Why Choose An Outside Provider
There are several reasons for a senior veteran to opt out of the VAs provider network and sign up with a company of their own choice. One reason could be personal preference if a beneficiary has a specific company they feel more comfortable with. Another is the list of features not available with VA-approved systems. Both Latitude USA and MedEquip Alert issue very basic systems to veterans who sign up through the VA. Features available with other systems that may only be had by going outside of the VA include:
- Extra pendants on the same account
- Smartwatches and other sophisticated monitoring or call devices
- Coverage for a spouse at no additional cost
- Medication reminders and/or daily check-ins from provider reps
- Fashion pendants that resemble jewelry
Not all applicants need these features, and a basic system through the VA can be perfectly adequate for many beneficiaries. Applicants who do need one or more of these nonstandard features should ask about their options during the intake consultation with their doctor at the VA to decide what type of system to choose.
Typical Costs Of A System
Youll need to make sure that the medical alert system you choose fits in your budget. The cost of a medical alert system varies greatly by the provider and type of system you choose. Youll find that the most affordable systems on the market start at around $20 per month. For mobile GPS systems or more advanced in-home systems with activity monitoring or other unique features, prices typically jump to about $30 to $50 per month.
In addition to monthly monitoring fees, youll also need to consider the cost of any add-on equipment or features. Fall detection, the most common add-on feature, typically costs around $10 per month, while some providers offer it for a few bucks more or less. Other add ons like protection plans, jewelry accessories, and additional equipment can cost anywhere from $5 to $15 per month, or you may just pay a one-time fee for extra equipment. Once youve chosen your ideal system, be sure to do the math and add up all of your monthly costs along with any upfront fees so you know what to expect on your bill.
Red Dot Pros And Cons:
- Nationality: Red Dot is based in Ottawa, Canada.
- Focus: Red Dot focuses only on the needs of seniors.
- Services: Red Dot offers three services: Two at-home services and a mobile service.
- Help button coverage: Red Dots at-home help buttons have a range of up to 400 metres. Its mobile service coverage is only restricted by the cellular carriers range.
- Help calls are answered in Canada 24/7 at Red Dots bilingual monitoring centre.
- Monitoring staff are certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.
- Two-way voice communication is provided with all Red Dot services.
- Battery backup for up to 36 hours in case of a power outage.
- No installation fee with self installation.
- Modestly priced: Red Dots pricing is competitive.
- No long-term contract.
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Aloe Care Health: Good
Aloe Care Health is a new medical alert provider that we really, really like. Their in-home medical alert system is new, innovative, unique and one of the best available. We also love the caregiver app.
The base station, can be activated by touch or voice a new feature which we love especially for those who may forget to wear their help button. Another feature of the base station we really like is that it allows users to contact family members, caregivers or the monitoring station, allowing users to talk to them through the base station, with excellent sound quality like a speaker phone.
Other unique features of the Aloe Care Health medical alert system, is that it comes with built-in motion, temperature and air quality sensors, a motion activated nightlight and a fantastic Caregiver app, that allows an unlimited number of caregivers and family members to use it. Caregivers can even make check-in calls directly from the app to the base station.
Apps For Smart Devices
- Best for: Tech-savvy seniors
- Pros: Cheapest option, no obvious medical alert system
- Cons: GPS locators can be off, lock screen issues
Apps are great for tech-savvy seniors but arent so great for falls and emergencies.
Most rely on the user unlocking the phone and accessing the app to call for help or they send an emergency text or call for help with a press of a button on the lock screen .
One other downfall is that the app relies on your phone GPS, which we all know can be unprecise at times. But they are great for seniors that love their smartphone and need easy access to their medical information.
The other, better type of app medical alert system is a watch-style device, or an app that works with your smartwatch device. These can monitor your heart rate, use fall detection, and track activity levels.
Just bear in mind that these devices are far from cheap and didnt make it onto our list.
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Do Medigap Plans Ever Have Discounts For Life Alert
It’s not common for Medigap plans to offer discounts for medical alert systems such as Life Alert.
Usually you’ll get the best add-on perks with a Medicare Advantage plan that bundles your coverage rather than through a combination of Original Medicare, Medigap and Part D. However, insurance companies are looking for ways to stand out in a competitive marketplace, and Medigap plans are starting to offer more add-on perks. This means you may start to see more discounts for things like medical alert systems, vision care or hearing aids.
In one example, a free medical alert system from LifeStation is available for those living in California who have Medigap Plan F through Blue Shield of California. But this is rare, and most Medigap providers won’t offer any coverage or discounts for wearable alert devices.
Assistive Technology Services Free Medical Alert Device
I was absolutely staggered to find that the company Assistive Technology Services, who sell a range of medical alert systems, have an ongoing project of providing medical alert devices to people who really cannot afford one themselves.
As I understand it, the system works through the kindness of donations made to Assistive Technology Services, to which the company then adds their contribution.
For each $1 donated, they donate $1.50, and so $2.50 goes towards giving someone a free unmonitored medical alert system.
If you wish to apply to be a recipient, you can go to the link below
Disclaimer: I have absolutely no links whatsoever with this company and have never discussed any of this with the company. I simply came across this on their website while doing my research. The company sells a whole range of unmonitored medical alert systems and devices.
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Price Range And Coverage Of Medical Alert Systems
As mentioned earlier, there are different medical alert system packages that the elderly can avail of. Each package has its coverage and inclusions so ensure to compare medical alert systems before purchasing one. Basic features included in almost all packages include 24/7 monitoring, fall detection, and a 911 alert system.
At Home-Landline Alert Systems
This is the most basic and affordable medical alert system available. It is meant for those who do not venture far from their homes. An At Home-Landline Alert System includes a base station connected to a landline. It also comes with a help button that the elderly can press in case of emergencies.
This kind of medical alert system has a limited range that is usually between 400 to 1,000 feet. This means that the alert system will work properly as long as the user stays within the said effective range.
More expensive units have effective ranges that may work up to 1,500 feet from the base unit. Basic At Home-Landline Alert Systems usually cost around $20 to $35 per month. This is just for the monthly service charge and is exclusive of the cost of the base unit and help button.
At Home-Cellular Alert Systems
This medical alert system works even if the user doesnt own a landline telephone. This is deemed more effective because of the range that cellular networks provide. Aside from the base station and the wearable help button, this package also comes with wireless equipment.
On The Go Medical Alert Systems
People With Chronic Health Conditions
People who have chronic health conditions can also benefit from emergency alert systems. These systems are ideal for people at a higher risk of needing emergency medical attention. Users with chronic medical conditions can also take advantage of features like medication reminders and automatic fall detection that give them additional medical protection.
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Does Medicare Cover The Cost Of A System
Medicare Parts A and B dont cover the cost of an alert system. Part A is designed to cover the cost of major care, such as hospitalizations, while Part B is for short-term treatments, such as doctors visits. However, seniors who are enrolled in Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, may be able to claim a PERS through their plan.
Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies. These plans must cover everything included in Part A and Part B, however, many programs also have additional benefits. Medically necessary devices are a common additional benefit, although its up to the provider to determine exactly what is medically necessary. In most cases, providers dont relate the term medically necessary to any particular condition. Instead, they look at the needs of individual applicants to determine if a PERS can assist their health. For example, if a senior is transitioning from living in a nursing home back to the community, a medical alert system will often be deemed medically necessary.
Features To Look For In A Good Medical Alert System
Above, we mentioned the types of features the best medical alert companies include in their systems. Choosing a personal emergency response system that includes all of the necessary features can ensure that you have the best experience with your system and receive all of the coverage you need to assist you during an emergency.
Here is more information about the features to look out for in the best medical alert systems.
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Best Medicare Advantage Plans For Medical Alert Systems
With an AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan, most enrollees can get a free medical alert system through Philips Lifeline.
AARP/UnitedHealthcare offers the best coverage available because the free alert systems are available to most policyholders, without restrictions. However, coverage can still vary by plan. You can confirm that you’re eligible by checking your Medicare plan’s schedule of benefits or by entering your member number into the Phillips online portal.
|Medicare Advantage plan|
Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area
Humana and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans both provide medical alert systems for as low as $0, but coverage has more limitations or restrictions.
Humana Medicare Advantage plans will only cover medical alert systems when the enrollee has congestive heart failure. And BCBS coverage varies because each of its divisions is independently operated and offers a different set of benefits.
Kaiser Permanente offers the most straightforward communication about their medical alert system coverage. This transparency about policy benefits is one of the reasons that Kaiser Permanente is the best-rated Medicare Advantage company and has so many satisfied customers. However, policyholders only get a 32% discount on the Lively Mobile Plus system, which is not as good as what other companies offer.
What Do The Top Medical Alert Systems Cost
Starting monthly fees generally range from $20$30. That doesnt include one-time equipment fees, which can range from $50$350, and activation fees of up to $100.
The cost of medical alert systems, also known as personal emergency response systems , depends on several different variables. For example, some providers require you to purchase equipment upfront, while others rent their equipment .
Some systems come with the option to add extra products or services, which can mean added costs, while others might include a few freebies. One thing all of the systems in this article have in common is the use of a monitoring center. This means all devices will include a monthly fee. Take a look at the four major cost categories below.
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Lifeline Pros And Cons:
- Help button range: The signal from Lifelines HomeSafe help buttons is 250-300 feet, enough to cover approximately two football fields, more than enough for the home use these help buttons are intended for. The GoSafe mobile help buttons coverage depends only on the wireless carriers range.
- No customer portal: Customers must contact Lifeline in order to make changes to their account or service.
No Monthly Fee Systems
Systems without monthly fees are typically simple and easy to use. This is a plus. On the other hand, they often dont include advanced features that you may find useful or even lifesaving, such as fall detection pendants. Fall detection is a somewhat recent technology: If you fall while wearing your pendant, it will automatically detect the fall and send an alert to the monitoring center, whether you remain conscious or not. One in three older adults fall at least once per year,1 so this is a feature we highly recommend.
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Will My Health Insurance Pay For A Medical Alert System
Some health insurance plans do cover the cost of a medical alert system, but it can vary widely depending on the provider, the type of coverage and a seniors location and income. Often, systems arent clearly outlined as a benefit, so its important to check with individual providers. Emergency response systems are eligible medical expenses for people with a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account .
Your Area Agency On Aging
Area Agencies on Aging provide services to help adults 60 and over, their family and caregivers receive the information and assistance they need in locating and accessing community services.
The services include information, benefits counseling and legal assistance.
There are over 600 Agencies nationwide.
Your local Area Agency on Aging should have information on any programs run locally or by your state which will offer financial assistance for medical alert systems.
If you wish to locate your local office, you can use the locator here.
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What Is A Medical Alert System And How Does It Work
A medical alert system is a device that can connect you with an emergency medical provider with the touch of a button. Most mobile and home medical alert systems work as follows:
Most at-home systems have the option of connecting to your landline or using a cellular connection through companies like AT& T or Verizon. Meanwhile, mobile devices typically use a cellular network and GPS tracking to determine your precise location when you make emergency calls.
Many emergency response systems include additional features outside of this basic process. For example, some systems come with a caregiver dashboard that your loved ones or caregivers can use to track your activity and make sure you’re safe throughout the day. Many systems also come with a fall detection device that can automatically alert the response team if you fall.
Is One Call Alert Right For Me
One Call Alert offers a solid variety of medical alert systems for all types of seniors. Wed recommend One Call Alert for:
- Those who want affordable in-home protection
- Couples or roommates
- Seniors who dont need high-tech features
- Older adults who live in large multi-story homes
For the full rundown on our experience with this provider, check out our One Call Alert review.
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What The Experts Say
When you experience a fall, medical issue or other emergency, every second counts. If you are alone, delayed medical care can jeopardize your recovery and your independence. A Personal Emergency Response System provides simple, fast access to help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Mayo Clinic
Think about wearing an alarm device that will bring help in case you fall or cant get up. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What if you fell while your family member was out doing errands? What if you fell and were simply unable to shout for help? If you have an alert system, youll save precious time and get treatment sooner. Harvard Medical School
A medical alert system or fall monitor can provide increased independence for our loved one and peace of mind for us as family caregivers. AARP
The Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems For Seniors
While there are several medical alert systems on the market, each with its fair share of advanced features and technologies, those who are on a tighter budget need not worry.
Some of the more affordable medical alert systems are just as functional and useful for emergencies as any other high-tech model. You can also find great deals on packages that suit your preferences best.
Before coming to a decision on your chosen medical alert system, it’s important that you assess your particular needs. Cheaper systems may provide basic services and functions, which could be just enough to ensure that you get the proper help needed during emergencies.
- Starting price has a lot of equipment
- Licensed in 50 states
You may already be familiar with the GetSafe brand because they specialize in home security systems. However, they also have medical alert systems available for those who do not have a landline. Its starter package is priced at $99, and you will then have to pay $24.95 every succeeding month.
The starter package also has four buttons: a voice-activated wall button, a standard wall button, a traditional wearable button, and a 4G LTE cellular base station. Each of its three equipment plans has a one-time payment.
Should you run into any emergencies or need any assistance, you will be able to seek the help of monitoring professionals. Devices are connected to their base stations through cellular technology.
- Free ground shipping in the United States
- Compliance monitoring features
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