Cochlear implant surgery

The cochlear implant is a surgical process in which a dynamic electronic device is inserted to replace the functions of the impaired inner ear. Thus this cochlear implant can be a magic cure for the people suffering from deafness, sensorineural hearing loss etc. But the main question is – Are all people able to afford the cochlear implant treatment? Well, most of the people may be unable to bear the cochlear implant cost.

According to The Times of India, Cochlear implant cost till recently was Rs 11 lakh per unit. Now the cochlear implant cost has crashed to 6 lakh per unit. With the surgery costing another Rs 60,000, the Centre has decided to give 6 lakh per implant.

Thus the cost is one of the most important factors to consider before getting ready for cochlear implant surgery. Let’s cover the various aspects of cochlear implant cost in detail.

If you need any assistance or have a question about Cochlear implant cost, you can consult our HearingSol experts with your problem, feel free to call us on 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

How much does cochlear implant cost?

A Cochlear implant cost depends on the variety of factors, including the duration and extent of a patient’s hearing loss prior to surgery. The average cost for the entire procedure, including the post-operative aural rehabilitation process, exceeds $40,000. The prominent factors included in the cochlear implant costs are :

  • Pre-Implant Evaluations
  • Cochlear Implant Surgery
  • Surgery Follow-Up and Device Activation
  • Aural Habilitation/Rehabilitation

However, cochlear implantation consistently ranks among the most cost-effective medical procedures ever reported, according to research completed by the Johns Hopkins University and the University of California-San Diego. These studies indicate 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. Following are the cost comparison in a different country:

CountryIndiaUSTurkeyUAE
Cochlear implant cost ($)($) 6000($) 80000($) 21,906($) 9600

In order to proceed for cochlear treatment, you must know about the different types of cost that are included in the cochlear implant. Let’s discuss the different costs related to the cochlear implant in detail.

Costs associated with the cochlear implant

The cost of the cochlear implant and its surgery is much higher in western countries as compared to the developing countries. In India, the cost of pre-surgery tests is about 1000$, its implantation cost is about 5000$ and cochlear implantation cost is about 15000$ to 20000$. Thus the cochlear implant cost in India is more economical as compared to UK or USA. Let’s have a look at the different types of costs that are included in the cochlear implant:

Typical Costs

The typical costs cover the insurance policy, costs related to the components of the treatment, clinic visits, post-surgical and out of pocket costs. Let’s have a look in detail.

Insurance cost

The patients without insurance have to bear the cost averages between $30,000 and $50,000. Some insurance companies do cover the cost of a cochlear implant; the average deductible in the U.S. is about $530 for an individual and $1,100 for a family, and copays range between $5 and $500 for individuals and families, depending upon the plan.

Additional costs related to the parts 

The patient has to bear the cost of external pieces of cochlear implants. A transmitter costs between $74 and $100; and a speech processor, which costs between $6,700 and $9,000.

The external pieces of the implant system are not included in the surgery fee. These devices include a transmitter and speech processor, which sit behind the ear like a hearing aid. The speech processor analyzes sound, while the transmitter sends a signal to the implant just under the skin.

A pre-surgery office visit costs

You may need to visit the clinic 3-4 times before the cochlear implant surgery. The pre-surgery office visits for the children can each cost between $240 and $570, but the national average is $450. For adults, the typical office visit costs between $160 and $385, but the national average is $216.

Office visits prior to the surgery should include hearing, speech and language evaluations and a CT scan. One visit should also provide the patient with an orientation, tutorial on how to use the implant and an explanation regarding what to expect after surgery.

Reprogramming visits 

After the surgery, there is a need to reprogram at least five times in the first year. Reprogramming visits cost $102 to $397 for children under age seven, and $88 to $525 for adults, depending upon the clinic and location.

Post-surgical Costs

After the surgery, post-surgical visits will include a check of the surgical site to make sure healing is going well. Visits will also include reprogramming the speech processor to suit how the sound is interpreted. In some cases a speech and language therapist will also see the patient, to help the patient learn to listen with the implant.

Total Cost

The total cost, including both preoperative and postoperative visits and therapy, can cost between $50,000 and $100,000 for those without health insurance, according to the University of Miami. With insurance the cost will range from $1,000 to $50,000, depending upon the deductible and maximum-out-of-pocket expense threshold. People with high-deductible and high maximum-out-of-pocket expense threshold health insurance plans will pay significantly more.

Thus the cochlear implant surgery includes the implant, operating room supplies and medications, recovery supplies and medications, physician’s fees and anesthesiologist fees.

Additional Costs

Cochlear implants are totally dependant on the battery for its operation and functioning. The types and sizes of the batteries differ with the implants. As different implants use the different types and sizes of the battery. “AA batteries”, typical hearing aid batteries and rechargeable batteries are the prominent source of the cochlear implant.

If they use “AA” batteries, it can cost between $.27 and $1 each. The typical hearing aid batteries can cost between $.70 and $3.95 each. Some of them may use rechargeable batteries that may cost even more. As it should be replaced annually.

Most cochlear implants come with a three-year warranty and it can cover any repairs and maintenance. According to the experts, if the patients think to purchase the extended warranty of cochlear implants, they have to bear the cost between $300 and $400 annually. As repair and maintenance costs without a warranty could be as high as the initial cost of the implant.

Well, cochlear implant surgery is costly. And one cannot think to get this treatment without an insurance and health policy. Do insurance company pay for a cochlear implant? Lets find the answer.

Do insurance companies cover cochlear implant cost?

As cochlear implantation is considered to ba standard treatment for sensorineural hearing loss, therefore CIs are covered by Medicaid or Medicare and other private and commercial insurers. In 2004, more than 90 percent of all medical insurers including the Veteran’s Administration, Medicaid, and Medicare covers the CIs. Also, Cochlear implant centers consider obtaining prior authorization from the insurance companies before going for cochlear implant surgery.

You can go through the below table in order to know the coverage type of insurance plans with regard to cochlear implant surgery.

Private InsuranceMedicareMedicaid
Cochlear ImplantsCovered by most insurance plansCoveredTypically covered
Cochlear™ Nucleus Hybrid ImplantMay be coveredMay be coveredMay be covered
Bone Conduction ImplantsCovered by most insurance plansCoveredTypically covered
Hearing aidsTypically not coveredNot covered by the lawTypically covered

As every health insurance plan is different. Thus the insurance coverage varies by insurance company, plan benefits, the type of hearing implant you may need. You need to discuss the following points with your insurance provider:

  • Hearing evaluation and test costs
  • Implant components costs (hearing implant and sound processor)
  • Implant procedure costs (hospital, physician, surgery, anesthesia)
  • Battery costs
  • Follow-up visits and care
  • Rehabilitation

Medicare

Under the statutory Medicare benefit, cochlear implants are covered for prosthetic devices. As per the National Coverage Determination, Medicare provides the insurance coverage for patients having sensorineural, moderate-to-profound hearing impairment in case they need cochlear implantation. The insurance benefit is also limited and depends on the test scores of equal to or less than 40 percent for sentence understanding in the best-aided listening conditions.

Medicare covers the cochlear implants for all the patients who fulfill all the coverage criteria without regard to whether the CIS is bilateral or unilateral. Also, the rules for medical reimbursement are extremely complex but still they can alter depending on the condition.

After completing your hearing evaluation, your audiologist will compare your results with the Medicare coverage criteria to determine your eligibility for coverage under Medicare. Medicaid/CHIP covers hearing services for beneficiaries under age 21, and adults may be covered in some states.

Besides, insurance coverage there are so many factors that you should consider before proceeding with the cochlear implant such as knowledge and details regarding surgery, devices and even doctors. Let’s go through the following points to be noted prior to the surgery.

Factors to consider before buying the cochlear implant

Pre-Implant Evaluations

You must get a hearing evaluation by a hearing health professional which specializes in hearing implant solutions. It is mandatory to know if you are eligible for a hearing implant before obtaining insurance approval. You should have complete knowledge regarding your hearing problem as well as procedures prior to the surgery.

Knowledge of health plan and insurance coverage

If you are preparing yourself for the cochlear implant surgery, you should know your health plan coverage and how to request and obtain insurance approval. Your hearing health professional will assist you in submitting the necessary paperwork.

The appropriate choice for the cochlear implants

Patients should have the complete knowledge of the manufacturers of cochlear implants like Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Corporation, and Med-El. They should get to know about each implant and request specific implant from the provider. So that they are unable to choose the appropriate services for them.

Queries related to the surgery

As a patient, you have the complete right to ask questions about the surgeon’s experience and qualifications before the surgery, either by setting up an appointment or through the primary care physician. Thus you should not hesitate to inquire about them. The cochlear implant surgery is performed by otolaryngologists. They are connected to a particular hospital. The patient should ask the list of questions maintained by the hearing clinic or hospitals before the surgery.

Programs available to assist you to bear cochlear implant cost

Some of the families and patients are unable to take advantage of insurance and health policy. As they are not able to understand them and unable to bear their cost. Thus the welfare programs assist them to pay the fee of cochlear implant treatment.

Gift of hearing foundation

The Gift of Hearing Foundation and the Listen-up web offers a host of resources and assistance for patients considering a cochlear implant. Therefore you should consider and take help in bearing the cost of the cochlear implant.

The Disabled Children’s Relief Fund and the Foundation for Sight and Sound too works with your cochlear implant center and assist the families with limited financial resources to bear the cochlear implant cost.

If you need any assistance or have a question about Cochlear implant cost, you can consult our HearingSol experts with your problem, feel free to call us on 1800-121-4408. We are always here to help you.

Read More :

Cochlear implant history

Is cochlear implant same as the hearing aid?

How to choose a mobile with suitable Telecoil for Cochlear Implanted?

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