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.
How to Get Help with Medicare Coverage for Blood Pressure Monitors
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