UnitedHealth Group Business Makes Major Breakthroughs in Helping People Assess, Address Hearing Loss

Initiative Includes New, At-Home Hearing Test to Help Detect Hearing Deficits

MINNETONKA, Minn., Oct. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- hi HealthInnovations™, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, today launched a suite of high tech, lower cost hearing devices for the 36 million Americans with hearing loss. An estimated 75 percent of people who can benefit from hearing devices don't use them, largely due to the high cost.

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There are many benefits to detecting and treating hearing loss early. However, given that hearing loss is typically a gradual process, many people do not recognize that they have it nor are they benefiting from early treatment. This is why hi HealthInnovations is also introducing a user-friendly hearing test that consumers can take at home via their computer and, in the coming months, wherever they are using tablets, smart phones or other mobile devices.  

The suite of hearing devices will be available directly to consumers from hi HealthInnovations.  Additionally, hi HealthInnovations has contracted with several UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans to make the devices available to plan members. For some UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan members, there is no out-of-pocket cost for the devices.  Retail consumers can expect to pay between $749 and $949. Similar hearing devices typically cost consumers thousands of dollars. 

"We are offering affordable and convenient solutions to help consumers improve their hearing and quality of life," said Lisa Tseng, MD, chief executive officer of hi HealthInnovations. "Our goal is to put better hearing within reach of more Americans, including the 47 million with Medicare, which does not cover the significant cost of hearing devices. Because early detection and treatment of hearing loss often lead to better outcomes, hi HealthInnovations will seek to engage more primary care physicians in the care of a condition that affects the daily life of millions of Americans."

hi HealthInnovations's high tech hearing devices use advanced technology to customize sound quality for an individual's hearing loss. Four models will be made available – three sleek behind-the-ear models, and one that comfortably fits inside the ear canal and is nearly invisible.

The at-home test is available online and is designed to work with any earphones and most computers. A mobile app for tablets and smart phones will also be available soon. The hearing test is easy-to-use, fast and efficient, and provides easy-to-understand results. Based on the test results, hi HealthInnovations will custom-program hearing devices tailored to a person's specific hearing needs.  Test kits will be made available to primary care physicians as well, providing them an additional tool to screen their patients for hearing loss.

For more information on the product and pricing, visit: www.hihealthinnovations.com

About UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) is a diversified health and well-being company dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making health care work better. With headquarters in Minnetonka, Minn., UnitedHealth Group offers a broad spectrum of products and services through two distinct platforms: UnitedHealthcare, which provides health care coverage and benefits services; and Optum, which provides information and technology-enabled health services. Through its businesses, UnitedHealth Group serves more than 75 million people worldwide. Visit UnitedHealth Group at www.unitedhealthgroup.com for more information.

Plans are 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.

CONTACT:
Danielle Lundquist
Peppercom
212-931-6157
[email protected]

SOURCE UnitedHealth Group

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