We get a lot of questions about medical alert systems. In this post we'll answer the question: Does Medicare pay for medical alert systems?
What Are Medical Alert Systems?
Medical Alert Systems are great little devices that help people remain safe and independent by providing a conveniently reached emergency response button in the form of a pendant, smartwatch, or cellular phone. They are sometimes referred to as Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS), or Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (MPERS).
Medical Alert System Options
Medical alerts come in all shapes and sizes, and work with both home telephone lines and mobile (cellular) networks. Today we're seeing less of a focus on the home based telephone line, and more of a focus on mobile/cellular options (which provide greater range inside and outside the home.
Does Medicare Pay for Medical Alert Systems?
Typically medical alert systems (or PERS) are not covered under Medicare Parts A and B. Unfortunately they are not considered a “medical necessity” by Medicare, something we disagree with. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C) cover medical alerts, but this will vary with the insurance you're carrying, and the state in which you live. Check with your Medicare Advantage provider to see if you're covered.
Most people are paying cash for medical alerts (out of pocket). I do hear that healthcare reimbursement accounts have been know to cover medical alerts. So if you're still working, and your employer offers this benefit, you should budget for around $29-$39 per month (depending on the kind of medical alert that's right for you).