Medical Alert Systems Covered by Medicare: Does Medicare Pay?
Medical alert systems can provide an added layer of security for seniors whether they are home or on the go. With a medical alert system, a signal can be transmitted to a call center where emergency help can then be dispatched.
There are many different medical alert systems on the market. From ones that can be worn around the neck or wrist, to ones with fall detection that allow for a call to be transmitted even when a help button isn’t pressed, there is something for everyone. For those who like tech-savvy products, there are even smartwatches that serve as medical alert systems and don’t even look like medical alert systems.
Since technology and equipment differ with each type of system, so does the cost. Some systems require you to pay the cost of the device plus a monthly service plan, while others incorporate the price of the equipment into the monthly plans. Regardless, it is an added expense that many seniors may look to get covered by Medicare. But, it may not be that easy.
Medicare and Medical Alert Systems
Because Medicare does cover many pieces of durable medical equipment, people view medical alert systems as falling under that category. But, original Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover medical alert systems.
That doesn’t mean that seniors can’t still try to get coverage. If you receive your benefits through a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may be able to get a medical alert system covered under that plan if you need the device for health reasons.
Another way to get some help with paying for a medical alert system is to look into coverage provided by your Medicare supplement plan, if you have one. You may be able to get a discount for a medical alert system through your supplement plan. Since all supplement plans are different, the best thing to do is to call your insurer to find out what discounts may be available.
If you’re unable to get any discounts from your Medicare supplement plans, you can also look to see if you’re able to save money through membership of certain groups. AAA and AARP sometimes offer discounts for certain medical alert systems. If you’re a veteran, you can also see if you are eligible for a discount or coverage through your veterans’ benefits.
Since medical alert systems can save lives, many seniors will look for the least expensive system if they can’t get coverage through an insurance plan. There are many low-cost systems that provide basic service and coverage.
If you are considering low-cost options, you may want to consider the following companies and plans:
1. Medical Guardian
Medical Guardian offers a simple plan starting at $29.95/month. The Classic Guardian option comes with a landline based medical alert unit with a 1,300 foot range & 32-hour backup battery. It is a landline based system with a paired pendant. The pendant is water resistant and supports fall detection.
MobileHelp is another low-cost option. The least expensive plan at $19.95/month uses a cellular network, as do all of the MobileHelp plans. The Classic Plan includes a pendant with one help button and a monitoring base. Equipment is included at no-cost as long as you’re actively subscribed to the plan. Enjoy two-way communication with a monitoring station when an emergency arises.
3. Bay Alarm Medical
Another low-cost option can be found through Bay Alarm Medical. Also priced at $19.95/month, you can get a basic medical alert system monitoring. This system uses a landline to give you clear two-way communication. You can choose a wearable pendant or wristband with this plan.
For seniors who are on-the-go, but still want to the peace of mind of having a medical alert system, GreatCall offers an option that includes GPS technology. The basic plan starts at $19.99/month which will allow you to just be connected with a call center that can pinpoint your location. You need to buy the equipment which is a one-time cost of $49.99.
Another low-cost option can be found with LifeStation. For as low as $25.95/month, seniors can get a basic medical alert system that is connected to a landline. There is a wearable pendant with no long-term contract and no hidden fees.
As you can see, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a basic medical alert system. There are several companies that offer low-cost options for seniors on a budget who may not have insurance plans that cover medical alert systems.