Many seniors rely on Life Alert or some other medical alert device for peace of mind, especially when they live alone in their own homes. With most seniors on Medicare for their health care coverage, many of them wonder whether Medicare will cover Life Alert or any other medical alert device. Coverage varies between different Medicare plans, and we will give you all the details you need to know about those differences. Whether or not a device is covered might depend on whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. Keep reading to learn all the details!
Does Medicare Cover Life Alert?
No, Original Medicare does not cover Life Alert. In fact, there are no medical alert systems covered by Medicare. Original Medicare coverage consists of Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Part A coverage includes your Medicare hospital insurance. Medicare Part A covers hospital stays, inpatient care, and care in skilled nursing facilities. Part A does not cover medical alert systems. Medicare Part B is more like traditional health insurance coverage. Part B covers doctor office visits, outpatient care, and preventive care like wellness visits and some vaccines. Medicare Part B also covers durable medical equipment.
Many people might think that a medical alert device would be considered durable medical equipment. While it is a type of medical equipment, it is not covered by Medicare Part B. The reason for this is that a medical alert device does not provide a medically necessary service. For example, consider a wheelchair or glucose monitor. Those types of devices are medically necessary for the people who need them. However, medical alert devices are optional. Even though they can be great tools for fall detection and provide peace of mind to loved ones, they are not medically necessary. Therefore, Medicare will not cover them.
Other Coverage Options For Medical Alert Devices
So, if Original Medicare doesn’t cover medical alert devices, what other options do you have for coverage? Thankfully, there are some other options out there. Here are some other types of insurance that you might have and how they handle coverage for these devices.
— Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are Medicare plans that are managed by private insurance companies. These companies must provide at least the same minimum level of coverage as original Medicare, but many of the plans include additional benefits beyond traditional Medicare. These additional benefits might include dental coverage, vision coverage, gym memberships, or coverage for medical alert devices and personal emergency response systems (PERS). You should check the specifics of your plan to determine whether or not you have coverage for these devices. Refer to your plan’s documentation or contact your insurance company to find the details of this coverage. While some Part C plans might cover these devices, Medicare supplement insurance will not cover the cost of medical alert devices since they are not covered by Original Medicare.
— Private Insurance Plans
Some people choose to get health coverage through private insurance plans, or you might still be covered by a group health plan through your employer. Coverage for alert devices varies from plan to plan in this case. Your insurance company will determine whether or not these devices are covered as part of your plan, and you should refer to your plan documentation for specifics. You should be aware that many long-term care insurance policies offer coverage for medical alert systems. If you need assistance finding a plan that covers these devices, you should contact a licensed insurance agent in your local area.
— Special Programs For Seniors
Even if you don’t have insurance that covers Life Alert, you might be able to take advantage of some special programs for seniors that can help pay for these devices. There are programs available for veterans to help pay for these devices, and even programs available for AARP members to help cover the costs. You can contact some of the medical alert device companies directly to get assistance with determining who may offer discounts or other payment assistance programs outside of health insurance plans. Some community-based services in your area might also offer assistance.
Medicaid Coverage Of Life Alert
Medicaid is designed to help low-income families by providing health care coverage at little or no cost. The Medicaid program is jointly funded by the state and federal governments. For that reason, Medicaid coverage details vary from state to state. For example, some states provide Medicaid coverage for dental services for adults, while others do not. The same is true when it comes to medical alert devices. Some states may provide benefits for these devices, while other states do not.
The best way to determine whether or not the device will be covered by Medicaid is to contact your state Medicaid office. You can also contact the insurance company listed on your Medicaid ID card. You will find the name of the insurance provider that administers your plan on your card, and they can provide additional details about your coverage, such as whether or not they will cover Life Alert or other monitoring devices.
How Much Does A Medical Alert Device Cost?
Many people wonder, ”How much is Life Alert?” Many medical device alert companies do not charge a fee for the Life Alert bracelet or the Life Alert necklace itself. However, they charge a monthly fee for monitoring services. This fee ranges anywhere from $20 to $60 per month, depending on the type of service you need. Many devices also require payment of a one-time activation fee at the time of your enrollment, and this fee often ranges from $50 to $100. In addition, you must typically pay an additional fee for automatic fall detection each month. Many caregivers and family members want their loved ones to have this capability, so you can see where the cost of a medical alert system could get close to $100 per month for all these services.
Without the monitoring services mentioned above, the device would not be the lifeline or medical guardian that you need it to be. When you press the help button, you need someone on the other end to answer your call. The monitoring service is what provides the ability to contact someone in the event of a medical emergency. Upon pressing the help button, you will be connected with an agent in a call center managed by the medical alert company. Finally, some devices also require that you have a landline telephone in your home for connectivity. This can add another $20 to $40 per month in expenses.
Low-Cost Medical Alert Options
If your insurance plan does not cover any medical alert devices, you might be wondering what low-cost options are available for older adults? One Call Alert and Bay Alarm Medical are two of the lowest-cost options on the market today. You can get these services for as low as $20 per month, and you can even get a price lock guarantee for an additional $5 per month. This means that the price will not increase for as long as you keep the service. In addition to basic services, these providers also offer premium services that include automatic fall detection. Finally, if you are not receiving home care but are on the go, these providers can include equipment that will allow your device to work regardless of where you travel. There is an additional fee for this equipment, but it can be a great option for older adults who frequently travel.
The Bottom Line
So, is the Life Alert cost covered by Medicare? No, Original Medicare does not provide coverage for medical alert devices, although some Medicare Advantage plans do provide this benefit. In addition, there are many private programs available that can assist you with the cost of a medical alert device. The cost of these devices can range anywhere from $20 to $60 per month, with advanced features costing even more. If you have a loved one who lives alone, you should consider all your options for getting financial help to pay for Life Alert or another similar device.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does AARP cover Life Alert?
AARP does not cover the cost of Life Alert. However, AARP members can often receive discounts on Life Alert and other medical alert devices. You could contact the device company to determine what discounts might be available with your AARP membership. In addition, there are community-based services and other programs available that can help cover these costs for people who need a medical alert system.
What are the benefits of Life Alert?
The biggest benefit of Life Alert is the fact that it acts as a lifeline to help in the event of a medical emergency. Simply press the help button, and you will be connected to a representative in a call center who can help you get medical assistance. Some services also include automatic fall detection. If you fall while wearing the device, the service will automatically contact you to determine whether you need help. If you do not respond, the service can dispatch medical personnel to your home to help you.
Does medical insurance pay for Life Alert?
Some medical insurance plans pay for Life Alert, while others do not. Whether or not these devices are covered depends on the specific coverage details of your plan. You should refer to your plan’s documentation to determine whether or not it will pay for Life Alert. If you cannot get the details you need from the plan documentation, then you can always call your insurance company and ask. A representative can walk you through your coverage details and inform you whether or not Life Alert would be covered.