How to get a medical alert bracelet for free

Medical alert bracelets and emergency systems can be quintessential to ensuring senior safety in the home. However, many struggle with finding information on how to get a medical alert bracelet for free or for a reduced cost. Thankfully, many options are available, and we have all of the information you need to discover the best one for you.

Medical Alert Wristband
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You may be familiar with the Life Alert commercials with the tagline “Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!” That slogan is essentially the exact function of a medical alert bracelet—to connect the user with the best source of help if such an accident should arise.

Medicare

Medicare Costs

If you’re enrolled in Medicare, it’s possible to find a policy that compensates you for a medical bracelet. However, before delving up to your elbows in Medicare policies, keep in mind:

  • Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B will not cover expenses for medical alert bracelets.
  • Medicare Part C, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage, can cover part—or all—of the cost for medically necessary devices, of which a medical alert necklace or a bracelet would fall under if the insurance program for your policy deems it medically necessary.
  • Upgrading to Medicare Part C will cost extra because it is considered a premium policy.

Coverage for emergency medical devices varies depending on your state, so it’s best to check your policy before fully committing to buying one. It’s best to get a prescription from your primary care provider to present as justification for your Medicare provider.

Don’t forget: To be eligible for Medicare Part C, you must be currently enrolled in Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

Medicaid

If you’re not having any luck with getting your Medicare policy to cover medical ID alert bracelets or necklaces, don’t worry! There are other avenues to consider, such as Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid wants to do everything it can to keep you safe and sound at home. For this reason, an emergency medical alert device—called a PERS (Personal Emergency Response Services)—is usually considered a justifiable expense for those enrolled.

Depending on how Medicaid is implemented in your state, some programs can help cover the costs of emergency medical alert systems. If there aren’t any programs available for coverage, you can also request waivers from Medicaid to help front the cost for your med bracelet.

Medicaid Programs for Emergency Medical Alert Systems

  • Money Follows the Person
  • Self-Directed Services
  • Medicaid Personal Care Attendant Programs

If there is a particular medical alert system that fits your needs, contact the provider to see if there are any eligible discounts or scholarships they offer that can help cover the cost.

Are medical alert systems free?
  • Yes, and no. It all comes down to your Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) policy, your local hospital’s practices, your medical necessity status and your state’s available programs.
  • It’s best to check with all the available options in this article to see if you qualify for a free medical alert system.
How much does a medical alert bracelet cost?
  • Typically, a medical alert bracelet’s price is affected by activation fees, equipment fees, and monthly fees. The average prices range from $19.95 monthly (Bay Alarm Medical) to $24.95 plus a $99.99 one-time equipment purchase (Aloe Care Health).
  • There are also medical alert equipment options available for purchase without a monthly fee. Keep in mind these typically come with fewer features, such as automatic fall detection, and mostly function as a help button that automatically connects the user to emergency services or set emergency contacts.
  • Be sure to thoroughly research the available product packages to know exactly what features you’re paying for.
Does Medicare cover medical alert equipment/bracelets?
  • If the equipment is determined to be medically necessary based on the patient’s needs, the devices may be eligible for Medicare coverage, but this is only if the patient is enrolled in Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C).
What is the cheapest medical alert device?
  • The cheapest medical alert device that meets our recommended criteria is offered by Bay Alarm Medical. More info about the company’s pricing packages can be found on its website.
What are some conditions that may qualify for a Medicare-funded alert system?
  • Qualification for Medicare funding depends on the discretion of the member’s doctor, or if the member recently stayed at a facility that recommends an alert system.
  • For example, facilities may recommend a medical alert system if the patient has mobility issues or conditions that affect memory, such as dementia.
Pricing is accurate as of February 28, 2022.