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.
- 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 Easter Sale expires April 12, 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 Spring Special expires April 30, 2020: Discount from
$27.95to $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.
Everyone recognizes ADT as a home security company, but they also offer medical alert systems. They currently have a special promotion which we do not recommend. If you sign-up for 36 months (3 years), they'll give you a $50 credit. We never recommend entering into long term contracts, especially when health and caregiving needs can change so quickly for seniors. You could get stuck paying $30 a month long after you need the service.
Current Offer: $50 discount if you sign-up for 36 months.
Call 800-588-1934 for a free quote or visit their website.
- Medical Guardian
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.