Does Medicare Cover Life Alert?

Although Original Medicare doesn’t cover Life Alert, some Medicare Advantage plans (also called Medicare Part C) may cover Life Alert, medical alert systems and other personal emergency response system (PERS) systems as an added benefit.

If you are enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B (Original Medicare) and want to obtain Life Alert or another PERS, you may have to pay for it yourself.

Woman taken from her home on a stretcher by paramedics

What is Life Alert?

Life Alert is a type of response system that alerts emergency providers in the case of a medical emergency. If you have Life Alert or another brand of PERS, you can wear the system all day. It usually comes as a wristband or a necklace.

If you experience an emergency, you just have to press a button and it will activate your phone, connecting you with an emergency dispatcher. You may be able to designate a specific health care provider to call, such as your caregiver or your primary care doctor.

Some advanced systems also detect movements such as a serious fall and can alert emergency services, even if you don’t press the device button.

Learn more about medical alert systems by reviewing this 2020 guide from The SeniorList.

Do Medicare Supplement plans help cover Life Alert?

Medicare Supplement Insurance plans, also called Medigap, do not cover Life Alert or any other medial alert system.

Medicare Supplement plans provide coverage for some Original Medicare out-of-pocket costs like deductibles, coinsurance and copayments. These plans work alongside your Original Medicare benefits to help you pay for services and devices that are covered by Original Medicare.

Do some Medicare Advantage plans cover Life Alert?

Some Medicare Advantage plans – such as some Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans – may cover personal emergency response systems (PERS) such as Life Alert.1

Some insurance providers may offer coverage for Life Alert or other medical alert systems at no added cost, and other providers may charge a fee for the system. Plan availability, benefits and cost can vary based on your plan provider.

Depending on your plan, you may have a monthly plan premium in addition to your Part B premium, an annual deductible and coinsurance or copayment requirements. Some Medicare Advantage plans, however, may feature $0 monthly premiums.

Medicare Advantage plans provide Medicare Part A and Part B benefits combined into one plan sold by a private insurance company. Some Medicare Advantage plans may also include coverage for prescription drugs, dental, vision and wellness programs, which are not typically covered by Original Medicare.

What other kinds of PERS systems do Medicare Advantage plans cover?

Some of the personal emergency response systems that may be covered by Medicare Advantage plans include:

  • Bracelets or necklaces
    These wearable alert systems have a button that can be pushed during an emergency to alert a human monitor or dispatcher. Some devices can even detect when the user has fallen and will automatically dispatch help.

  • Speakerphones
    These devices allow the user to communicate with the monitoring center so the user can describe the situation in more detail and the dispatcher can provide immediate feedback while help is on the way, all without having to reach out for or hold a traditional phone.

  • Cellular medical alert systems
    PERS devices with cellular capabilities use a GPS to pinpoint the location of the user and send help. These devices are well-suited for seniors who drive or are otherwise mobile outside of their home.

  • Activity tracker systems. These systems track a user’s daily activity with the goal of improving sleeping habits, diet and exercise through monitoring.

If you want to find a Medicare Advantage plan that covers Life Alert, you can speak with a licensed insurance agent to compare available plans in your area.

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