- Original Medicare doesn’t cover Life Alert.
- Medicare Advantage plans might offer coverage for Life Alert.
- The cost to you will depend on your Advantage plan and the Life Alert coverage options you choose.
Life Alert is a widely-known name in the wearable personal emergency response system (PERS) industry. The company has been in business since 1987 and is often associated with its memorable commercials.
Life Alert systems aren’t covered by original Medicare (parts A and B). However, a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan might cover some of the cost.
The features of Medicare Advantage plans depend on where you live and the company you choose, so coverage for Life Alert might not be available everywhere.
Read on to learn more about how Medicare Advantage and when it may cover Life Alert.
Original Medicare doesn’t normally cover Life Alert or any other PERS device.
Generally, Medicare covers services that it considers “medically necessary.” A medically necessary service is one your doctor orders to keep you healthy or treat a condition you already have. Life Alert systems aren’t considered medically necessary.
However, you might be able to get Medicare coverage for Life Alert if you have a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans, sometimes called Medicare Part C, are plans from private insurance companies, which contract with Medicare.
Under Medicare’s regulations, a Medicare Advantage plan needs to cover everything that original Medicare does. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage. That additional coverage sometimes includes Life Alert.
The Medicare Advantage options available to you will depend on where you live. There are different Advantage plans offered depending on the city, state, or area you live in.
Not all plans will offer coverage for Life Alert. It’s a good idea to call and talk to a representative even if you find a plan that does. They might only cover Life Alert under certain circumstances.
For example, Ohio’s Anthem MediBlue Essential Medicare Advantage plan covers Life Alert for members who are considered to be at risk for falling. You’d need to have an assessment from a doctor, physical therapist, or another provider to qualify.
So, it’s always a good idea to check with your plan about your coverage details. It can save you money and time to know upfront what your plan’s requirements for covering Life Alert are.
Does Part D cover Life Alert?
Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. It doesn’t cover Life Alert.
Does Medigap cover Life Alert?
While they do cover some additional services like pints of blood or foreign travel, they don’t generally cover anything Medicare doesn’t. They won’t help cover the cost of Life Alert or any other PERS.
Your cost for Life Alert will depend on the features you need. You’ll pay a one-time setup cost and then a monthly fee for as long as you use your Life Alert.
Setup costs include:
- $95 for activation of a standard Life Alert system
- $96 for activation of a standard Life Alert system and wall-mounted “help button”
- $198 for activation of a standard Life Alert system, wall-mounted help button, and mobile services you can use outside your home
You’ll then be billed for your Life Alert system each month. Just like with setup fees, the cost will depend on the features you need. For example, you’ll pay $10 more each month if your home doesn’t have a landline.
Monthly fees include:
- $49.95 a month for the standard Life Alert system if you have a landline
- $59.95 a month for the standard Life Alert system if you don’t have a landline
- $69.95 a month for the standard Life Alert system with the wall-mounted help button
- $89.95 a month for the standard Life Alert system with the wall-mounted help button and mobile services
Your costs using a Medicare Advantage plan will depend on the plan. Some plans might cover the entire cost of Life Alert. Other plans might require you to pay a copayment for the initial setup. Your plan might only pay as long as a doctor continues to recertify that you need a Life Alert System.
Check your plan’s details and call them to ask if you’re not sure what the costs to you might be.
Life Alert is a PERS. The system is designed to get you the help you need fast in an emergency situation.
When you sign up for Life Alert, you’ll get a wearable button you can wear around your neck or on your wrist. When you push the button, you’ll be connected with emergency services that can send an ambulance to you.
Life Alert and similar PERS can be used in times when you can’t get to a phone or call for help.
For example, if you live alone and are doing laundry in your basement, you might not be near a phone. If you fall and are unable to get off the floor, pushing your Life Alert button can help you get the medical attention you need.
The wall-mounted help button gives you another option for reaching emergency services. You can use the wall button if you don’t have your wearable button with you. Friends or family can also hit the wall button for you to get help fast in an emergency.
Life Alert is designed to be used inside your house. However, you have the option to add mobile services.
With mobile services, you can use your button even when you’re not at home. The mobile services use GPS tracking to find your button and you, even if you’re not able to give your location to the emergency services operator.
You can also download the Life Alert Mobile app. The app allows you to use your smartphone as an additional Life Alert button.
Life Alert is a name many people know. However, there are many other companies that offer similar PERS. Some companies even offer services Life Alert doesn’t, like motion detection to monitor you for falls. Other companies might offer free initial installation or other perks.
Additionally, some PERS companies partner with Medicare Advantage providers, allowing members to get their PERS completely covered. The right company for you will depend on your budget and circumstances. Other options include:
- Bay Alarm Medical
- Medical Guardian
- Philips Lifeline
There might also be local options available to you. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can start your search by seeing if they partner with any PERS company. Most of these companies have a monthly service fee.
Another option is a
Some watches and trackers even have built-in 911 buttons or features. You’ll generally need to be connected to a phone or wireless network through Bluetooth for the feature to work. This can be a great option if you don’t want to wear a safety monitoring device.
While smartwatches or trackers might initially be more expensive, they generally work with the cell or wireless service you already have, so there are no monthly fees.
You have a lot of options when it comes to getting help in an emergency. Technology is making even more options available. It’s a good idea to shop around for the option that best suits your needs, budget, and lifestyle.
Tips for choosing a Medicare plan if you know you want a Life Alert system:
- Look for Medicare Advantage plans in your area using the Medicare website.
- Check the details of plan coverage for Life Alert systems.
- Call a plan representative to see if you’ll be eligible for a system.
- Original Medicare doesn’t cover any Personal Emergency Response System, including Life Alert. However, a Medicare Advantage plan might cover the cost.
- You can shop for plans in your area and then check with a representative to get details on their Life Alert coverage.
- If you can’t find coverage for a Life Alert system, you might find coverage for other PERS.
- You can also look into additional health and safety monitoring options, or consider a solution like a smartwatch or activity tracker.