Microsoft is making a major push into the healthcare market, announcing it will offer an affordable VA hearing aide for $1,000.
The company says the new program, which will be available to all current and former VA employees, is designed to lower the cost of purchasing a new hearing aid.
VA hearing aids cost between $15,000 and $20,000, while the new device, which costs $1 to $2,000 cheaper, will be $3,000 or less.
The program is part of a larger effort by Microsoft to provide more affordable products and services for veterans.
Last year, Microsoft launched the VA Access program, in which VA hospitals and medical centers offer discounts on health care services.
VA health care costs have grown faster than inflation since the recession, which is partially attributed to the rising cost of healthcare.
Microsoft has also made a push into mobile technology, introducing the Microsoft Continuum mobile experience, which allows users to use their PC to work on other Windows devices.
Microsoft is also launching its Surface tablet with a “new Microsoft-designed Windows 10” that includes a variety of new features, including Cortana, a personal assistant that will offer up-to-the-minute information.
Microsoft said the VA Hearing Aid program will offer more affordable options for veterans, as well as more services and products.
“Veterans are one of the fastest-growing segments of the US population, and this is the first of many investments we will make to help them access affordable care,” said Julie Gerber, Microsoft’s VP of public policy and innovation, in a statement.
“We’re making a difference by offering a truly affordable alternative to the hearing aid market, and we are excited to offer veterans and their families access to a truly innovative and affordable device for hearing health care.
We look forward to working with VA to ensure that veterans and veterans’ families have access to affordable, safe and effective healthcare.”
Microsoft will launch the VA Audio Access program in early 2017, as part of its broader effort to provide access to new technologies and services to veterans and military families.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has previously said that Microsoft is working on an “unprecedented” number of innovations to help veterans and the military access care.