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The Biden Move to Allow Hearing Aids to Be Sold Over-the-Counter is Now Saving Americans Thousands

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Mark Paton

Four years after Congress passed bipartisan legislation requiring the FDA to allow over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, President Biden issued an Executive kick-in-the-butt Order that gave them 120 days to act.

Now, this new category of OTC hearing aids, are enabling consumers with mild to moderate hearing impairment to purchase them directly from stores or online retailers without the need for a medical exam, prescription, or a fitting adjustment by an audiologist.

This has lowered the cost of hearings aids, furthering the Administration’s goal of expanding access to health care at lower prices for the American public. It is also designed to foster innovation and competition in the hearing aid technology marketplace.

The FDA estimated that the new rule could lower average costs by as much as $3,000 per pair.

You can now find a range of prices at retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, Hy-Vee, and Walmart. Best Buy will offer nearly 20 hearing devices online and at nearly 300 stores by the end of the month for as low as $200, reports The Hill.

Walgreens started selling them in stores and online for $799 a pair, while Walmart now carries them in 1,000 of their in-store vision centers—and at 474 Sam’s Club locations—for between $199 and $999 per pair.

RELATED: MIT Researchers Reverse Hearing Loss By Regenerating Inner Ear Hair Growth

Please note that the OTC category applies to only ‘air-conduction’ hearing aids intended for people 18 years of age and older with mild to moderate hearing impairment, and devices intended for severe hearing impairment or users younger than age 18 still require a prescription.

Other medical cost improvements from Biden

The Inflation Reduction Act, which Democrats passed this year, also tackles health costs. It allows Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs for the first time ever.

The legislation lowers seniors’ drug prices, and caps those out-of-pocket expenses at $2,000 per year.

RELATED: Researchers Discover Proteins That Could Soon Restore Damaged Hearing and Irreversible Deafness

Starting this January, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will also begin to see the benefits of these cost-saving measures:

  • A month’s supply of insulin will be capped at $35 starting on January 1.
  • Medicare beneficiaries will pay $0 out of pocket for recommended adult vaccines covered by their Part D plan, including the shingles vaccine – which costs seniors up to $200.
  • Prescription drug companies that try to raise their prices faster than inflation will be required to pay Medicare a rebate.

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