Medical Alerts and Insurance: Does Insurance Cover Medical Alert Systems?
Medical alert systems are crucial to the health and well-being of millions of people. If you're shopping for one, you're probably asking yourself a very important question: Will my insurance cover the cost of a medical alert system?
Unfortunately, in most cases, it will not, but that doesn't mean all hope is lost. There are several discounts you can take advantage of as well as numerous affordable medical alert systems to choose from. And in some cases, your insurance might cover the cost of your system, including equipment, installation costs, and monthly fees. Let's take a closer look at insurance and medical alert systems.
Medical Alert Systems and Insurance
A senior's quality of life can be greatly enhanced with a medical alert system. It allows them to live at home with immediate access to medical intervention around the clock. When the medical alert device HELP button is pressed, a medical care team is notified. This care team usually has access to the senior's medical history, current and past medications, and other medical information. If needed, the medical care team can send emergency services. Many medical alert devices allow you to carry on a two-way conversation with a medical professional.
But the effectiveness of benefits of medical alert systems are rarely challenged. It's the cost of the systems that becomes an issue. The majority of insurance companies along with Medicare do not pay for medical alert systems. Occasionally, though, a senior may have a certain health condition that does merit the coverage of the cost of the system, so it's always important to check with your insurance provider.
Will Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Medical Alert Systems?
For those with long-term care insurance, the cost of a medical alert system is likely to be covered. You can contact your insurance provider to determine whether you qualify for reimbursement.
The goal of long-term care insurance is to help seniors as they age. Part of helping them is by covering the cost of home care services such as medical alert systems. Even if the full cost of your system isn't covered, having even a portion of it covered will be of the utmost help from a financial standpoint.
Medicare Insurance and Medical Alert Systems
The Kaiser Family Foundation says that roughly 57 million people were covered by Medicare in 2017. By March of 2018, this number was above 73.9 million. While Medicare itself doesn't cover the cost of a medical alert system, you may be able to tap into coverage through Medicare Advantage. Let's take a closer look.
When you sign up for Medicare Parts A and B, you will be given the option to sign up for Medicare Advantage. With Medicare Advantage, you will have both deductibles and copays, but you will receive various forms of coverage that aren't available through regular Medicare. Such coverages include things like dental, vision and hearing services. Some Medicare Advantage policies also directly cover the cost of a medical alert system.
It's important to note that coverage through Medicare Advantage varies from one state to the next. This is why you should always speak with a Medicare Advantage insurance specialist about whether your policy will cover a medical alert system. In 2017 and according to KFF, Medicare Advantage premiums were:
- Local PPOs: $55 per year
- Regional PPOs: $41 per year
- HMOs: $28 per year
- All Plans: $36 per year
There are also additional Medicare programs that often provide some type of reimbursement assistance for medical alert systems. With home and community-based services, you may qualify for reimbursement for some in home services, like medical alert systems. With consumer-directed services, you are given a certain amount of funds to be spent on certain health-related expenses. Some states allow for these funds to go toward the cost of a medical alert system
Another program is the Money Follows the Person program (MFP), which was designed specifically to cut down the dependence of institutionally-based services. In fact, in an attempt to keep you out of a nursing home, MFP often covers medical alert systems. Lastly are the Medicaid state plan personal care attendant programs, which according to some states, allows beneficiaries to receive reimbursement for medical alert systems.
What does all of this mean?
So, while Medicare itself does not cover medical alert systems, there are subprograms that may provide financial assistance.
Take Advantage of Discounts
If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a medical alert system, you will want to consider the numerous discounts available. Take for example if you are an AARP member. This membership will likely help you secure discounts that extremely cut down on your out-of-pocket expenses for a medical alert system.
Some brands of medical alert systems also provide their own discounts, especially around the holidays, like Black Friday and Christmas. In addition to lower monthly fees, you may can tap into free shipping and free installation discounts.
Always check with your insurance provider to see if a medical alert system is covered. If it’s not, make sure to check with your long-term care insurance provider, and also check the Internet for special discounts.