Medicare won’t cover a Medical Alert system. Although, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover medical alert systems.
Medical alert systems can summon help quickly after a fall or medical emergency. These can be beneficial to a senior who lives alone or spends a large portion of the day alone.
Medicare Coverage for a Medical Alert System
Part B covers medical equipment that it classifies as “durable medical equipment,” but medical alert devices don’t fall into that category.
Those with Original Medicare or Medigap coverage will pay for the medical alert system out of pocket.
If you have Medicare Advantage, your plan may have coverage for medical alert systems. Contact your plan to find out about coverage.
Some Medicaid or low-income programs may assist with the costs of a Medical Alert System.
Medical Alert System: Who Needs One
Falls are a major problem for older adults. With age, balance and stability aren’t as good as they once were. Many older adults lack the strength to stop themselves from falling if they slip or trip.
A Fall can lead to broken bones, bruising, head injuries and muscle injuries. These injuries can mean hospitalization, surgery, and a lower quality of life.
Falling at home alone is dangerous, some can’t get up or get to a phone. You could lay on the floor for hours waiting for someone to notice that something is wrong.
This can be painful and traumatic, and it can also make your recovery more difficult. If you fall because of a stroke or other medical emergency, the delay in getting care can be life-threatening.
Falls aren’t the only reason to have a medical alert system. Medical alert systems include a wearable button that you can press if you have any type of medical emergency.
Most modern systems connect you with an operator who can call an ambulance or family members.
Buttons are usually worn as a pendant or on the wrist like a watch. Some are equipped with automatic fall detection sensors that will detect a fall and call for help even if you don’t press the button.
When you press the button, it communicates with your system’s base station, which then calls for help. Some base stations work with landline phones, while others use cellular connections.
There are mobile options that can travel around town with you; helping if you fall, get lost, or need roadside assistance. Some systems even aid with medication monitoring or daily check-ins.
The Cost of Health Alert Systems
Many companies offer medical alert systems, so it pays to shop around for the features that are important to you.
Depending on the company, you may pay for any or all the following:
- A one-time fee for the medical alert device, including the base station, call button and any additional accessories
- one-time activation fees
- A monthly fee for the medical alert service
- An additional fee for automatic fall monitoring
In general, you can expect to pay roughly $20-40 a month, on average, for a highly rated medical alert system.
Get Help Paying for a Medical Alert System
If you need a medical alert system but aren’t sure you can afford it, there are a few resources that may reduce the cost.
Those with Medicaid and Medicare; Medicaid may pay for your medical alert system, depending on the state you live in and your device. Your medical alert system provider or Medicaid office can help you find out about coverage.
If you’re planning to move an independent living or assisted the living community, the community may have its own alert system and may provide you with a wearable call button.
Discounts may be available through membership organizations such as AARP or veterans’ organizations. It’s important to have the right Medicare coverage, and MedicareFAQ can help you find it.
We research rates at the top insurance companies to find you the best policies at the best price. To get your free, no-obligation quote, just give us a call or fill out our online form.