Should Medicaid Pay For Home Medical Alert Systems?

Currently, most state Medicaid programs do not pay for home medical alert systems.  These medical alert systems are often referred to as Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). In order to obtain Medicaid funding, a local Medicaid waiver is required in most municipalities. For example, the state of New York requires PERS providers to collect personal data from each subscriber of medical alert systems.  It’s my opinion that unless you are willing to just hand over your personal and confidential information to government employees that you should think twice about having Medicaid pay for your home medical alert system.

This personal data which must be provided to the state is:

• The client’s name, telephone number and address, including an apartment number and floor, where applicable;

• Personal medical history, including age, sex, medical condition, primary diagnosis, and other relevant medical history;

• The name, telephone number, and address of each person whom the PERS recipient has designated as the emergency responders;

• The name, telephone number and address of the person whom the PERS client has designated as his/her representative, if different from the emergency responder;

• The client’s written authorization for the emergency response organization and emergency responder to enter his/her home and provide emergency treatment and transportation; and

• The name, telephone number, and address of the client’s physician and preferred hospital.

If you are willing to give up this personal data to state and local government employees, then maybe you should think about applying for a Medicaid waiver in order to purchase a home medical alert system. For many of us, the amount of personal and confidential information required is simply not worth it. Once this information is in a government database, who will have access to it in the future? How will this information be used? Could it affect your health care costs down the road?

Could there be certain circumstances where the risks of releasing your private information to government employees are justified?  One such reason may be the cost of having a home medical alert system. If $30 to $50 a month for the system is just not financially possible, then it may warrant divulging your private and confidential information in order for you to remain independent and secure in your home.

In conclusion, know that if you choose to apply for a Medicaid waiver to obtain a home medical alert system that you will have to share your private and confidential information with your state or local municipality in order to obtain Medicaid funding.  Decide for yourself whether this is something you are need and are willing to do.

I encourage your comments and responses on whether or not Medicaid should pay for home medical alert systems.


  1. Medicaid Application Texas says:

    I’m not finished read this yet, but it’s so fabulous ‘n I’ll back again when I was finished my job 😀

  2. Deborah Thelen says:

    People have to give this info to receive Disability and Medicaid anyway. It seems like a non-issue since you wouldve had to give up this info anyway to those agencies.

  3. This is true but it’s just one more chance your information could be used for identity theft. The South Carolina Department of Revenue had a data breach in 2012 and millions of South Carolinian’s had their personal data stolen. See I don’t know about you but I don’t like giving my information to multiple government or private industries if I don’t have too.

  4. You point out some of the reasons its so ipmartont for seniors to talk with a qualified elder law attorney when the begin to plan for their long term care needs. I was meeting with a client today who had worked with a general practice attorney and an annuity salesman on transferring some of mom’s assets. We should be able to undo the damage, but the family would have been much better off working with a NAELA attorney from the start.

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