Departments: Letters to the Editor
With all due respect, your recent article about Costco and unbundling did not mention what I believe is the most relevant issue. (HJ 2012;64:24; http://bit.ly/HJcostco.) Costco is selling brand-name hearing aids for the same price (or less) than many of us pay wholesale for them from the manufacturer.
I am an independent hearing aid specialist with minimum overhead, not an audiologist with a fancy office and staff, so perhaps my prices are lower than average. However, if Costco is purchasing their aids for the same price that the Veterans Administration pays (the price of which I have seen), they are making more gross profit than I am when I sell a pair of hearing aids!
Between that and Internet sales, independent fitters are being driven from the profession. Does it really cost $600 or more for the manufacturer to ship a hearing aid to me versus to Costco or the VA?
Let's even the playing field a little, and I will give Costco a run for their money any day of the week, without unbundling!
Rick Rochon, HAS-P
The May editorial, “Be Careful What You Wish For,” contained several editing errors. It incorrectly referred to University HealthSystem Consortium instead of United Healthcare, and it implied that ASHA's ban against dispensing occurred after 1973 when it occurred 10 years earlier. The article also should have stated that knowledgeable hearing professionals are essential to the fitting process, not that the hearing professional should be knowledgeable about the fitting process. A corrected version of the article is available in the May issue on thehearingjournal.com. The Hearing Journal apologizes for the errors.