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DoD announces new, at-cost military retiree hearing aid program

Friday, November 01, 2013

Advances in technology have made hearing aids into high-tech medical devices, and the best hearing aids ever made are now in production.

Military retirees – active duty, guard and reserve – with a hearing loss and/or tinnitus are now eligible to participate in a new Department of Defense-sponsored program called the Retiree-At-Cost Hearing Aid Program ( RACHAP).

Retired commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service are also eligible for this program at military treatment facilities under certain conditions.

RACHAP is designed to help retirees purchase hearing aids through an audiology clinic at a special government cost. The hearing aids, available through this program, have the same state-of-the art technologies available to active duty service members.

Dependents of military retirees are not eligible for this program.

Retirees can now buy hearing aids at a significant savings by using the program. For example, a set of hearing aids (one of the best available) that retails for about $5,000 costs a retiree as little as $755 or about 15 percent of the retail cost.

The hearing evaluation, hearing aid fitting and follow-up hearing aid checks are part of the retiree benefits and are available at no cost.

Not every medical facility is able to provide this program. Your closest clinic could be located hundreds of miles away from your home. The costs to travel for this program need to be considered versus the availability of an audiologist in your local community to assist you with repairs, warranty repairs, re-programming, etc.

Generally, at least two visits are required to get a hearing aid – one for a hearing evaluation and one for a fitting. It is recommended that you contact the appropriate military treatment facility before incurring significant travel expenses.

Travel and overnight expenses are not covered, and a facility may discontinue this program for any reason without notice.

The care of active duty military takes precedent at all military treatment facilities, so compare your travel costs and purchase savings to the costs of purchasing hearing aids privately in your local community.

Retirees may use any military treatment facility which will accept them; you don’t need to return to your service affiliation facility to participate.

For the most current listing of participating providers go to:

http://militaryaudiology.org/rachap-rhapp-locations/

This program is not a TRICARE benefit.

Also, retirees may be eligible for hearing aids from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and receive hearing aids from the VA free of charge. In most cases there is no cost to the patient.

An audiology department can provide more information about VA services, or you may contact the VA directly at 1-(877) 222-8387 or 1-(800) 827-1000.

Dependents of retirees are not eligible for hearing aid services from military treatment facilities (including RACHAP) or from TRICARE. The family member is eligible for hearing evaluations and the audiologist can provide more information about hearing aids or local providers.