Older Americans are living longer and more independent lives than previous generations. However, many of them live on a fixed income that comes primarily from Social Security, pension plans, and savings built throughout their life. A fixed income can make necessary medical expenses like medical alert systems costly to pay for out-of-pocket or in full. Despite the sometimes expensive cost, these devices are essential to maintaining older adults’ health and well-being and can prevent significant medical bills from falls or other health emergencies.
Fortunately, there are often discounts for medical alert programs. While rare, there may even be situations where you can get a medical alert bracelet for free. These opportunities are not necessarily available to everyone and will depend on your situation and insurance coverage. This guide will help you find a free or discounted medical alert bracelet.
Check With Your Service Provider
Your best bet for getting a discounted or free medical alert bracelet will be through your insurance provider. There are many variables at play here, from who your provider is to what your plan covers. It’s worth reaching out to your provider and asking them if they will provide partial or full coverage to get a medical alert bracelet or system. In some cases, they will cover at least part of the cost.
Medicaid offers financial assistance to cover medical expenses for those in need. In some cases, Medicaid will provide financial aid, either in part or in full, for a medical alert bracelet. Programs and waivers are available to get these discounted rates, and you’ll need to apply to receive the assistance. The Home and Community Based Services programs, Money Follows the Person, and Personal Care Attendant programs may provide at least some financial relief.
It’s also worth noting that states fund Medicaid, so different states offer different coverage options. Availability may also differ by location, as the Money Follows the Person program is only available in 44 states. Explore what Medicaid in your state offers to see if you qualify for additional support.
Your Medicaid plan may also offer additional waivers that we haven’t listed. You can learn which programs are available by contacting your state’s social services office or reaching out to your Medicaid provider.
Many elderly Americans count on Medicare for their health coverage. Unfortunately, Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B won’t cover medical alert bracelets’ costs in most cases. Medicare Part A is typically for hospital expenses, though it can include hospice, nursing home and in-home care. Medicare Part B covers medical tests and medical equipment costs, but medical alert bracelets are typically not covered.
Medicare Part C, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage, offers supplemental health coverage for older adults insured through Medicare. In some cases, Medicare Advantage will partially or fully cover the cost of a medical alert bracelet. However, there may be restrictions on the alert provider and the type of system they’ll pay for. Explore these details before making a purchase.
Talk to a Senior Assistance Agency
If insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, fall short in covering the costs associated with getting a medical alert bracelet, you may want to check in with local senior assistance agencies. These are typically locally-focused organizations that specialize in assisting seniors. Most of the assistance agencies receive state funding or are managed directly by the state. Their offerings will also vary depending on location. In some cases, these agencies can help you cover the cost of a medical alert bracelet. Check with Area Agencies on Aging for grants and other programs to help.
Medical Alert Providers Offering Free Bracelets
Some medical alert system providers offer free medical alert bracelets or pendants. However, that doesn’t mean there is no cost associated with it. You’ll have to pay a monthly fee, which typically covers monitoring services that will respond to an older adult in need. Check out some medical alert providers who offer free equipment options: