Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hearing aids: the competition Authority wants to reduce their cost

Illustration of a hearing aid. – GILE/SIPA

HEALTH the competition Authority has conducted a sector survey of hearing care professionals…

Hear, won’t he become a law more accessible ? In France, at least a million people would hope. All those who are affected by hearing impairment and who are condemned, without money, to remain in silence.

Because the price of hearing aids is extremely high : it is, on average, around € 1 500 for the device, that is 3 000 euros, to equip the two ears. This treatment is especially very poorly supported : the social Security pays for only 120 euro per unit – 240 euros for two prostheses – and the mutual and complementary health, around 400 euros – 800 euros for two prostheses. The remaining burden reached 1 000 euros for one ear and 2 000 euros for the two*.

A follow-up charged very expensive

” It is a brake on financial very important, ” says Isabelle de Silva, the president of the competition Authority. Following a study conducted by the UFC-que Choose, this institution has decided to carry out its own survey on the topic. With a will – that of understanding why the hearing aid is so expensive – and a goal – that of lessening the final cost for the patient.

And the competition Authority has found two solutions to reduce this cost. Primo : decouple the invoice of hearing. Because, at the present time, when a patient team, he bought not only the camera (from 300 to 500 euros), but also the provision of immediate adaptation and adjustments of the first year, as well as the follow-up to the five or six following years – the average life of the prosthesis. However, this follow-up is on average charged on the basis of 18 to 20 hours of delivery, then it represents in fact around 6 to 9 hours per patient.

>> also read : Prices of hearing aids: The controversy begins to make a noise

the competition Authority therefore proposes that the patient can, in a first time, buying only the device and the adjustment of the first year and then, in a second time, the provision of follow-up. He would also be able, in case of dissatisfaction, change of hearing, something that is impossible at the present time. “This decoupling already exists in the United States or Japan, it could very well be proposed in France and it would reduce the cost to the patient,” says Frederic Garron, rapporteur of the investigation.

Not enough young people trained

The second proposal of the competition Authority is the suppression of the “numerus clausus” established by the public authorities in 2015. It has limited the number of students hearing graduates each year, “this is not justified in no way,” says Isabelle de Silva.

first Of all, because this market is growing : because of the aging of the population, it grew by 6 % per year with peaks of 9 % as was the case in 2015. In the end, because of the numerus clausus, “the sales increase faster than the workforce,” says the competition Authority.

moreover, new brands that thrive on this market of the hearing aid with the ambition of breaking down the costs – it is mainly a matter of optical chains such as Krys, Optical center, or even Alain Afflelou – claim to not be able to recruit, due to lack of candidates.

And if France trains about 200 students each year, it attracts each year around twenty of the graduates are foreign – mainly from Spain and Belgium who come to install. Proof, according to the competition Authority, that the French schools could train more professionals – it is campaigning for an increase of at least 50 % of staff, 100 students per year.

pay (very) high

For the competition Authority, increase the number of professionals while decoupling their services would enhance competition in a market that is very protected – a hearing care professional, a beginner is, on average, recruited to 4500 euros gross per month, which is 2 700 euros net, and his salary is rapidly evolving into the 5 000 to 7 000 euro gross (3 800 to 5 400 euros net). Of remuneration which are, insists the Authority, above those of many doctors, the general practitioners, so that the duration of studies is much lower (3 years for a hearing).

>> also read : When HOMELESS deaf found the pleasure of listening to

If the recommendations of the competition Authority are only advisory, it is hoped that the government will seize. Because the under-equipment of the French, who hits obviously the hearing impaired the most modest, is not without consequence for the community.

hearing disorders increase the risk of falls, depression and cognitive decline (Alzheimer’s, memory loss, etc)… which leads to medical expenses, the repayment of which is this time better supported… But supported by all citizens.

*For persons over the age of 20. For most young people, the situation is very different : the support by the social Security system is much more consistent and the remaining burden is almost nil.

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