As of 2023, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) will not cover the cost of Life Alert or other medical alert systems.
Medical alert systems are not considered durable medical equipment (DME) and are, therefore, not eligible for coverage.
In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans, a private alternative to Medicare, will offer partial or full coverage for a medical alert system.
Pro Tip: While Medicare likely won’t cover Life Alert, there are other systems that cost as low as $20 per month. To learn more about these affordable systems, read our guide to this year’s best medical alert systems.
Medicare Coverage of Medical Alert Systems
In the vast majority of cases, Medicare will not cover medical alert systems, including Life Alert.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, and home health care. None of this is applicable to medical alert systems.
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers services from doctors, services from other health care providers, preventive services, home health care, and durable medical equipment.
Durable medical equipment (DME) items include oxygen concentrators, wheelchairs, and CPAP machines, among others; however, medical alert systems are not considered DME and are not covered by Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Coverage of Medical Alert Systems
While Original Medicare will not cover Life Alert or other medical alert systems, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover part or all of the costs.
Medicare Advantage plans are a private alternative to Original Medicare. In addition to offering coverage that is equal to that of Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans often offer additional benefits. These may include:
Partial hearing aid coverage
OTC medication discounts
Medical alert system discounts or coverage
Since Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies, these extra benefits will vary significantly by the company. If you’re looking for medical alert system coverage, be sure to reach out to your insurer, and see if they offer any plans with this type of coverage.
With most medical alert companies, you do not have to purchase your equipment; rather, you pay a one-time activation fee (anywhere from $20 to $100) and then a monthly fee to lease the equipment. With most companies, you can cancel your service, return your equipment, and stop paying the monthly charge at any time.
Since Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurers, they may offer additional benefits that include partial or full coverage for a medical alert system. To find out if your Medicare Advantage plan offers this type of coverage, look at your Evidence of Coverage document.
In most cases, health insurance policies won’t cover medical alert systems; however, some providers may offer a specific benefit for this type of device.
As the Medicare expert for Medigap.com, Lindsay Malzone has ample experience helping seniors understand the ins and outs of their Medicare coverage and navigating the complex world of supplemental insurance. She has written for a variety of web publications based on her Medicare expertise. Ultimately, her passion lies in helping people find the right healthcare for their needs.