Are medical alert systems covered by health insurance? – Forbes Health
Medical alert systems can be essential to the health of the elderly, so why isn’t Medicare covering them? Because they do not meet Medicare’s definition of “durable medical equipment,” says Casey Schwarz, an attorney at Medicare Rights, a national non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that older people have full access to health benefits. Medicare.
“Federal law defines what Medicare pays,” she said. “And since they are not medical devices, they are not part of the medical service. She compares them to things like home wheelchair ramps, which are essential for mobility but are not medically necessary.
When you sign up for Medicare, you’re automatically covered under Part A, which includes hospital care, costs for qualified nursing facilities, hospice care, lab tests, surgery, and home health care. Part B is optional and costs around $ 148 per month. It is usually deducted from your monthly social security benefit. Part B covers services deemed medically necessary to diagnose or treat a medical condition and medical equipment such as canes, oxygen tanks and blood glucose test strips.
Medicare coverage can change, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic when telehealth was found to be essential in keeping patients in touch with their doctors and healthcare team. However, the services covered have changed, not the devices through which patients received those services, says Schwarz. “Medical alert systems, such as iPads [used to connect to telehealth services], are not covered by Medicare, ”she said.
Medicare Part C
If you’re interested in a medical alert system for yourself or a family member, consider health insurance coverage through another part of Medicare called Part C, or Medicare Advantage plans. These are plans offered by major private Medicare approved health insurance companies. For a monthly premium, they offer the same Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, plus other benefits, such as vision, dental, and over-the-counter medications.
Some Medicare Advantage plans cover medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems (PERS). Medicare Advantage plans vary from state to state, so check to see if medical alert systems are covered by the plans where you live.