Health & Personal Care

What are medical alert systems and are they covered by Medicare?

What are medical alert systems and are they covered by Medicare?

Elderly family members need extra care in and outside the house, especially if they are alone. They are vulnerable to injuries and falls, which can be extremely devastating. So, to make sure that they receive help as soon as any untoward incident happens, medical alert systems are quite advantageous. Several questions come to mind before buying a medical alert system, like “which is the best medical alert device” and “are medical alert systems covered by Medicare?” To help you make the right decision, here’s all the information you need.

What are medical alert systems?

Medical alert systems are devices that help the senior citizens of your family stay independent for as long as they want. These devices are not only useful for keeping track of your loved ones’ health but also have proven to be extremely beneficial when it comes to saving their lives. These devices have given users the ability to directly connect to an emergency helpline with just a push of a button. In some medical alert systems, the button is automatically pushed whenever there a fall has been detected. Despite the presence of all these facilities, medical alert devices are easy to carry and not at all cumbersome to use. Moreover, they also come in the form of pendants or bracelets that can be easily worn as an accessory and are designed in a way that they are resistant to damage and water.

So, how do medical alert systems work? An external electronic device is connected to the telephone jack in your home. As soon as the emergency button is pushed on the device, it sends a signal to call for a medical response operator. A connection is swiftly established between the user and a professional operator. The operator will speak to you as well as the elder family member about the emergency. In case the person cannot speak, the operator will immediately arrange for emergency services or a caregiver who will reach the user in no time. This is how a medical alert system will help you when you need immediate assistance at home.

Medical alert devices are also designed to provide help even when users it outdoor. There are many systems that cellular networks and GPS on the phone to keep a track. The aim is to provide quick help to the users regardless of their location. The devices that use GPS, they can also prove to be extremely beneficial for people who suffer from memory problems such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. If the user goes wandering away from a particular area, the device sends an alert.

The medical alert devices also come with fall detection. Falls and slips can be a cause of several serious injuries in senior members of the family and can even lead to hospitalization. The sensors installed in the alert systems can send alerts as soon as they detect a fall and can get help at the earliest.

Benefits of medical alert systems for seniors

Medical alert systems are particularly beneficial for seniors, although the commercials of these products could seem a little dramatic. Medical alert systems are beneficial for everyone, but people above a certain age can feel the need for the product. While everyone might feel that they’re not old enough to use a medical alert system yet, let’s discuss some common benefits for seniors.

  • Easy to use
    There’s one thing that we need when we’re thinking of products for seniors, and that is the ease of using the product. One does not need to go to another room, and the wearable option makes it very simple. Once the system is activated, you’re connected to someone at the call center where you can direct your questions and you can get the help needed.
  • Affordable
    Medical alert systems have historically been expensive. However, as technology progresses, they’re becoming increasingly affordable. Make sure to also check up with the insurance company as they also might save some money on the device. You might even end up saving some tax by buying a medical alert system, and there could be further discounts that you can make use of.
  • Simple to install
    The main unit of senior medical alert devices is installed at home. The design is similar to that of an answering machine, and it has a two-way speaker. To get the system online, the unit has to be connected to a phone line as well as a power source. There are few other options for installation, including one that uses a cell phone. It completely depends on what you choose based on your convenience.
  • Numerous options
    While there were limited options a few years ago, there are now a plethora of medical alert systems for seniors to choose from. Then, active seniors could not find much help in the systems. However, at present, all the needs of seniors are increasingly being met by medical alert systems. They can be worn as necklaces and bracelets while swimming, etc. Further, since these have GPS technology, it becomes easier for family and friends to trace seniors in case of an emergency. Newer models have designs that make the machine more discreet so that they can be worn at all times.
  • Reminder for medicines
    The initial medical alert systems work mostly for emergencies, while the current ones have capabilities beyond this. While they can still work efficiently in times of medical emergencies as well as remind you to take your medicines as per the set schedule during the day. Some other tasks that these can perform include monitoring the levels of carbon monoxide and other toxins in the body. Moreover, they can act as fire and smoke detectors and even detect falls. Thus, they’re more beneficial to more people than just those who might have some emergencies.
  • 24-hour surveillance
    If there are seniors who need to be watched at all times to be taken care of, you can take some time off as medical alert systems are working round the clock. They tend to provide peace of mind, no matter what time of the day or night it is.

How much do medical alert systems cost?

There are, undoubtedly, a lot of benefits to using an alert system. The guarantee of safety that it offers makes it a must-have device for anyone who has a senior member in the family. However, when you go out to buy a medical alert system, the price comes into consideration. One of the most important things to note about the pricing of medical alert devices is that there can be several costs linked with a new medical alert system. These costs will be above what you have paid for the device.

These add on costs will be for services such as installation, any additional repairs, monthly fee, replacements, etc.

  • Installation cost
    Installation cost is one of the first things that you will have to pay to get the device started. However, not every medical alert system needs to require an installation. The ones that do require installation, they can charge anywhere an upwards of $100. Make sure that you are completely aware of the requirements of your alert system. There are alert systems that only require unboxing and plugging in and they are ready to use.
  • Device and accessories cost
    This is the cost that you will have to pay for getting the base device and the accessories. The base system will be in the form of a pendant or a wristband. This cost will not include any add-on devices. On average, the base cost of a device will be around $50, though you might find devices priced below than this at times. When you are out to buy a medical alert system, this cost is what you should keep in mind as it is the start-up cost that you will have to pay. This is a one-time cost that you will have to bear. In some cases, you can also get the option of paying the device cost in monthly bills. This makes for a good payment option for many people
  • Base fees
    Every medical alert system will come with a base fee which you will have to pay in the form of monthly bills. The price will depend on a lot of factors such as the system that you choose and the upgrades that you opt for. If you go with the most basic plan, you will have shell out anywhere around $20 a month. If you wish to go for more advanced or higher plans, the monthly fee will be anywhere between $40 and $50.

Is Medical alert covered by Medicare?

Having a medical alert system is extremely essential if you have a senior member in the family. Regardless of how important it might feel to have the system in your home, it does not fall in the coverages that are offered under Medicare. Part A of Medicare will usually cover the cost of hospitalization and will not give cover for medical alert systems. Similarly, part B of the Medicare will cover the visits to doctors along with some medical equipment and ambulance services.

However, can be a few Medicare Supplement insurance plans that can get you some discounts on the price of the medical alert devices. To check if you are eligible for the discount, you will have to call your representative and consult them.

Best medical alert systems to choose from in 2020

When you step out to buy a medical alert system, you will find out that there are so many options offered. This can leave you confused and even make you pick the wrong option. So, to help you get nothing but the best for your loved ones, here is a list of top medical alert systems to choose from.

  • Medical Guardian
    Medical Guardian has been offering 100% customer satisfaction for the last decade. There are a plethora of services offered by their medical alert systems. These include traditional medical alert systems that can be installed inside the home, in-home cellular medical alert systems, two mobile and GPS devices, fall detection, and a smartwatch. The medical alert system is perfect for all senior members of the family who like to stay independent and move around freely. If you have a big house, Classic Guardian can be a good option for you.
  • Bay Alarm Medical
    This medical alert systems company has been offering its durable and trustworthy products since 1946. They offer in-home medical alert systems, cellular in-home systems, and GPS + 4G LTE option for people who have to spend time outside of the home. They have also been the pioneers in the field of giving in-car medical alert systems, allowing senior members to drive safely. Their medical alert systems are also beneficial for people who live in big homes. It has a range of around 1000 feet, which makes it perfect for almost any home.
  • Philips Lifeline
    Philips Lifeline provides in-home and cellular medical alert systems. This is the perfect system for people who are looking for coverage that is not just restricted to the premises of their homes. The device requires professional installation, but you can also install it on your own if you want. It comes with waterproof buttons, fall detection, automatic testing of the power, personalized call response plans, and long-lasting batteries. The customers also do not have to worry about paying hiked monthly renewal prices. They can pay the same amount regardless of the payment plan that they pick. The Philips Lifeline device can be a little expensive as compared to other devices. However, they come with extremely satisfactory customer service and the quality of the product justifies its cost.

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