to report that in response to client feedback, ESI is increasing the typeface size on prescription bottle labels. To make space for the change, ESI has redesigned the label. We have been informed that the redesigned label will contain all the prescription information that is required by state and federal regulations. The enhancement is scheduled to be implemented within the next month.

If you have any questions about this article I can be reached by phone at 972-964-1787 or by email at awhoran@verizon.net.