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Medical Alert Systems: Monthly Subscription or Not?

Are you looking for a free medical alert system for seniors? Some people may qualify for medical alert system coverage. If you do some research, you can find the options and figure out if you qualify.

Subscription vs. no subscription

You might have heard rumors of a medical alert system that doesn’t have any monthly fees, but do not take them seriously. Fee-free systems are real, but they may not be right for you or your loved one. It is important to understand how a no-monthly-fee medical alert system works.

The biggest difference between a medical alert system with and without a monthly fee is where your alert goes after you have pressed the button. The devices that have subscriptions send the alert to a monitoring center to connect you with a trained professional. The call center professionals will also have access to your personal information,such as your medications, emergency contacts, and your location.

Medical alert systems that do not have monthly fee services will send your alert to your pre-determined emergency contact list or 911. With this option, there is a chance that your emergency contact may not be able to answer your alert, but it is cheaper in the long run.

Knowing and understanding how a no-monthly-fee medical alert system is crucial because of where the alerts are sent. Do your research and make sure you pick the one that is best suited for you and your health needs. For example, if people on your emergency contact list live out of state, you may want to consider a system with a subscription. 

No fee options

Once you have decided to go with a no-monthly-fee medical alert system, you still have a variety of options to pick from when finding the medical alert device that is best for you. It could be tempting to find the cheapest option and go with that, but medical alert systems typically hold true with the “you get what you pay for” saying.

The high end medical alert systems can reach around $300, while the less expensive ones can be found for as low as $20. The less expensive devices often have design flaws, limited amount of emergency contacts, and most importantly, short ranges. This means that the distance your medical alert device works is much closer than others.

The ranges for medical alert systems can vary from a mere 50 feet to a whopping 600 feet from the base. Often times, a range of 50 feet is not enough to cover an entire home. The cheaper systems often limit the amount of emergency contacts that you can pre-program into your device as well. 

Medicare coverage

Medical alert systems are known to increase the quality of life for seniors, but most insurance companies will not cover the expenses of a medical alert system or device, including installation and monthly fees. Medicare does not cover the costs of medical alert systems.

No matter what your insurance plan is, you should call to make sure that your insurance does not cover the costs of a medical alert system. For example, Medicare Advantage plans are distributed by private insurance companies, which means they vary greatly. Your plan could cover the costs, or you may qualify for reimbursement. Talk to your doctor about getting a recommendation in order to obtain reimbursement.

If you have long-term care, you may be qualified for reimbursement for a medical alert system and other home care services.

If you have done your research and found that you do not qualify for any help or reimbursement through your insurance, you should call your local aging office for extra resources and potentially financial assistance.

Tax deductible

The IRS does not currently list medical alert systems for itemized tax deductions. However, the IRS will allow a variety of medical expenses to be deducted come tax season.

While the IRS does not allow you to deduct a medical alert system, they do allow you to deduct the cost of having a medical alert system installed. They also allow you to deduct home improvements such as modifying bathrooms, widening doorways, and more renovations to make it easier and safer for you to continue living at home as you age.

In addition, the IRS will allow you to deduct your monthly subscription for a medical alert system under Medical Information Plans. A Medical Information Plan is a record of an individual’s medical history and refers to two possible expenses. The first one being the cost to store health information and being able to retrieve this information from a computer. The second is the cost of transferring or copying medical records for medical care.

According to the IRS, medical care costs include the amounts that are paid for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. 

After you have figured out if you are eligible for the tax deductions, you will need to make sure that you are presenting the claims properly to the IRS in order to have them approved. You are required to itemize deductions for the IRS to recognize them.

Veterans Affairs coverage

If you are a member of the Veterans Affairs, they offer a free phone dialer that you can use as a medical alert system. A free phone dialer is different from a medical alert system because the phone dialer calls out just like any other type of phone call rather than calling for help in the case of an emergency.

In order to receive this device, you will need to contact your local VA Veterans Administration to see if you qualify for the coverage of installation and monthly service charges.

With so many options when it comes to which medical alert system and the service plan you get along with it, it is important to do your research to figure out which option is the best one for you. Whether it is an economic no-monthly-fee option, or an expensive medical alert system with the best medically-trained dispatchers on the other end.

Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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