Medical alert systems come in a variety of options, so how do you know what’s covered by your insurance? While Medicare doesn’t cover them, many carriers offer some form of coverage for medical alert systems for seniors.
Does Medicare Cover Medical Alert Systems?
Unfortunately, Original Medicare doesn’t cover medical alert systems. Some Medicare Supplement insurance carriers may provide a discount on the cost of a medical alert system. The best way to see if this discount is available is to call your carrier representative and ask.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, which means you receive your Original Medicare benefits through a private insurance plan, an alert system may be provided through your plan. You can contact your carrier directly for details on if you can get one, and how to qualify.
What Are Medical Alert Systems?
A medical alert system is a way to provide emergency monitoring when you are either in or out of your home. They are also referred to as personal emergency response systems (PERS) or medical emergency response system (MERS), and all are used as senior alert systems. They use computer hardware and software that, when triggered, sends a signal to an alarm monitoring system that you need immediate attention.
When the alarm is received the situation is assessed, and if medical attention is needed the monitoring agency will send medical personnel. Family members and caregivers may also be contacted immediately and informed that you need help.
What Are the Different Types of Medical Alert Systems?
Medical alert systems are available in many shapes and sizes to fit your needs and lifestyle. Some of the most common types of medical alerts systems include:
- Medical alert bracelets or necklace pendants: These are wearable devices that have an emergency help button for you to push. You are then connected to a human being at the monitoring center. If you don’t respond, the police or fire department will be contacted. There are some devices that automatically sense a fall and will send out a call that you need help if you’re unable to physically press the button yourself.
- Speakerphone medical alert systems: These allow you to have a two-way conversation with the monitoring center so you can describe your situation in detail, and the center can evaluate what your needs are.
- Cellular medical alert systems: There are several types. Some are limited to a two-way conversation, while others use the GPS capability to find your exact location when you need any type of medical assistance. These are best for people who are mobile or drive.
- Activity tracker systems: This system tracks your daily activity. People who use these report that they help them improve their daily activity and sleep times, which results in an overall improvement of their health.
- Combination of phone and medical alert systems: If you prefer carrying fewer devices, this option may be for you.
Do I Need a Medical Alert System?
Whether you need a medical alert system depends on your individual circumstances. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 experience a fall every year, and falling is the leading cause of injury in people over 65.
If you live alone, you may benefit from a medical alert system. People fall for different reasons, such as physical weakness, medication side effects, poor vision, or other health problems or illnesses. Knowing you can get the help you need, when you need it can give you a sense of protection and help you maintain your independence.
Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.