Medicare and Life Alert
Life Alert is an advanced medical emergency response system, which is designed to dispatch immediate help to seniors in situations such as a fire breakout, poisoning or any other medical emergency.
Life Alert, like most other emergency response providers, can help elders live an independent life so that retirement homes are not the only option for them especially when they do not require continuous care. Here is a brief description of whether Medicare covers the costs of Life Alert system.
Does Medicare help pay for Life Alert?
Most providers of emergency response system services cater to the nonemergency needs of the beneficiaries as well. MERS (Medical Emergency Response Systems) as well as PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems) offer fire and medical emergency services, though PERS includes help in the case of a nonemergency call as well.
Medicare would not ever cover the costs of a PERS service or device. It may not cover the costs of MERS device and services as well.
Medicare Advantage Plan for Life Alert
Since Medicare part A and B do not pay for Life Alert response systems or other emergency response services, elderly patients may need to check other options available for the coverage.
If seniors need more coverage to improve the quality of their life, the ability to lead an independent life and flexibility, they can sign up for a suitable Medicare Advantage Plan offered by a private insurance company.
These plans may cover some costs for Life Alert system when it is included in the category of medical services and equipment that are not covered by Medicare part A or B.
However, the beneficiaries of a Medicare Advantage Plan have to pay an additional premium on top of the standard premium for Original Medicare Plan A and B.
You need to check the type of assistance provided by the specific Medicare Advantage Plan for the purchase of a device. If the plan also offers additional services such as immediate medical intervention by a registered doctor or other health care professionals, the patients might have to submit an authorization form to emphasize the medical necessity of the services for review to receive approval by the insurance company.
The assistance would be sometimes provided for the emergency response device and not for the emergency response services.
Other options for the coverage of Life Alert
Medicaid generally does not cover personal and emergency response systems. Also, each state may have a varying amount of funding available for seniors through local and state agencies like the Department of Aging and the Department of Social Services. Funding for these programs is different for different states.
Most social service agencies and hospitals provide emergency response services for seniors who qualify. The low-income seniors may be eligible for Life Alert or a similar response service subcontracted through the state.
Other sources of help may come from community-based services that provide emergency help to elderly patients.
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