Medical Alert Systems and Medicare

Victoria Burke by Victoria Burke | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 09/10/2018

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If you’re living alone, a medical alert system might give you and your loved ones a little peace of mind. Read about medical alert systems for seniors and if Medicare covers them.

What are medical alert systems?

Medical alert systems for seniors are designed to help protect you if you fall or need help. Usually worn as a pendant or wristband with a button you can press, an alert system can activate your telephone and connect you to a dispatcher at the system’s company who can talk to you through a speaker even if you can’t physically reach your telephone.

Sometimes called emergency response systems, there are different types of medical alert systems for seniors. Some alert systems can detect a fall, so that if you got knocked out or couldn’t reach your pendant, the company would still be notified and could send an ambulance to your home.

Why would I need a medical alert system?

According to the National Institute on Aging, more than one in three seniors (aged 65 or older) falls each year. There can be a number of reasons: health problems, poor vision, muscle weakness, alcohol consumption, or prescription medications are just a few of them. A medical alert system won’t stop you from falling – but it may get an ambulance to your door when you need one.

Medical alert systems: Medicare coverage

Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers several types of durable medical equipment. Unfortunately, Medicare Part B generally doesn’t cover medical alert systems. But some Medicare health plans, such as certain Medicare Advantage plans, might cover them.

Medicare Advantage plans may provide medical alert (emergency response) systems for primarily health-related issues.

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