When caregivers are shopping for home medical alert device equipment for their aging parents, one question that will inevitably come up is, “Does insurance cover the cost of my home medical alert system?” The short answer is, “It depends.”
Medical professionals will agree that having a home medical alert device will greatly enhance the quality of life and the length of time a senior can age in place. With a home medical alert system, a senior has access to assistance and medical attention 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year. At the push of a button, seniors have peace of mind knowing that they have access to prompt medical care if needed. Even with that knowledge though, Medicaid and Medicare will not provide coverage for this type of in-home equipment. Most insurance companies will not cover the costs of the equipment, either. Individuals are still encouraged to contact their own insurance provider to determine whether they will cover all or even a portion of the equipment. In some cases, having a recommendation from your physician may be required for the insurance company to provide any coverage or compensation toward an in home medical alert device.
Individuals who have long term care insurance coverage may find they do qualify for coverage of the equipment. The reason for this is that long term care insurance is a policy devoted to helping seniors age in place and a home medical alert system can enhance the quality of life for the individual. A home medical device may fall under the “in home care service” provision of a policy. Additionally, many long term care policies cover the cost of “durable medical equipment.”
What can a caregiver and a senior living on a fixed income do if insurance doesn’t provide coverage for these devices? It may be worth a call to the local Office for the Aging in your area to see if there are any resources available to help the elderly individual cover the expense of the devices.
It does make sense to work with a medical alert provider that doesn’t require a contract for the service. Some providers require a long-term contract and this can be a problem if you need to seek a refund for any reason. As caregivers, it may make sense to make the investment in a home medical device for your aging loved ones as a way to offer peace of mind to the entire family. Ask your loved ones whether they’d accept the service as a gift from the family. When you consider that your parents may “have everything they need” it can make gift-giving a challenge and a home medical alert system is a gift of safety and security as your parents continue to age in place.