Medical alert devices provide a crucial service to older adults, allowing them to maintain independence and remain within their own homes. These devices give their children the reassurance that should anything go wrong, emergency services are only a button click away. By simply pushing the button on a personal emergency alert device after a fall, stroke or even heart attack, immediate help will be sent. Below is a basic rundown of things to know about medical monitoring services, including the possibility of insurance coverage. A better understanding of these devices can be found in a medical alert systems review, but many of these reviews won’t tell you whether insurance will cover the cost of these devices.
Falling & the Fear of Falling
Falling among older people is a major problem that is almost unavoidable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in three adults ages 65 and older will fall in any given year. Such falls can result in debilitating injuries from broken hips to head trauma. In many cases, when an older adult falls, he or she may lie helpless for hours or days before being found, resulting in serious complications from dehydration to hypothermia.
Medical Alert System Features
The first medical alert devices were introduced in the 1970s, and they were relatively simple push-button devices worn on the wrist or around the neck. These devices would access a 24-hour call center in the event of an emergency. As technology has become more sophisticated, companies have begun offering more advanced features to accommodate people with active lifestyles. This includes automatic fall detection, medical monitoring, Bluetooth connectivity and even GPS tracking.
Fall detection is one of the more popular features due to the fact that it's more than 95 percent accurate in identifying falls versus regular activity. When it detects a fall, the device automatically alerts emergency services without the need of pushing a button. Some devices even deliver voice messages to users and their caregivers, including alerts for when the user forgets to put on the device. When you compare medical monitoring services, look for these extra features.
Medical Alert Systems & Insurance
Medical alert systems easily qualify as a medical expense, though getting insurance companies to cover it is quite difficult. Most medical insurance companies do not cover medical alert expenses, though they may offer to reduce the monthly cost to families, provided the user qualifies. Insurance organizations like Medicare generally will not cover devices such as these. Some states offer programs that augment Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain criteria pay for the alert systems.
Coverage is typically offered on an individual basis, which means some exceptions can and will be made depending on circumstances and customer standing. Despite the fact these systems improve the lives and health of seniors, insurance companies generally do not consider them an eligible or necessary medical expenditure.
Medical alert devices are an important means of helping older adults maintain their independence. In the event of a fall, older adults can rest assured that they won’t be waiting for hours or days before being found. While the expense of a medical alert system may prove costly at the start, especially if your insurance policy won't cover it, it will be worth the investment in the long run.