The UFT Welfare Fund, which provides an array of supplemental health benefits to eligible UFT members, provides a hearing aid benefit of $1,000. The benefit provides one hearing aid every three years (counted from the date of your last purchase). The benefit includes a comprehensive audiological evaluation, an ear impression and the visits necessary for the proper fitting and use of the hearing aid.
To take advantage of this benefit, the first thing you should do is order a Hearing Aid Certificate. The fastest way to get a certificate is to go to the Welfare Fund website and request a certificate online for each family member in need of the service. You also can call the UFT Welfare Fund’s automated hotline at 212-539-0539.
You must pay for the full cost of the service upfront and then submit your bill and related forms to the Welfare Fund for reimbursement. You will be reimbursed up to $1,000.
You have the option of using any provider you choose, but be aware of the fees. It makes sense to shop around and compare prices before you buy.
The best way to save money is to use one of the Welfare Fund’s preferred providers, who have agreed to give a 25 percent discount to UFT members and their dependents.
The preferred provider list is available by calling the Welfare Fund hotline at 212-539-0539, or you can download the list from the Welfare Fund website by searching for “hearing aid preferred providers.”
Another discount option
As a UFT member, you can choose instead to use benefits from our affiliate, the New York State United Teachers. NYSUT offers a national network of 3,500 audiologists and ear, nose and throat physicians, called Ear Professionals International Corporation (EPIC), which negotiates reduced prices for all treatment protocols, including hearing devices. For more information, contact EPIC at 866-956-5400 with member benefits identifier code “NYSUTMBC.”
Using your hearing aid certificate
You cannot split the certificate by using it first for a checkup and then at a later date to purchase a hearing aid. The Welfare Fund recommends you use your medical benefits for a checkup or evaluation and use the certificate only when you are ready to purchase a hearing aid. That way, you’ll get the most value from the certificate.
Special coordination of benefits
If you are a UFT member married to, or in a domestic partnership with, another UFT member, you are entitled to a total of up to $2,000 for the hearing aid benefit, once every three years. This can be applied to the purchase of one or two hearing aids. Special coordination of benefits is an enhanced benefit that took effect on Jan. 1, 2010.
SHIP and hearing aids for retirees
As a service to retired UFT members, the UFT Welfare Fund also will process the hearing-aid reimbursement for retirees who are enrolled in the Supplemental Health Insurance Program (SHIP).