Which Insurance Is Best for Medical Alert System Coverage? 

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

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Does Insurance Cover Medical Alert Systems? 

Hospital Bill

Key Takeaways

  • Original Medicare does not cover medical alert systems.
  • Long-term care insurance is most likely to provide coverage.
  • Some private health insurance companies offer this coverage. Always check with your plan to be sure.

Medical alert systems connect you to help in an emergency. Medical events, such as falls, panic attacks, or heart attacks may trigger emergent situations. These events can also be triggered by fires, car accidents, and home invasions. 

If you or your loved one is getting older and wish to age in place at home, a medical alert system can help you do that. The best medical alert systems are beneficial for people of any age with a disability or those who need to get in touch with emergency support quickly for any reason.

Since these devices can save lives and prevent devastating consequences, you may assume that insurance uniformly pays for them, but this is not the case. Some insurance companies provide coverage for medical alert systems but others, including Original Medicare, don’t. Read on to learn more about your health insurance options for medical alert system coverage. 

Why You Can Trust Our Expert Reviews

12 Hours of Research
10 Brands Considered
0 Models Tested
0 Models Selected
3 Experts Consulted

Our reviews are based on painstaking, unbiased research. Medical alert systems are lifesaving devices. For that reason, we only include brands that guarantee fast response times. 

If user complaints about an alert system are copious or include many accounts of poor customer service or unreliability, we eliminate that brand from consideration. 

We also take special features and costs into account to provide various options that may be important to you. With all of this in mind, we only include brands we would recommend to our friends and loved ones. 

Medical Alert Systems We Recommend

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Our Rating: 8.77/10
Starting Monthly Price for At-Home System: $29.95
Starting Monthly Price for Mobile System: $39.95
Range: 600-1,400 feet
Current Deal: Free month of service + free shipping

At-a-Glance Features: 

  • Landline, AT&T, or Verizon cellular connection
  • Fall detection: $5/month
  • Caregiver app: $8/month
  • Daily check-in services: $19/month

LifeFone’s at-home medical alert system can be run through a landline or cellular network. If you don’t have a cell phone, no worries. This system is set up through LifeFone’s own AT&T cellular network instead of your own. It uses a base system and a waterproof help button, which can be popped into a lanyard or wristband. It also has a 1,300-foot range and a 32-hour backup battery, should you lose power. 

Concerns about falls are one of the main motivators for getting medical alert systems. LifeFone has automatic fall detection as an optional add-on. To use this service, you must wear the help button around your neck. 

LifeFone’s emergency response center operates 24/7, 365 days a year. The average response time for LifeFone is under one minute. 

  • Equipment cost: $0
  • Monthly cost: $24.95 for the landline system, $30.95 for the cellular system
  • Automatic fall detection: $5 month extra
  • 30-day trial period 
  • 100% lifetime warranty

Lively manufactures two budget-priced medical alert systems for outdoor use. Both are equipped with a GPS location finder. Lively devices connect to a U.S.-based emergency call center that operates 24/7, 365 a year. According to consumer reviews, the company´s average response time is 13 seconds. 

The Lively Mobile Plus is a lightweight device worn around the neck on a lanyard or clipped to a belt. When worn around the neck, it includes automatic fall detection. 

  • Equipment: $49.99
  • Monthly cost starts at $24.99
  • Activation fees may apply

The Lively Wearable 2 is a small and discreet help button that is popped into a wristband or necklace. It connects to the Lively app on your smartphone. When you press the help button, your smartphone will connect you to the emergency response center. 

Pluses for these devices include ease of use and access. The Lively Mobile Plus device is sold at Walgreens and other retail stores. If you’re unfamiliar with medical alert systems, you can see the system up close before you buy it. 

When you activate your help button, you will be given the option of connecting with a medical professional or personal contact, such as a family member. If needed, the operator will dial 911 and send help directly to you.

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Our Rating: 9.62/10
Starting Monthly Price for At-Home System: $19.95
Starting Monthly Price for Mobile System: $29.95
Current Deal: Free shipping and free month of service on select plans
Range: 1,000 feet

At-a-Glance Features: 

  • Landline or cellular connection  
  • Fall detection: $10/month 
  • Smartwatch option 
  • Wall-mounted buttons available in two and four packs

Bay Alarm Medical’s in-home system is a solid choice from a well-established and trusted manufacturer. This system is available for landlines and cellular services. You don’t need cellular service to use it. Cellular billing is done directly through Bay Alarm Medical’s account. 

This system is especially easy to set up and use. All you need to do is plug in the home base. Landline-run systems also require a phone jack. Bay Alarm’s call button connects you to a U.S.-based emergency call center that is open 24/7, 365 days a year. The help button is 100 percent waterproof and has a 1,000-foot range. 

  • Equipment: $0 
  • Landline: $19.95 a month
  • Cellular: $29.95 a month
  • Wall mount buttons: one-time $35 charge per button
  • Automatic fall detection: $10 a month
  • 30-day risk-free trial

Does Insurance Pay for Medical Alert Systems?

Insurance coverage for medical alert systems varies from plan to plan. In some instances, your state of residence may also play a role. No matter what type of insurance you have, never assume that it will cover this cost. Always check first to make sure. 

Do Insurance Companies Pay for Medical Alert Systems?

Some insurance companies cover all or some of the cost of medical alert systems. Many don’t provide any coverage for this service. Call your insurer to see what they are willing to offer. If you are shopping around for new health insurance, ask about this coverage before signing up. 

Does Medicare Insurance Pay for Medical Alert Systems?

Medicare Part A and Part B 

Original Medicare is a federally funded program. It consists of Part A and Part B. Part A covers inpatient services, such as those you get in a hospital or skilled nursing care facility. Part B covers outpatient services, including durable medical equipment (DME) for home use. Medical alert systems are not considered DME, and Original Medicare doesn’t pay for them. 

Medicare Part C and Part D

Medicare Advantage (Part C) is insurance you buy from private insurers. It covers everything that Original Medicare does, plus some extras. Many Medicare Part C plans cover some or all of the cost of medical alert systems. You may have to use certain approved systems and buy them from specific providers. Not every Part C plan offers this coverage, so check before you buy. 

Part D is Medicare prescription drug coverage. It does not cover the cost of medical alert systems.

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)

If you have Original Medicare, Medigap covers the “gaps” in your out-of-pocket costs for copays and coinsurance. Medigap works in conjunction with Original Medicare and doesn’t pay for equipment or services that Original Medicare won’t cover (with a few exceptions, based on your plan). Since they’re not covered under Original Medicare, Medigap won’t cover any of the cost of a medical alert system.

Does Medicaid Insurance Pay for Medical Alert Systems?

Unlike Medicare, which is funded solely by the federal government, Medicaid is funded by the federal government and the state in which you reside. Some states, such as New York, cover the cost of medical alert systems if your doctor prescribes one for your use. Others don’t offer this coverage. 

Medicaid refers to these systems as Personal Emergency Response Services (PERS). Check with your local Medicaid office to find out if you have coverage for a medical alert system and, if so, which ones. Also, check to see if the system will be rented, requiring you to return it, or if you will own it outright. 

Does Long Term Care Insurance Pay for Medical Alert Systems?

Long-term care insurance is designed to meet the needs of people, including older adults, who need ongoing or long-term medical or daily life skills services and support. While policies vary, long-term care insurance is most likely to provide coverage for medical alert systems. 

These policies typically work within a daily dollar limit. They may also have a time limit, although many policies last for your entire lifetime. 

Not everyone is eligible for long-term care insurance. If you have a chronic illness or disability, or you are already receiving care for daily living skills, you may not qualify for certain policies. 

How We Review Medical Alert Systems?

To review medical alert systems, we interview consumers and company representatives. We ask about response times, ease of use, system durability, and caregiver tools, among other issues. We also “ghost shop” each system to get the inside scoop on how well they operate. 

We even check the company’s reputation and rating on sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB). We also read scores of customer reviews to gauge each company’s service record. 

Bottom Line

Insurance coverage for medical alert systems is not guaranteed. Some insurers provide coverage for these devices, but others don’t. Always check with your plan to be sure. 

Original Medicare doesn’t cover medical alert system costs, but many Medicare Advantage plans do. Long-term care insurance is your best bet for getting coverage. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The IRS does not include medical alert systems specifically under its guidelines as a deductible medical expense. The IRS does mention deductibility for home improvements to accommodate medical conditions. This phrasing is not specific, so check with your accountant about deducting a medical alert system when you file. If you subtract the cost, you may require a doctor’s prescription as evidence of need.

Pricing is accurate as of April 22, 2022.

WRITTEN BY

Corey Whelan is a writer, health care professional, and Brooklyn, New York native. She is a reproductive health advocate who has helped countless patients through the trials and triumphs of infertility and adoption over the past 25 years. Corey's passion is sharing her knowledge of health and wellness through her writing, and no topic is off limits. She's mom to two grown children and two rescue dogs who captured her heart.