Does Insurance Cover Medical Alert Systems in 2024?

May 23, 2024
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Medical alert systems can be lifesaving devices for older adults—these personal emergency response systems can alert emergency authorities when you press the help button or fall (if the device is enabled with automatic fall detection). But medical alert systems aren’t cheap—they generally have starting monthly costs ranging from $20–$45, and often have additional upfront or added services fees. Having insurance coverage to offset those expenses can make the difference for many people.

But does insurance cover medical alert systems like Life Alert and Medical Guardian? Does Medicare or Medicaid pay for medical alert systems?

In this article, our Reviews Team answers some of the top questions related to medical alert systems and insurance coverage. Our goal is to help you learn more and save time while searching for an affordable and top medical alert system.

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Our Reviews Team spent more than 2,500 hours conducting in-depth research on medical alert systems. During our process, we:

Read more about our medical alert systems review methodology.

Are medical alert systems covered by insurance?

Medical alert systems are generally not covered by insurance, but there are some options that might be available, such as Medicare Advantage and private insurance.

How to find out if your insurance covers medical alert systems

Contact your insurance provider to see if you’re covered for the cost of a medical alert system. You can contact your provider by calling the number on the back of your health insurance card or through your plan’s website.

Are medical alert systems covered by Medicare?

Medical alert systems are not covered by Medicare Part A or Part B, but Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, may cover some of the cost. Each plan varies, so confirm coverage with your provider.

To better understand the different parts of Medicare, Christopher Norman, a geriatric nurse practitioner in New York state, recommends talking with “an eldercare attorney, a representative of your county’s agency on aging, or social workers that specialize in older adult care,” all of whom can can be great resources, he said.

For more information on Medicare plan options, check out NCOA’s Age Well Planner.

Medicare Part A

Medicare Part A covers:1

Medicare Part A does not cover:

Medicare Part B

Medicare Part B covers:2

Medicare Part B does not cover:

Medicare Part C

Also known as Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part C includes most of the benefits of Parts A and B, but does not include hospice services or clinical trials.3 A perk of Medicare Advantage, though, is that you can add a private medical insurance plan.

Private plans have different levels of coverage, so it’s important to compare the services each company covers, what the requirements are for being approved for coverage, and what your shared cost will be. To help you decide which company offers the best coverage, speak to different insurance agents to confirm coverage for your specific needs, such as services that promote health and wellness, and transportation to doctor visits.

Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage.4 A majority of medications are covered by Medicare Part D, but it depends on the insurance company administering the plan. All Medicare drug plans generally must cover at least two drugs per drug category, but it’s best to check with your insurance provider to confirm your medications will be paid for.

Why doesn’t Medicare cover most medical alert systems?

“Medicare doesn’t cover most medical alert systems because it doesn’t fit the description of durable medical equipment,” said Paul Miller, a certified public accountant and managing partner at Miller & Company, LLP, in New York. “The laws define what Medicare will pay for, and since [most] medical devices are not included, they’re not allowed in as a medical benefit.”

Are medical alert systems covered by Medicaid?

Medical alert systems are not typically covered by Medicaid.5 But since each state oversees its own Medicaid program, it’s best to reach out directly to your state insurance provider to find out if you can get full or partial coverage.

Services like lab tests, home health, and medical transportation are often covered by Medicaid.

Does the VA cover medical alert systems?

You might be able to get coverage through your Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits if you are a military veteran or spouse of a veteran.6 “Certain Tricare plans cover certain types of [medical] alert systems,” said Norman.

Check with your VA insurance provider to see what coverage is offered based on what your needs are. Tricare is the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families.

How much do medical alert systems cost?

Medical alert systems cost around $20–$45 per month, depending on the device type (at-home or on-the-go). Other costs can include installation, activation, or equipment fees, but those are normally one-time costs. The cost of a medical alert system can also increase with add-on features and services, such as extra wall buttons, virtual doctor visits, or automatic fall detection.

How to save money on medical alert systems

You can save money on a medical alert system in a few ways: sales and holiday specials, using health savings accounts (HSA) or flexible spending accounts (FSA) to pay for the costs, local sheriffs’ offices, or local area agencies for aging.

Sales and holiday specials

Many companies, such as Bay Alarm Medical, offer discounted rates throughout the year. Once you’ve decided on the alert system brands you like best, watch those websites for sales and holiday specials.

Our Reviews Team analyzed the cost of medical alert systems and noticed sales around Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, and other holidays. You can save up to $35 per month with discounted rates and holiday specials.


HSA or FSA funds can help cover the cost of a medical alert system. Louise Norris, a licensed insurance broker in Colorado and analyst for, explained which medical expenses are tax-deductible according to IRS Publication 502.7

Norris pointed out that one of the items listed as eligible for deduction is a “medical information plan.” The IRS describes this as a service that’s paid to keep your medical information in a computer data bank so it can be accessed and shared with medical caregivers when requested. “That is a broad category that will allow you to use HSA or FSA funds to pay the monthly service fee for the medical alert system, since the system will maintain the person’s pertinent medical data on file and transmit it to emergency personnel as needed,” said Norris.

Local sheriff’s office

“Local sheriff’s offices sometimes have grant-funding for free monitoring services,” Norman told us, adding this type of funding varies county-by-county. He recommended calling your local sheriff’s office to see what resources might be available.

Area agencies on aging

Area agencies on aging are city, county, or multi-county agencies that help address the needs of older adults. The goal of these agencies is to help older adults find and choose services that will help them age in place. These agencies are independent of commercial interests and will offer impartial options for a variety of services and resources.

You can see what options are available in your local area. You can also check out Benefits CheckUp to see additional information on services you might be eligible for.

Best affordable medical alert systems

Now that you know some ways to save on medical alert systems, here are some of the most affordable and well-rated systems for those who are budget-conscious.

You can also compare other companies’ devices and services, such as Medical Guardian vs. Medical Alert, to see which will best fit your needs.

As you consider whether a fall detection button should be part of your medical alert package, you might also want to check out NCOA Falls Prevention, a helpful resource for learning the facts about falls, and the steps you can take to stay safe.

Bottom line

Are medical alert systems covered by insurance? Unfortunately, no. While most insurance plans don’t cover medical alert systems, there are some cost-saving options available. From Medicare and Medicaid to HSA/FSA and local area agencies on aging, check these resources to see if help is available to you.

Frequently asked questions

Medicare Part A and Part B do not cover them, but Part C may offer partial coverage. Check with your insurance provider to see if you’re eligible and what the requirements are for coverage.

Although they typically do not qualify as deductible tax expenses, Nick Schrader, an insurance agent with Texas General Insurance in Houston, said there are instances that allow for a partial deduction.“Under IRS Publication 502, a medical alert system must qualify if the information is accessible to medical providers,” said Schrader. “So if you freely allow medical providers to store your health data for close monitoring and emergency response, then the expense for the medical alert system can be partially deductible.”

Paul Miller, certified public accountant and managing partner at Miller & Company, LLP, said other circumstances can also affect tax-deductible status. “Medical alert systems are not explicitly listed as a Schedule A tax deductible item, but may be treated as such in certain situations when a system is prescribed or recommended by a physician in order for [the user] to stay safe while living independently.”

Medical alert systems cost an average of around $35 per month, depending on the type of device you purchase and whether you include fall detection or other services. Installation, activation, and equipment fees can also drive up the initial cost.

To find the best system for you, begin by learning how medical alert systems work and then determine what your needs are. If you spend most of your time close to home and you’re looking for a basic at-home system, GetSafe may be a good option. If you prefer an alert system you can wear on-the-go, like a smartwatch, the Medical Guardian MGMove or UnaliWear Kanega Watch could be a better choice. If you’re budget-conscious, you might consider Bay Alarm Medical, our Reviews Team’s pick for “Best for the Price.”

The least expensive medical alert systems are MobileHelp, and Medical Alert, with starting monthly fees of $19.95. Starting costs for other companies range from $22–$33 per month. Other costs to consider are equipment and activation fees, and whether you want to pay the extra monthly cost for a medical alert system with fall detection.

Have questions about this article? Email us at


  1. What Part A covers. Found on the internet at
  2. What Part B covers. Found on the internet at
  3. Medicare Advantage Plans cover all Medicare services. Found on the internet at
  4. Medicare Part D. Found on the internet at
  5. Medicaid. Found on the internet at
  6. VA Benefits. Found on the internet at
  7. IRS. Publication 502. Found on the internet at
chrissy holm headshot
Chrissy Holm Author
Chrissy Holm is a writer and content editor with experience in health and wellness, weight loss, and hypertension. With her degree in Public Health Education and Promotion, she has designed promotional items, helped clients reach their health goals, and has written about sustainable agriculture and healthy food access for a local Minnesota nonprofit.
Christopher Norman Headshot
Christopher Norman Medical Reviewer
Christopher Norman is a Board-Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Nurse. As a nurse’s aide, registered nurse and now nurse practitioner, he has loved working with older adults since 2004.
Kathleen Cameron
Kathleen Cameron Reviewer
Kathleen Cameron, BSPharm, MPH, has more than 25 years of experience in the health care field as a pharmacist, researcher, and program director focusing on falls prevention, geriatric pharmacotherapy, mental health, long-term services and supports, and caregiving. Cameron is Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Healthy Aging, where she provides subject matter expertise on health care programmatic and policy related issues and oversees the Modernizing Senior Center Resource Center.
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