Does United Healthcare Cover Life Alert?

In this article...
  • Find the answers to commonly asked questions about the United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan. For instance, does United Healthcare cover Life Alert?

UnitedHealthcare logo

 

Medical alert systems such as Life Alert can be invaluable to seniors, particularly those who wish to retain their independence and age in place rather than moving to a retirement home or assisted living facility. But these devices can get expensive. They usually have an upfront cost as well as a monthly monitoring fee.

Fortunately, many Medicare Advantage plans cover some or all of the cost of a medical alert system. Does United Healthcare cover Life Alert? Find out the answer to this and other commonly asked questions in the guide that follows.

Compare UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plans near you that may cover Life Alert systems.

What Is Life Alert?

Life Alert is a medical alert system that consists of a wearable help button linked wirelessly to a device in your home that connects to an emergency response call center. If you suffer a fall or any other type of medical emergency, you can simply hit the button. This can be life-saving in a situation where you aren't physically able to reach your phone to call 911. The call center will dispatch a medical team to your home. You can also use the device if you feel you're in danger for any other reason, such as an intruder in your home.

While Life Alert might be the most recognizable brand of medical alert system thanks to its ubiquitous marketing efforts, it is far from the only option. Many competing brands offer the same capabilities and more. Before choosing a device, it is a good idea to compare features and determine which model your Medicare plan covers.

Does United Healthcare Cover Life Alert?

United Healthcare's Medicare Advantage plan, offered in partnership with the AARP, doesn't cover the specific Life Alert brand. It does, however, cover Philips Lifeline, a competing brand of medical alert system. The Philips product offers nearly all the same features as Life Alert plus several additional capabilities, making it a viable substitute and a superior product.

Does United Healthcare Have a Copay or Co-Insurance for Life Alert?

With United Healthcare's Medicare Advantage program, you do not pay a copay for a medical alert system through Philips Lifeline. There is no upfront cost for the product or monthly maintenance fee for the monitoring service.

Are Other Medical Alert Systems the Same as Life Alert?

Most medical alert systems have the same basic capabilities, but some have features that others lack. Before purchasing a medical alert system — or choosing a Medicare Advantage plan specifically because it pays for one — it is a good idea to compare its features to other models and make sure it does what you need it to.

Because the Phillips Lifeline product is covered by United Healthcare, it might be useful to compare it side by side with the Life Alert system. The table below lists the features and benefits available on both products.

Feature

Philips Lifeline

Life Alert

Water-resistant

Yes

Yes

Wearable technology

Yes

Yes

Landline connectivity

Yes

Yes

Wireless connectivity

Yes

Yes

Two-way voice capability

Yes

Yes

Fall detection

Yes

No

Location detection

Yes, on mobile devices via GPS

Yes, on mobile devices via GPS

Lockbox

Yes

No

Medication dispenser

Yes

No

How Much Does a United Healthcare Plan That Covers Life Alert Cost?

The average cost of a United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan covering a medical alert system ranges from $15 per month for a plan with a local PPO provider network to $74 per month for a private-fee-for-service plan. Keep in mind that these monthly premiums are on top of your Medicare Part B premium. A financial advisor can discuss your needs with you and guide you toward the best plan for your budget.

The table below shows the average premium costs for different types of United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plans.

Type of plan

Average monthly premium

Local PPO

$15

HMO-POS

$15

HMO

$22

Regional PPO

$43

Private-fee-for-service

$74

https://www.valuepenguin.com/aarp-uhc-medicare-advantage-review

Other Medicare Advantage Plans That Cover Life Alert

None of the major Medicare Advantage plans cover the Life Alert brand of medical alert system. Several plans cover competing models, but some have stipulations and caveats. For instance, Humana's Medicare Advantage plan also covers the Philips Lifeline product but only for seniors with congestive heart failure. Blue Cross Blue Shield covers the full cost of the Lively Mobile Plus product on some of its plans but not all. Other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover the LifeStation product in full.

Kaiser Permanente, Aetna and Wellcare offer Medicare Advantage plans that cover medical alert systems, but these plans require you to pay a portion of the monthly fee for the monitoring service.

The Cost of Life Alert and Other Medical Alert Systems Without Insurance Coverage

If your Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan doesn't cover a medical alert system, the good news is there are models available with low up-front and monthly monitoring costs. Before buying one, however, you should understand its features and capabilities and make sure it offers the security and protection you need.

The table below lists the upfront and monthly costs of several popular
medical alert systems if you don't have insurance coverage.

Product

Up-front cost

Monthly monitoring fee

Life Alert

$95

$50

Philips Lifeline

$50

$30

LifeStation

$0

$33

Medical Guardian

$0

$30

Lively Mobile

$50

$25

Bay Alarm Medical

$0

$20

 

Read More
A woman looks into equipment while getting an eye exam
Cataract treatment can be expensive, but a UnitedHealthcare plan can help. Learn whether UnitedHealthcare ...
Home health nurse measures patient's blood pressure
Many UnitedHealthcare Medicare plans cover more home health care services than Original Medicare (Parts ...
A woman holds a prescription bottle while speaking with her pharmacist
Our review of Kaiser Permanente vs. UnitedHealthcare highlights the differences in each insurance ...