For many seniors, a medical alert system is a necessary part of aging if you wish to live in your home as long as possible with safety and independence. It can offer peace of mind to you or your loved ones knowing you can get medical help if and when you need it, no matter the time of day or night. What will Medicare and Medicaid cover for these life-saving systems?
What is a medical alert system?
Medical alert systems are devices used to contact emergency services in the event of an emergency. Most providers offer discreet, comfortable devices that can be worn around the neck, wrist, or on the belt. Depending on the provider you select, you may have the option of landline or mobile options. With a medical alert system, help is just a button push away.
Many medical alert systems come with the following safety features:
- Automatic fall detection
- 24-hour medically-trained support staff
- Carbon monoxide detection
- Medication reminders
- Health monitoring
Does Medicare cover medical alert systems?
However, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it may cover the cost of a system. Medicare Advantage plans vary by provider and by state, so contact your plan directly to see if it will cover the cost of a medical alert system.
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Does Medicaid cover medical alert systems?
If you need help paying for a medical alert system and qualify for Medicaid, you may be able to receive financial assistance under one of four programs.
- Home and Community Based Services Programs. HCBS programs offer waivers for some personal emergency response services. HCBS programs may offer assistance up to $75 per month to cover monthly monitoring, while others could offer one-time payments to cover equipment costs and start-up fees. These programs vary from state to state, so check CMS’s State Resources Map to see what your state’s HCBS program covers.
- Consumer Directed Services. Some states will provide funding for health-related costs for seniors without placing restrictions on what these funds can be used for. That means you could receive these funds and use them to pay for a medical alert system. Check your state’s policy here.
- Money Follows the Person. These Medicaid programs are designed to assist seniors living in nursing homes or assisted living communities in returning to their homes or move in with a relative. These programs pay for services that contribute to this goal, including medical alert systems. Your state may call this program by a different name, so check the Money Follows the Person page to find out what your state offers.
- Medicaid State Plan Personal Care Attendant Programs. Depending on where you live, these programs offer financial assistance to cover the cost of caregiving. This may extend to a medical alert system. Medicaid’s Home Care Benefits work similarly to HCBS programs, and the pay is about the same.
Other funding options
If Medicare and Medicaid can’t help pay for your medical alert system, don’t give up. There may still be funding options available to you.
- See if you qualify for long-term care insurance.
- Check with your Area on Aging office and see if they can provide any financial resources to cover the cost.
- As a last resort, call your medical alert provider directly to see if you qualify for any discounts.
To find out more information on medical alert systems, devices, and providers, visit Med-Alert Pros. Med-Alert Pros provides a free service that helps you find the best medical alert system for your unique situation. Med-Alert Pros researches, reviews, tests, and compares the top companies to help you make an informed decision.