How to find out if your medical alert system is covered by Medicare

Medciare and dollar bill
(Image credit: Future)

If you are a senior, or you have a health condition that should be monitored, a medical alert system covered by Medicare can save you money. Statistics show that after the age of 65, six out of ten people will visit a hospital emergency room because of a fall. 

Other benefits of medical alert systems include: 

✔ Lowered anxiety and confidence in fall detection systems

✔ Faster access to help in a medical emergency

✔ Better communication about your health to friends and family

This article tells you how to find out if your medical alert system is covered by Medicare. If your doctor doesn't accept Medicare, ask for a referral to a clinic who will. You can also find a Medicare physician yourself

Take note: enrolment for Medicare runs annually from October 15 to December 7.

What does each Medicare plan cover? 

Medicare gov website

(Image credit: Medicare)
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The Medicare plan has four parts
A - Hospitalization and inpatient coverB - Medical and outpatient treatment C - Medicare Advantage Plan (paid)D - Cover for prescription drugs
Inpatient hospital careProvider servicesDentalHIV/AIDS drugs treatment
Skilled nursing facility (SNF) care Durable medical equipment (DME)VisionAntidepressants
Home health care Ambulance servicesHearingAntipsychotic drugs treatment
Hospice careHome health servicesRow 3 - Cell 2 Anti-convulsive drugs for seizures
Row 4 - Cell 0 Mental health servicesRow 4 - Cell 2 Immunosuppressant drugs
Row 5 - Cell 0 Therapy servicesRow 5 - Cell 2 Anti-cancer drugs if they are not included in part B
Row 6 - Cell 0 Lab tests and X-RaysRow 6 - Cell 2 Most vaccines
Row 7 - Cell 0 Services of a Chiropractor in the case of subluxation of the spineRow 7 - Cell 2 Row 7 - Cell 3
Row 8 - Cell 0 Certain prescription drugs Row 8 - Cell 2 Row 8 - Cell 3

Look out for more details of each plan on the Medicare website. Durable medical equipment (DME) coverage can cover certain medical alert systems.

To check the health conditions cover you have, you can also use the Medicare app, available in the Apple store (for iOS) or on Google Play (for Android). 

Medicare DME coverage outlined in full

(Image credit: Medicare)

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What type of Medicare cover do you have?

Medicare has four health care plans, each outline above. 

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Looking for medical alert devices to assist you with aging in place? Choose from our pick of the best medical alert systems with GPS tracking or get quotes for the best medical alert systems from trusted providers.

Medicare Plan A and B don’t appear to provide free life alert systems for seniors, or for anyone with a health condition who might want one.

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, can offer cover for select medical alert systems.

Medicare Advantage covers everything in Medicare Original such as crutches, wheelchairs and walkers, and additional treatments. This plan might give you all or some help towards the cost of a medical alert system.

If you have Medicaid and your state uses Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) there may be a free medical alert system available for your condition. In the program’s list of care provisions it does have personal emergency response systems.

To ensure you're getting all the benefits, apply for a Medicaid HCBS Waiver. You can do this by contacting your state Medicaid office.

Are there free medical alert systems for seniors?

medical guardian

(Image credit: Medical Guardian)

There are no free medical alerts for seniors with Medicare, but if you're a veteran the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will give you a free medical alert system. They cover the costs of devices supplied by LiveLife Personal Alarms or MedEquip Alert.

If you're not covered as a veteran, get in touch with your local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). They don’t give free medical alert systems themselves, but they will recommend other agencies that can advise you on how to apply for financial aid.

You should also contact providers of  alert systems because they sometimes give away a free medical alert device. 

For example Assistive Technology Services give away medical devices to people on a low income. Medical Care Alert has a long list of states giving away free medical alert systems to seniors or the disabled.

In short

Only the Medicare Advantage Plan and the Medicaid HBCS Waiver give either whole or partial cover for a medical alert system. 

Julia Cameron

Freelance Healthcare Copywriter at Bluebean Copywriting