Rebates & Insurance
1. Net Medical Expenses Tax Offset Phase Out
On 14th May 2013, the government announced in the 2013-14 Budget that it will phase our the net medical expenses tax offset. In the interim the ATO has made it harder to access rebates. Before May 2013, you were eligible for a 20% tax offet when you spent over $2120. Now that still apllies but is now means tested. This tax offset for hearing aids only applies if you earn less than $84,000 as a single person or less than $164,000 as a family. If you earn over these amounts, the rebate reduces to 10% and the expenditure threshold increases to $5000. Therefore, earning over $84,000 as a single person or $168,000 as a family means you are eligible for a 10% rebate after your expenditure exceeds $5000
2. Private Health Insurance
Most funds contribute towards the costs associated with the purchase of hearing instruments and sometimes on the costs of professional consultation fees, depending on the level of cover that you have. At the Hearing Studio we have a unique-to-the-industry means of transparent billing. We ‘unbundle’ your account. This means that we clearly show the price of each item and the price of each consultation fee, allowing you to seek a claim for reimbursement for each.
Check Your Australian Health Insurance Fund Rebate Details for hearing aids with our free download at the bottom of this page.
3. Insure Your Hearing Aids
Expensive items are worth insuring, so get in touch with your household contents insurer and add them to your policy. Normally, this is done at no charge and we can provide you with the valuation paperwork if required.
Hearing Aid Buyer Tips
1. Don’t Obssess over More Channels.
A competent clinician knows how to design the best possible solution with products that you can afford. Too often we find people are determined to get more channels thinking that this some how guarantees a better solution. This is not true. There are many factors involved in achieving an optimal solution. First step: find an Audiologist you like and trust and who gaurantees their aibility to solve the issues you’re having.
2. Confusing Terminology
The hearing industry is very good at creating confusing terminology. Get clarification. Feel free to call us and we’ll gladly help explain whether a particular feature is necessary for you. For example, do you need to buy bluetooth or wireless hearing aids? What are the advantages and disadvantages relating to you
3. Risks and Pitfalls of Buying Hearing Aids Online
There are plenty. You will buy a product cheaper but will you be buying an actual hearing solution? Buying online can be dangerous so please see an Audiologist before if/you do so. All products leave the factory at maximum settings ie. at high power output. An Audiologist is the only trained specialist to assess your hearing accurately and design the technology to suit your requirements. Here are some other considerations;
- You are responsible for the outcome and for not overamplifying an already impaired ear
- Warranties for products are not automatically honoured by manufacturers
- By not seeing a professional, underlying health issues such as treatable tumours, balance disorders, osteoms etc will go undiagnosed
- Servicing, repairs and adjustments may not be possible or take a very long time
- And do you know that you are actually getting the product you have paid for?
There is no question that professionally fitted hearing technology is not a small investment for most people. Our advice is to find a competent clinician that you trust, who gaurantees their workmanship and whose rates are reasonable. We’re happy to discuss your solution with you.
4. Conflicts of Interest
These exist in many industries; hearing included. Much of the Australian market is vertically integrated (clinics are owned by manufacturers who employ Audiologists to fit their technologies) and there are several chains that have potential conflicts of interest, being owned by lawyers who deal in WorkSafe claims, or ENT’s who refer to their own Audiology practice (the Royal Australasian College of Physicians is currently reviewing concerns over ethical practice, Sept 2013). If you have any concerns, ask your Audiologist or contact the Australian Association for Audiologists in Private Practice to find an independent clinic near you.
5. WorkSafe can provide free or subsidised Hearing Services and Products
Hearing Studio are one of few Approved WorkSafe Registered Providers in Melbourne. If you have worked in noisy conditions and lost all or part of your hearing, you may be entitled to receive a full range of hearing services. Hearing Studio Melbourne is accredited to provide fully subsidised free hearing tests, all advanced hearing aids, accessories, batteries and repairs at no cost for eligible clients under the WorkSafe Hearing Program.
6. Commonwealth Government – Office of Hearing Services (OHS)
Hearing Studio is accredited by the scheme to provide hearing services and subsidised hearing aids to eligible Pensioners and Veterans but we do not provide those services here. Instead our Principal Audiologist Rachel Deane is an executive councillor for the Australian Association for Audiologists in Private Practice will refer you to a reputable colleague in your local area. This way, you will be assured of seeing a qualified professional who can discuss all of your entitlements under the OHS scheme.