Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Insurance?
Medical alert systems provide an important service for you and your home. Without them, you may not be able to get the emergency help you need. Paying for them can be confusing, though. What are your options?
Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Insurance?
Most insurance companies would encourage you to obtain a medical alert system if there is some risk to you at home. However, most of them will not provide financial coverage for them. Insurance companies do not typically cover these systems.
It is worth calling your insurance company after purchasing a medical alert system to ask if they will provide reimbursement for them. Some companies may do so depending on the circumstances. Most importantly, if a doctor recommends it, you may be more likely to get approval. Nevertheless, don’t assume your insurer will cover these costs.
Also, some forms of long-term care insurance may provide payment for this type of service. The benefit to these companies is that medical alert systems may help to keep you living in your home longer. It’s less expensive to pay for your needs at home than in a nursing home. Some may cover your medical alert system, then, under the cost of durable medical equipment, if your doctor recommends it.
Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Medicare?
Medicare and all of its supplement plans follow the same pattern. Most will not approve coverage for any type of medical alert system. It is worth calling your insurer and Medicare if you believe you may qualify for coverage, especially if your doctor recommends it.
Some forms of Medicare Advantage Plans may provide some coverage for these systems if your doctor recommends them. If you have these plans, which fall under Medicare Part C, contact the plan provider directly for reimbursement.
If Not, How Do I Pay for a Medical Alert System?
Some companies may offer financing. Some may offer discounts to you throughout the year, depending on the promotions run. However, most people need to pay out-of-pocket for their medical alert system. Unfortunately, this is the most common option.
Another option is to work with your healthcare reimbursement account. If you have a healthcare savings account, this may help you to cover the cost. Be sure to speak to your tax professional to verify this.
In all cases, these medical alert systems can be a stable, lower costing investment for many people. When they are necessary and beneficial, it is worth the cost.
How Much Do Medical Alert Systems Cost?
The cost of medical alert systems range widely. When purchasing them, you’ll need to pay for the equipment itself, such as any home bases, pendants, or other devices. You also may need to pay for monthly access, which is a set fee you pay each month. Some systems also provide you with options to purchase additional add-on features. For example, some may offer things like fall detection or lock boxes for your family to use. You may also pay a bit more if you purchase a system that offers spousal coverage (meaning they provide coverage for more than one person in the home.)
Overall, the average cost of a medical alert system ranges from $19.95 up to $75 per month, depending on what you choose.
Here's a closer look at some of the key plans available and what you can expect to pay for them. Most offer some flexibility. Consider a few of the popular options available.
1. Bay Alarm Medical
Bay Alarm Medical is a full-service medical alert system. It offers features such as in-home and mobile monitoring, fall detection, and GPS location tracking. A few key things to consider about this company include that it offers both cellular and landline monitoring options. It doesn’t come with contracts, which is always a good thing for those who do not want to be locked into a specific service for a long period of time. It also offers nationwide coverage, which is great for seniors or those with a disability who are on the go.
Bay Alarm Medical’s costs range from $19.95 to $59.95 per month. The lowest costing plan offers in-home medical alert solutions for $19.95 per month. You can upgrade to the GPS Mobile Help Button system which is $29.95 per month. The company offers three levels of monitoring service as well. Basic protection provides you with 24/7 monitoring in the U.S. You can upgrade to Preferred Protection at $39.95 per month. This adds more features and auto fall detection. The Premium Monitoring package adds all of this plus mobile GPS monitoring and auto fall detection.
MobileHelp is another comprehensive and well-recognized medical alert system offering key features such as cellular connection and add-on features. The system includes a cellular base station along with a mobile GPS device. You can also add a wearable smart watch with it. Add to it a charging cradle for $2 per month, a mobile fall button at $10 a month, or a lock box for a one-time cost of $29.95.
The company offers several plans starting from $19.95 per month for in-home medical coverage. You can also choose a higher end pan for $37.95 per month for mobile GPS coverage. You’ll also have to purchase the equipment, which is $349.95 as a one-time fee.
3. Medical Guardian
Another option to compare in terms of costs is Medical Guardian. It offers many of the same features including in-home and mobile monitoring, fall detection, and nationwide coverage. This company does require a 90-day commitment, but not necessarily a long term contract.
The plan itself costs $29.95 per month for the Classic Guardian protection. A nice feature here is power outage protection. You can upgrade to the Home Guardian for $34.95 per month which adds additional coverage, two-way communication, and added features. The largest plan, the Family Guardian, is $79.95 per month. What makes this one more extensive is that it provides family access so they can check on you as well as email and phone notifications for them
You can add on fall detection for $10 a month, a lockbox for $2 a month, and an additional pendant for your wrist or arm for $2 a month.