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Medicare Coverage for Blood Pressure Monitors


Medicare coverage for home blood pressure monitors is available under certain conditions. For example, if you’re undergoing home kidney dialysis. In some scenarios, Medicare will pay for the temporary use of a different kind of blood pressure device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. Below we’ll go over the details of coverage, cost, and guidelines for Medicare coverage on blood pressure monitors.

Does Medicare Cover Blood Pressure Monitors?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common cardiovascular disease, affecting almost half of American adults. If you have high blood pressure, a doctor may recommend a home blood pressure monitor.

Home monitors allow you to check your blood pressure, alerting you to sudden changes that might indicate a heart attack or stroke. They may help your doctor see whether your medications are effective. The American Heart Association recommends home blood pressure monitors for people with hypertension, but Medicare doesn’t cover them.

There are only two specific situations where you might have Medicare coverage for home blood pressure monitoring:

  • If your doctor orders ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • If you get kidney dialysis at home.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor Rental

The blood pressure reading at your doctor’s office may not reflect your usual blood pressure.  Some people have high readings or “white coat hypertension” because they’re nervous.

Others have “masked hypertension” or lower than usual readings at a doctor’s office. If your doctor suspects either issue, Part B will pay for once-a-year monitoring with an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.

Your provider will give you the ambulatory monitor and explain its use. You’ll wear it for 24 hours. During this time, the monitor will take a series of blood pressure readings.

After 24 hours, you’ll return the monitor.  By looking at your blood pressure throughout the day, your doctor can more accurately diagnose hypertension and prescribe a treatment plan.

Blood Pressure Monitors for Dialysis Patients

If you have end-stage renal disease and are undergoing dialysis treatments at home, Medicare will pay for your home dialysis equipment and supplies.

Supplies for home use fall under Part B. You may pay a deductible and coinsurance when you get a blood pressure monitor. Unless you have a Medigap plan.

How Much Does a Blood Pressure Monitor Cost With and Without Supplemental Insurance?

Part B covers ambulatory blood pressure monitors. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, your costs will be lower. Other types of home blood pressure monitors aren’t covered by Medicare or by Medicare Supplement policies.

If you have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends an automatic monitor that uses a cuff around your bicep–similar to the device in a doctor’s office.

Wrist and finger monitors are also available, but they aren’t as reliable. You can expect to pay around $25-35 for a monitor that features an arm cuff and a digital reading. Smart monitors that can store data or synch with phones and smartwatches are likely to cost around $80-$100.

Does Medicare Offer Free Blood Pressure Monitors?

Medicare doesn’t provide free home blood pressure monitors, but there are several ways to check your blood pressure for free.

Many pharmacies have public blood pressure machines that you can use free of charge. But, these machines may not always provide accurate readings, especially if the cuff does not fit your arm.

If you live in a senior housing community with a nurse on staff, find out if the nurse can perform blood pressure checks. If you qualify for Medicaid, it may pay for a home blood pressure monitor in some states.

In addition, some apps that claim to monitor your blood pressure. Experts caution that apps aren’t well tested and may not be accurate.

Will Part C Cover Blood Pressure Monitors?

Advantage plans must cover the same services as Medicare. So, all Advantage plans cover ambulatory blood pressure monitors and home monitors for dialysis patients.

But, your cost may be different from Medicare Advantage than with Medicare. If you have Medicare Advantage, contact your plan to see about blood pressure monitors.

FAQs

Does Medicare cover home blood, pressure monitors?
Medicare doesn’t cover home blood pressure monitors unless you are receiving home kidney dialysis. But, if you own a home blood pressure monitor, Medicare will cover some services related to its use. Your provider may calibrate the monitor, explain its use, review your home blood pressure readings, and set up a treatment plan.
Does Medicare cover blood pressure cuffs?
Medicare covers health aids like walkers and oxygen tanks as part of its durable medical equipment coverage. But, blood pressure cuffs aren’t considered durable medical equipment, and therefore Medicare doesn’t cover them.
Can I get a blood pressure monitor on a prescription?
Anyone can buy a home blood pressure monitor at a pharmacy or big box store. You can also order one online. You don’t need a prescription. Because blood pressure monitors are sold over-the-counter, Medicare prescription drug plans don’t cover them.

How to Get Help with Medicare Coverage for Blood Pressure Monitors

If you have high blood pressure, Atrial Fibrillation, or other cardiovascular issues, it's important to stay on top of your health. Medicare isn't free and if it's your only insurance, doctor visits can get costly.

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Lindsay Malzone

Lindsay Malzone is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ. She has been working in the Medicare industry since 2017. She is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare. You can also find her over on our Medicare Channel on YouTube as well as contributing to our Medicare Community on Facebook.

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