Speak With Senior Assistance Agencies
Area Agencies on Aging provides assistance for seniors across the nation. Reach out to your local Area Agency on Aging for help receiving a free medical alert system. The agency can connect you with other agencies or inform you about grants and scholarships for seniors.
What services does the AAA offer?
The AAA offers services such as meal delivery, transportation services and homemaker assistance with the goal of helping elderly adults remain independent.
Who qualifies for AAA services?
Requirements vary by location. Contact your local AAA for more information about eligibility and programs.
Does the AAA recommend a specific medical alert system?
The AAA does not recommend a specific device or company for medical alert services.
Senior Discounts And Veterans Programs From Private Companies
Even if the VA does not offer full or partial coverage of a medical alert system, that doesnt mean a senior with an honorable service record needs to pay full price. Many medical alert system providers offer steep discounts to veterans through special programs they offer. Not every company advertises its veterans specials, however, so it might be worth having a look at the AARP or USAA websites to find out if a company offers such a program. Many providers also offer discounts to AARP and USAA members, regardless of their veterans status.
When Could Medicare Cover A Medical Alert System
Medicare Advantage plans must include the same level of coverage as Original Medicare Part A and Part B, with the exception of hospice care. In addition to that basic level of coverage, Medicare Advantage usually offers additional benefits, which may include the provision of medical alert systems, or personal emergency response systems, for seniors diagnosed as needing the additional level of care and monitoring a system would provide.
Long-term care insurance may cover the cost of a medical alert system, since these devices are a form of durable medical equipment. Seniors diagnosed as needing an additional level of care or assistance with the activities of daily living, and who can claim devices or improvements to allow them to age in place, may find their insurance company considers a medical alert system an allowable expense.
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$55 Per Month $160 Startup Fee
If you want a high-tech medical alert with all the features you can think of, consider the WellBe Medical Alert Plus. You can think of this as a smart home medical alert — like Alexa and a medical alert all in one. It consists of a smartwatch and a smart speaker, both of which are connected to 4G to allow you to speak with a 24/7 emergency response center anytime.
The smartwatch features fitness tracking, blood pressure monitoring, step tracking and other data, and the speaker allows you to play music, watch the news or control other smart home devices. Both devices can also offer reminders about medications, prescription refills, appointments and more. It all happens through a voice-activated virtual health assistant called WellBe.
There are a ton of features available with WellBe, which means that it’s incredibly versatile and can replace multiple devices in your home — but it’s likely not the most intuitive system for non-tech-savvy seniors. For those that are comfortable with smart technology, though, this medical alert is a great value for the price.
What Are Medical Alert Systems
These devices, which are also called Personal Emergency Response Systems or Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems, are kept on your person and used to connect you with emergency services whenever necessary. These devices are especially useful for those with chronic health problems, elderly people or people who live alone. With a touch of a button, these systems will immediately alert a dispatcher in the event of an emergency, such as a fall, a health issue, a fire or another serious problem.
Medical alert systems can call for help when you cannot, but they can also monitor different aspects of your day-to-day life to help you stay safer and healthier. Some feature fall sensors, smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, monitor vital signs, send out medication reminders and track your daily movements. Some services even provide daily check-ins with a live person, which can give you and your loved ones greater peace of mind.
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Medicare Part C Coverage
Seniors who need a medical alert system for medical reasons might be able to get it covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan.2 Some Medicare Part C plans cover 100 percent of the cost, while others only cover a portion. You’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to find out how much they cover and for what medical reasons, and for how long.
The types of medical alert systems a plan might cover include:
- Alert bracelets or necklaces
- Cellular medical alert systems with GPS technology
- Activity tracker systems
$50 Per Month $100 Device Fee
If location tracking is a priority for you, one medical alert system stands out above the rest: the Philips Lifeline GoSafe 2. It uses five locating technologies for tracking, including GPS, Wi-Fi and audio beaconing, which allows for a more accurate reading and offers several back-up options in case one technology isn’t working.
The GoSafe 2 is a little pricey — it costs $50 per month, and device activation is extra . That price gets you access to a 24/7 emergency operations center based in Canada, plus free fall detection. In this case, you only have the option for a help button pendant , which has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to two or three days, though some users say it’s a bit bulky to wear.
The GoSafe 2 doesn’t come with access to medical professionals, or extra perks like activity tracking. But Philips is a trusted brand with a long history in the medical alert industry, and with its quick response times and advanced location tracking, this is still a great medical alert for the right person.
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Are There Free Medical Alert Systems
An upfront cost and ongoing costs are involved with medical alert systems. Free or low-cost equipment is sometimes provided by some companies, but these plans often have higher monitoring fees than those offered by more expensive companies. In some cases, companies charge only for equipment, but do not charge a monthly fee.
Defining Durable Medical Equipment And Medically Necessary
Under Medicare Part B, physician-prescribed durable medical equipment meets the criteria for coverage if it meets the following criteria:
It is durable
It is used for a medical reason
The equipment is not usually useful to someone who is not injured or sick
The equipment is used in the home
Has a general lifetime expectancy of at least three years
But original Medicare is not the beginning and end of Medicare.
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Does Aarp Have A Medical Alert System
AARP does not have its own medical alert system or endorse any particular brand. However, AARP members and veterans may be eligible for discounts from particular brands or medical alert companies.
- Philips Lifeline offers AARP members a 15% discount on monthly monitoring services, free shipping, and free activation.
- Veterans can work with their healthcare provider to receive a Live Life Personal Mobile Alarm.
When you find a medical alert system that works for you or your loved one, call to order and ask the medical alert provider about any discounts. They will vary from company to company, but it doesnt hurt to ask.
Medical Alert System Discounts: Medicare/medicaid And Group Discounts
A medical alert system is a valuable investment for every senior. Owning one of these systems grants peace of mind knowing help is available in the event of an emergency. Medical alert systems come in several options, including a pendant with a call button, to a more comprehensive network of in-home sensors and buttons. Each system offers the same urgent response when help is needed, and access to first responders when an emergency has taken place.
The cost of a medical alert system may impair a seniors ability to purchase a system and receive its daily benefit. There are some ways to receive discounts on medical alert systems, however. Here are a few of them below.
Medicaid and Medicare
Medicaid provides coverage for Personal Emergency Response Services. Qualified services include medical alert devices or similar monitors and sensors. Home-wide medical alert systems may be referred to as electronic home monitoring, or aging in place technologies under this coverage. Medicaid has four different programs which may provide funding that can be used to pay for a medical alert system.
Unfortunately, Medicare does not provide coverage for the cost of a medical alert system. Some private health insurance plans supplemented by Medicare Part C may cover such systems, but it varies by company.
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Making the Purchase
Best Medical Alert Systems
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Medicare Advantage Coverage For Medical Alert Systems
Seniors who use Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, choose a plan from a listing of private insurance plans. Whether medical alert systems are included depends entirely upon the plan. Medicare Advantage plans are required to cover all of the same things that Part A and Part B cover, so there is no risk of losing coverage if you switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Advantage involves private insurance companies, so specific coverage options vary widely. Most plans accessible through Medicare Advantage require a monthly premium. Plans that offer more coverage for medical supplies and accessories, such as medical alert systems, may have higher premiums than plans that only offer basic medical coverage.
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Does Medicare Advantage Cover Medical Alert Systems
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is private insurance that provides the same essential benefits as Original Medicare, along with some extras.2 Because private insurance companies offer Medicare Advantage plans, what is included varies by plan and provider. Contact your Medicare Advantage company to find out if they cover medical alert systems.
Did You Know: Medicare’s annual enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 every year. Read our guide to Medicare enrollment to learn everything you need to know about enrollment and coverage.
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Does Insurance Pay For Medical Alert Systems
Insurance coverage for medical alert systems varies. The majority of health insurance providers don’t cover these devices or services, but some do. Long-term care insurance is more likely to cover medical alert systems, but this varies by provider and plan. To find out if your insurance company offers coverage, you can:
- Visit the plan’s website to review covered services
Below, we’ll review some common types of insurance that seniors have and their medical alert system coverage.
Check Medicare Or Medicaid Benefits
Although Medicare provides reimbursement for some medical equipment, medical alert bracelets arent covered under the standard Medicare plan. However, there are many Medicare Advantage plans to choose from, and some of them may cover the cost. If you have Medicare Advantage coverage, you can check with your provider. Its also worth looking into if youre covered by Medicaid since sometimes Medicaid will pay for a service or an item that Medicare doesnt.
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How To Get A Free Medical Id Bracelet
In an emergency situation, a medical ID bracelet can mean the difference between life and death. These bracelets provide vital health information and help to warn medical professionals and emergency responders that you are prone to seizures, have a serious chronic illness, what allergies you may have or other critical medical information. Currently, these bracelets are available at no cost to children and people with diabetes. In addition, some hospitals offer free medical ID bracelets and in some cases, insurance may help cover the cost of a medical ID bracelet.
Contact your local hospital and ask them if they offer free medical ID bracelets. If they don’t, ask if they know of any medical foundations in the area that provide these bracelets for free. Also, your doctor is another excellent resource for providing information on free or low-cost medical ID bracelets.
Contact MedicAlert if you have a child between the ages of 4 and 14 who needs a medical ID bracelet. This organization provides these bracelets for free to children in that age range. They can be contacted either through their website: http://www.medicalert.org/ or your you can call them at 432-5378.
Starting At $35 Per Month $0 Equipment Fee $0 Activation Fee
If you do want some more features with your in-home medical alert system, MobileHelp Classic is a solid choice. It comes with a suite of useful tools for users and caregivers alike through its app, MobileHelp Connect, including the ability to see recent locations or send a location request. You can add on medication reminder services at an additional $5 per month, plus activity tracking for another $5 per month. Fall detection is also available at $10 per month.
MobileHelp’s system doesn’t have a landline option — it only works over a cellular network . The waterproof help button comes in lanyard or wristband form, with a reported range of 1,400 feet from the base unit. The base unit has a backup battery with up to 30 hours of power, which is helpful in case of a power outage. MobileHelp offers 24/7 US-based monitoring, with quick response times and a courteous, professional response team, according to customer reviews.
If you opt in to all the extras, you’re looking at a monthly cost of around $55 — but MobileHelp offers a range of ways to cut that price down, including discounts, frequent promos and the ability to choose from monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual payment plans.
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Who Needs A Medical Alert System
Most seniors will benefit from a medical alert system. From traditional in-home landline alert systems to the most modern mobile + GPS roaming alerts, theres a medical alert system for everyone. A medical alert button helps seniors stay safe whether they spend most of their time at home, or if theyre out and about staying active.
Getting great value for money is important, and so the cost of a medical alert system is a key consideration when purchasing one.
How Can I Get A Medical Alert System For Free
COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be essential during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.
Approximately 30,000 seniors die from a fall-related death each year. Combine that staggering statistic with the anticipated shortage of registered nurses, and you might be wondering: How can seniors protect themselves from injuries that become fatal or require long-term medical care? While its not always possible to prevent falls, even with home modifications or lifestyle changes, seeking prompt medical care may help prevent lengthy hospital stays and long-term complications. Thats why many elderly adults trust the performance of medical alert systems.
The best medical alert systems provide constant monitoring day and night, so you always have convenient access to emergency care. Some medical alert systems have a handy help button that notifies loved ones or medical professionals, so you can quickly request assistance when you need it. Others rely on automatic fall detection alerts that let operators know when a senior may be injured, even if the subscriber is unresponsive or cannot reach the help button.
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Medicare Advantage: More Medicare Coverage More Benefits
Medicare Advantage Plans, also sometimes known as Medicare Part C, are private insurance plans that extend and enhance original Medicare coverage.
Beginning in 2017, some Medicare Advantage plans began offering expanded supplemental coverage that would pay for medical alert systems, which include paying for the original equipment purchase and monthly monitoring fees. By 2019, in a span of just two short years, the number of plans offering some form of coverage for PERS alarm systems rose from only 1.2% of Medicare Part C plans to 14.5% of Medicare Advantage Plans, indicating significant interest in these systems among insurers and seniors alike.
And there are good reasons: The longer the wait for help in an emergency, the more significant the consequencesâand the higher the costs of recovery .
Ultimately, the purchase price and monthly monitoring costs associated with incorporating a PERS in the independent living plan of a senior living alone are relatively insignificant compared to potential for the permanent loss of independence, or the cost of a lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation.
It only takes one unattended, undetected fall to change everything.
Can Seniors Receive Financial Assistance For Medical Alert Systems
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for help locating a senior center near you. Senior centers offer free or reduced meals and socialization opportunities, but some of them also provide grants and scholarships for medical necessities.
You may also find assistance options by contacting your states Department of Mental Health. This agency connects disabled adults with resources for personal care and general living expenses as well as costs associated with health-related essentials.
A veterans affairs office is an option for seniors who previously served in the military or married a spouse who did. Dial 2-1-1 on your telephone for help locating the agencies referenced above as well as other potential options for financial assistance.
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