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Does Medicare Cover Medical Alert Devices?

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As you age, you may want to continue living independently at home as long as possible. A medical alert device can allow you to call for help in the event of a fall or other emergency and you unable to reach a phone. You may wear a medical alert device around your neck, on your wrist, or clipped to your clothing. You can usually summon help just by pushing a button. Some medical alert devices can automatically sense when you fall and may be able to call for help even if the fall knocks you unconscious.

A medical alert device may give you and your family peace of mind especially if you live alone. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. When you push the button, a medical response center may evaluate your situation and alert either a neighbor, friend, or family member or an ambulance or fire department.

Medical alert devices which are also called personal emergency response systems (PERS).

Why would I need a medical alert device?

Chronic medical conditions are the main reason older patients utilize medical alert devices, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. These conditions include congestive heart failure, COPD, and pneumonia.

Falls are another reason that people over 65 use medical alert devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 25% of older people falls each year and falling once doubles your chances of falling again.

How much do medical alert devices cost?

There may be separate costs for the medical alert device itself and the service to activate the device. According to Aging in Place, you may be able to get started with a fall alert system for as little as $30 a month. Your medical alert device may use GPS and Wi-Fi signals to communicate with first responders and send them your location.

Does Medicare cover medical alert devices?

Although you may feel that a medical alert device is important to your safety and health, it does not fall into a category of what Medicare typically covers. Medicare Part A generally covers hospital inpatient costs and would not typically cover medical alert devices. Medicare Part B typically covers doctor visits as well as durable medical equipment and ambulance services and would not typically cover a medical alert device.

Medicare Advantage plans are one way to get your hospital and medical coverage from a private Medicare-approved insurance company. Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything that Original Medicare (Part and Part B) cover with the exception of hospice care, which is still covered by Medicare Part A. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover medical alert devices as a bonus benefit, but coverage will vary from plan to plan.

To begin looking for a Medicare Advantage plan in your area, enter your zip code on this page.

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