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Does Your Medicare Pay for Medical Alert Devices?

June 7, 2017

Medical alert systems are extremely important for seniors because they allow them to live and move independently, but with an additional safety system. In the event of a fall or other accident, your senior loved one can request emergency help, potentially saving their life. So if you want medical alert devices and you are over age 65, your first resource for products and payment may be Medicare. Will Medicare cover the costs of these devices, whether or not you get them from your physician?

The Facts

Unfortunately, they do not. Even the most doctor-recommended and best medical alert system will be up to you for payment. The reason for this is that Medicare will not cover a device that is not considered medically necessary. In other words, medications for high blood pressure or glucose reader devices are considered immediately necessary to address a health problem. Because medical alerts do not address a specific health problem or treat a specific illness, Medicare considers them optional. And whenever Medicare considers something optional, they opt not to pay for it, leaving the responsibility up to you.

Unfortunately, other insurance companies follow Medicare’s rules and will not cover alert devices either. This means that if you have a Medicare supplement, Medicare replacement plan, commercial insurance plan, and/or Medicaid, none of your coverage will choose to pay for alert devices.

That being said, you may still qualify for reimbursement. In other words, rather than paying for the devices via a claim, Medicare might pay you back for all or a portion of your down payment for the device. For the most part, a doctor must determine medical necessity for an alert device and essentially prescribe it to you. Then, your Medicare plan will consider reimbursing your payment later.

Long-term Medicare coverage for home health, disability, etc., is more likely to reimburse you for alert devices because it will be considered a type of durable medical equipment similar to everyday health assistance devices like wheelchairs and blood pressure monitors.

If Medicare still does not cover your device and you need financial assistance, you can call the Area on Aging office near you for resources and applications for assistance.

Contact providers of medical alert devices for more information on pricing, service fees, and discounts that can help you save money while still having the peace of mind that comes with a life-saving alert device.