Are Medical Alert Systems Covered Under Medicare?

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Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, Medicare does not cover the cost of medical alert systems, also known as PERS or life alert systems.

It's unfortunate because in our view, which is consistent with the advice of many leaders in the healthcare industry including the CDC, we believe medical alert devices are critical to providing seniors with access to emergency services, especially for those living alone.

As the Mayo Clinic states, “when you experience a fall, medical issue or other emergency, every second counts. If you are alone, delayed medical care can jeopardize your recovery and your independence. A Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) provides simple, fast access to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Does Medicare Cover The Cost of Medical Alert Systems?

Medicare comes in four different parts. Part A covers hospital and hospice care, Part B covers healthcare, Part C are Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D covers prescription drugs.

Medicare's Part A and Part B do not pay for medical alert systems in the vast majority of cases. While Medicare Part B covers medical equipment and preventative services, Medicare does not consider medical alert systems a "medical necessity".

That said, there are some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C), Healthcare Reimbursement Accounts (HSA's), Long Term Care Insurance providers and private health insurers that do cover all or part of the cost of medical alert systems. You'll have to speak to your provider to determine if you're eligible, under what conditions and how much of the cost they will cover.

How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost Without Medicare Coverage?

Regardless of whether your insurance covers the cost of a medical alert system, we believe the monthly cost, is well worth the investment. To put it in perspective, most medical alert systems are cheaper than a cup of Starbucks (even a cup of Dunkin Donuts) coffee a day.

Here's a list of the range of prices you can expect to pay for different types of systems:

  • At-Home Landline: $19.99 - $39.99 / month
  • At-Home Cellular: $19.99-$39.99 / month
  • Mobile with GPS: $38.99-$49.95 / month (plus hardware cost in some cases)
  • Adding Automatic Fall Detection: $10-$15
  • Smartwatch: $44.95 / month (plus cost of the watch)

How To Save Money on Medical Alert Systems

Despite the fact that many insurance providers do not pay for medical alert systems, there are other ways to pay less for medical alert systems.

  • Comparison shop: Use comparisons charts to find the best medical alert system to meet your needs. You'll want to compare performance levels, pricing, reviews and rankings.

  • Special offers: Many medical alert companies offer specials from time to time. We'll include a list below of limited time offers currently being run. We highly recommend you give the companies a call. First they'll match you up with the equipment and plan that best suits your needs. Second, they typically give better deals over the phone than on their websites or through advertisements.

    • MobileHelp (lowest price option)
      MobileHelp offers the most aggressive pricing packages in the medical alert industry - making it the most affordable for consumers. It's able to do so because it's one of the few to manufacture its own equipment (also manufactures for many of its competitors oddly enough). But it doesn't sacrifice quality, it's also one of the only medical alert companies to be FDA and ULC certified.
      Current Spring Special expires June 30, 2020: 2 Free Months, 30 Day Risk Free Trial Period, Free Cancellation, Free Lock Box, Free Activation and Free Shipping.
      Call 800-920-1745 for a free quote or visit their website.

    • Medical Guardian
      Medical Guardian is one of the larger medical alert companies in the industry. They have an excellent reputation for customer service, emergency response times and providing the latest products in the industry to their customers. They also have excellent pricing. Not the lowest, but not the highest by far. But in return no one's cutting corners. We view them like the Toyota of medical alert systems.
      Current National Safety Month Sale expires June 30, 2020: 1 Free month, Free lock box, Free activation, Free shipping, Free extra pendant. No contract, Free cancellation.
      Call 800-889-4116 for a free quote or visit their website.

    • Bay Alarm Medical
      Bay Alarm Medical has been around for over 30 years. If you're looking for the lowest priced at-home landline system, you'll find it here at only $19.95 a month, with all the hardware you need, free cancellation and even a 30 day free trial period.
      Current Safe Summer Special expires June 8, 2020: Discount from $27.95 to $19.95 a month on the at-home landline system. No contract, Free cancellation. 20% off on select other systems.
      Call 855-692-0104 for a free quote or visit their website.

One thing we would say, is that regardless of whether your getting a discount or partial subsidy from an insurer or otherwise, it's almost never worth it if you're being asked to sign a long term contract. We highly recommend you only use a provider that allows you to cancel at any time, at no extra cost.