The UFT Welfare Fund offers three options for UFT-represented employees and their dependents to access its hearing aid benefit. With each option, you can purchase a hearing aid and receive reimbursement of up to $1,000. This benefit is available once every three years.
The Welfare Fund also administers an additional hearing aid benefit for retired members who have opted into the Supplemental Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Retirees who are enrolled in SHIP and are eligible to receive this additional benefit will have their SHIP claim processed at the same time that the Welfare Fund processes their hearing aid claim.
Members can expedite the process by using the online Hearing Aid Certificate Request Form or by emailing HealthBenefitHelp@uftwf.org. The certificate is also available by calling the Welfare Fund hotline at 212-539-0539. It is good for 90 days and can be reissued by the fund if it expires before use.
Here are the three ways that members and their dependents can use this hearing aid certificate:
Option 1 (In-network)
You can purchase the hearing aid from any participating UFT Welfare Fund hearing aid provider (a list is sent with the certificate and can also be found online). The fund’s participating providers have agreed to offer at least a 25% discount on the hearing aid as part of a complete audiological service provided at no additional charge. This service includes a comprehensive audiological evaluation, an ear impression and necessary visits for the proper fitting and use of the hearing aid.
Option 2 (EPIC)
As a UFT member, you can choose to use hearing aid benefits from the union’s state 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). This network negotiated reduced prices for all treatment protocols, including hearing devices. For more information, contact EPIC at 866-956-5400; your member benefits identifier code is NYSUTMBC.
Option 3 (Out-of-network)
If you do not wish to take advantage of the in-network discounts offered by the Welfare Fund or EPIC panelists, you may purchase a hearing aid from any other licensed hearing aid provider of your choosing. Even out of network, you will receive the applicable reimbursement benefits from the Welfare Fund (and if you are eligible, from SHIP).
Special Coordination of Benefits
Since the benefit is provided once every three years, members should use the hearing aid certificate only if they are actually purchasing hearing aids. If the certificate is used for an examination only (without a corresponding hearing aid purchase), then the service is considered completed and a new certificate cannot be used for three years.
Members who are married to, or a domestic partner of, another UFT member are eligible for Special Coordination of Benefits. This entitles the member to use two Welfare Fund hearing aid benefits simultaneously, one under their own record and one under their spouse/partner’s record.