How Much Does a Cochlear Implant Cost?
A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to the hearing impaired. Also called a bionic ear, a cochlear implant helps severely deaf people to hear speech and environmental sounds. The quality of sound that is allowed by the implant is less than that of natural hearing since the amount of information is received and processed by the brain. Today, thousands of people have been helped by cochlear implants, and the statistics of people whose lives were changed because of the procedure is indeed increasing.
How much does it cost?
- The prices for cochlear implants vary largely as there are different costs associated with the procedure. In an article at Miami.edu, it was revealed that the cost for the implant may total from $50,000 to $100,000, depending on a number of medical and non-medical factors associated with it.
- Asha.org also stated that there is a difficulty naming the exact cost for the implant as there are a number of factors to be considered, one of which is the post-operative aural rehabilitation process. However, one thing is certain: the implant and other inclusions exceed $40,000.
- The American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery supports the aforementioned price ranges. On its website, it was stated that the total cost of a cochlear implant, including evaluation, surgery, device, and rehabilitation can cost as much as $100,000.
- So as we can see, the procedure will probably be between $40,000 and $125,000.
- Over the years, health coverage has greatly improved for this procedure. If you do have a health insurance policy, be sure to ask them about what is going to be covered. You may find that a portion of the procedure can be covered. For those that do not have health insurance, consider using services such as eHealthInsurance.com to find a policy in your area.
What is going to be included?
- As implied, the payment for the cochlear implants is not only solely for the implant alone. The cost includes preoperative, surgical, postoperative programming and ongoing expenses, as well as the cost of any necessary rehabilitation.
- Most implant external devices are warranted for a period of three years. However, the warranties do not include cables and (of course) batteries which must be purchased separately. After three years, the person must purchase an extended maintenance contract from the manufacturer. Although this is optional, this is strongly recommended.
- The parts of the cochlear implant include a microphone, a speech processor, a transmitter and receiver/stimulator, and an electrode array. Each part has a specific function and works together with the other parts to help the person with the implant hear clearly. For specific functions, you can check out the official site of American Academy of Otolaryngology.
What are the extra costs?
- Insurance and medical contract extension. As mentioned, there will be a three-year warranty for the implant. Most medical experts suggest that the person needs to extend the warranty and maintenance contract from the manufacturer. Of course, this will cost you money. The Cochlear implant center of University of Miami School of Medicine stated that most contracts are priced at $300 to $400 per year. These types of items represent the ongoing costs associated with cochlear implantation over the long term.
Factors that influence the price:
- The length of time the person has been deaf
- The number of surviving auditory nerve fibers the ear has
- Location or the exact hospital/clinic where the implant surgery will take place
Questions to ask:
- Am I a good candidate for a cochlear implant surgery? If not, what are my other options?
- Will my insurance company cover the costs of the implant?
- How long will the surgery take? What about the rehabilitation process?
Tips to know:
- A particular study done by the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California-San Diego indicated that cochlear implantation can result in a net savings of more than $53,000 per child versus the more than $1 million average expected lifetime cost of a child who has profound hearing loss prior to language development.
- Medicare, TRICARE, the Veteran’s Administration, and all other federal health plans provide benefits for all cochlear implant services.
- If you are considering the implant, make sure that you are provided with a sufficient pre- and postoperative education on what to expect from the cochlear implant surgeons you are considering.
How can I save money?
- Have your medical insurance cover the expenses for the implant. Gone were the days when medical procedures like this are not covered by insurance companies. The federal law requires that all state Medicaid agencies must provide coverage for cochlear implants for children under 21 years old, and most provide benefits for adults as well.
- Calculate the costs. It is seemingly cheaper to do the procedure outside the country. Medical tourism is in bloom right now and countries such as India, Mexico and Germany offer prices for major surgeries and implants much lower compared to US hospitals.