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"Hear's" to Life!

News, Information and Ideas on how to deal with hearing loss in a hearing world. Plus a few other topics!

AARP tries to rip off yet another Senior Citizen!

hearing aid, Hearing Loss Association of America, Stories, Politics/Government

If you don't know about the AARP and the millions of dollars that they get via their side company, AARP Financial, you would be wise to check it out before sending your money in for a membership.  I received an email via HLAA's National office in Bethesday, MD yesterday and guess what one of the articles is going to be about in their Nov./Dec. 2009 Hearing Loss Magazine?

You guessed it.  AARP and the rollout of their newest program to help all of the Seniors that they supposedly advocate for.  AARP is now going to be hawking their latest insurance program for hearing aids.  They will deal only with Hear USA.  There are now 'stores' in New Jersey with many others opening up across the United States.  I wonder how much money will be going to AARP for this new business...

Here's an email that I got today from a gentleman down in Florida.  He's an engineer which means he knows a lot more about the workings of hearing aids than most.  With his permission, I am posting his story/experience here.  If any of you would like the latest AARP financial statement, just let me know and I'll post the link.  We are talking millions of dollars here that they are getting via their insurance business.  How can a Seniors Advocacy group honestly be on the Seniors' side when they are also in the Insurance business?  Remember, this is the group that is partly responsible for the 'donut' hole that you see in the Medicare Advantage Drug Program.  I think that it's time for all of us over the age of 50 to do a little more investigating into just where exactly our money is going. 

Have a great week!

OCT 28, 2009


This is true account of how not to buy hearing aids and how to buy hearing aids.  It further is a story about how AARP has partnered with certain companies ostensibly to benefit seniors, but I bet if it were possible to look into it very deeply we would see money changing hands.  All of this to the determent of the very people that AARP purports to stand for!

Further it is a commentary on AARP in general and how they are NOT helping seniors!

Bottom line if AARP was really helping seniors they would simply tell them to “go to Costco” for hearing aids. 

Read on.

It was the middle of 2009, I was turning 70 and decided that it was time I improved my hearing.  As a shopper, engineer and all round cheap guy I started searching for the deals on aids.

I am on Medicare and a member of Humana for the extended coverage ($75 per month or so), Humana is good, but they also have partnered with other companies, you will see this later.

First stop the Internet to research aids and find out about the latest technology (engineer, remember).  The best I found at the time was Rexton Cobalt 16, great ratings, Bluetooth, all the toys.

In comes HearUSA, would you know that they represent Rexton and they work with Humana, so my first testing was free, thanks to Humana.   Big hearing loss, 65% in right somewhat less in left.  Need aids.

Now the fun begins, was told by HearUS that AARP had a real deal coming the first of October, “really big” discounts on products from HearUS.  Humana also would contribute $500 per aid each year, what a deal I was going to get almost “free” aids.

Went home all happy, again turned to the Internet.  Found Rexton Cobalt 16 for $2500 per pair with all the toys, direct from a hearing aid supplier up North, with free fitting, programming, etc.  In fact several EBay suppliers had them for near or at this price.   Maybe a bit of a problem buying something that may need service from far away, but at least you now know the real costs.

Armed with this information and elated that AARP was going to give me a “really big discount” and Humana was going to kick in another $1000, off to HearUS I went.

Guess what, with the AARP discount and the Humana $1000, HearUSA wanted right at $5000!  So much for helping seniors!

During my Internet searching I heard much about the deals at Costco for hearing aids.  Many blogs praising the service and prices at Costco.

So my next visit is to Costco, where I used to be a member, so I want in on a day pass, and right in the display case is Rexton Cobalt 16 with a $1995 price tag!  Let me see, by the time you get two and all the toys (remember I am an engineer!) that’s about $2500, fully half the so called AARP deal, again so much for being a seniors advocate.

Further Costco has the Bernafon Verite at the same price and even greater technology.  Guess where I bought?  Guess what I bought?

The purpose of me telling this story is threefold.  First I truly do want to embarrass AARP and prove that they are more interested in some political agenda.

Second, I want seniors to know that they are getting screwed by AARP and HearUSA and to a degree Humana.  Humana treats me great with all medical issues, but they just should drop out of the hearing business if they cannot give the $1000 direct to me, no matter where I buy my aids.   Again their $1000 only goes to HearUSA, what is wrong with this picture?

If I had gotten the $1000 my aids would have cost less than $1500. Now that would be a real deal and that would really be helping seniors.

Thirdly, I want seniors to get up in arms about this type of stuff, do your home work, don’t believe “I am from the government, I am here to help”, because they are not and neither is AARP.  Join ASA!

I am sending this direct to AARP and all the national news media, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and of course FOX, let’s see who has what it takes to report this.  If you count the 1000’s of seniors buying this stuff at HearUSA this is worth an investigation!


Anyone wants me, my information is below, and this is not an anonymous story!

Bruce Cramer 

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