Original Medicare plans (Parts A and B) don’t cover home medical alert systems, even though they appear to fall into the category of durable medical equipment, which is covered by Medicare. However, some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans may include coverage for medical alert systems. There are other coverage options too. Veterans may get access to certain types of medical alerts through the VA. In some states, Medicaid may cover medical alerts through waiver programs designed to help people receive care in their homes.
If you need help paying for a home medical alert system, here are some options to consider.
Medicare Advantage Plans and Medical Alert Systems
Unlike original Medicare, which provides the same coverage for all eligible recipients, coverage through Medicare Advantage (MA) plans can vary. Although all MA plans have to provide the same coverage available through Medicare Parts A and B, plan providers can also offer additional benefits like gym memberships, vision and dental care – and even full or partial coverage for a medical alert system.
Contact your MA plan provider to see if a medical alert system is covered by your policy. The private insurance companies compete for your business, so if they receive a lot of inquiries, they may be more motivated to add medical alert systems to their benefits packages.
You will probably need a doctor’s certification that a medical alert system is a medical necessity. For example, if you have balance difficulties or take medication that can cause dizziness, then a medical alert system with fall detection is an important safety device and may be covered.
The VA Covers Some Home Medical Alerts
In 2019, there were more than 8.7 million veterans over age 65. Many of them have service-related conditions in addition to the common physical effects of aging. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a number of services for senior veterans, including some basic types of medical alert devices.
As with any insurance coverage, you will need a physician certification that the device is medically necessary.
If you require specific features – caregiver tracking or wall-mounted emergency buttons, for example – not provided by the free VA options, consider other medical alert options available for a small monthly fee. Some companies offer discounts to Veterans and AARP members.
State Medicaid Waivers may Cover Medical Alerts
Medicaid’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers or 1915(c) waivers often include coverage for home medical alert devices. Under these waivers, states can develop coverage options designed “to meet the needs of people who prefer to get long-term care services and supports in their home or community, rather than in an institutional setting.”
Because the goal is keeping seniors safe and comfortable at home, many of these waiver programs include at least partial coverage for home medical alert systems. Contact your state Medicaid authority to see if your state participates in the waiver program. Note that Medicaid terminology refers to medical alert systems as Personal Emergency Response Services (PERS).
Other Options for People with Limited Incomes
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) help coordinate services and benefits that help seniors age safely in their homes. Contact your local agency to see if you’re eligible for a free or reduced-cost medical alert system. Although the agency itself may not provide funding, they can often help you get in contact with other service providers who offer grants or other types of financial support.
Don’t Want to Wear a Medical Alert Button? No Problem!
We’ve all heard some version of “70 is the new 50,” so many seniors are reluctant to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace for fear of appearing “old” to others. GetSafe’s beautifully crafted medical alert systems provide additional home safety and peace of mind – all without the need to wear a bracelet or necklace.
Our attractive, unobtrusive wall buttons can be placed anywhere in your home. Quickly and easily call for help by pushing a button, pulling a cord, or using voice activation. Place them anywhere that may present a fall hazard. We also offer wearable lanyards with fall detection for active people who want to be protected away from home and on the go.
Contact us at 1-888-799-6255 to learn more!