Medicare is an insurance program run by the United States government. It offers health insurance coverage to people who are over the age of 65 as well as people who meet certain criteria. Medicare covers the following three areas: hospital insurance, medical insurance and prescription drugs. In order for Medicare to pay for something, it must determine that the expense is a medical necessity.
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine what falls under the category of medical necessity. Oftentimes Medicare and the people it provides coverage to have different definitions of the term. For example, does Medicare cover wearing medical id bracelets?
Reasons for Wearing Medical ID Bracelets
Medical alert bracelets worn by people with medical conditions. Also known as medical id bracelets, these bracelets list their medical conditions. If there is an emergency and the wearer is unable to speak, emergency personnel can look at their bracelet to find out if there is a pre-existing condition they should know about.
There are many reasons as to why someone would want wearing medical id bracelets. People with serious food or insect allergies or any other medical condition, often have bracelets in case they are unexpectedly incapacitated and rendered unconscious due to experiencing anaphylactic shock after encountering an allergen. Identification Tags or medical id bracelets are also popular with people who have asthma and diabetes in case they cannot speak due to not being able to breathe or because they have gone into a diabetic coma. Caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients regularly require some form of medical id bracelets due to patients’ tendencies of wandering away and getting lost. People with drug allergies make it their business to have ID’s in case an emergency worker administers the drug they are allergic to in the course of emergency treatment.
Other conditions that warrant medical alert bracelets include having autism, rare blood type, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, a pacemaker, or hypoglycemia.
In addition to listing the medical condition, these medical alert bracelets can also contain a phone number for an emergency responder to call and get more information. The number may be for the wearer’s doctor or an organization such as the MedicAlert Foundation, which will provide additional information on the wearer.
Not a Necessity
Although the benefit of wearing medical alert bracelets is quite clear and has been demonstrated over and over again in emergency situations, Medicare does not cover it. This could be because Medicare does not consider wearing a medical alert to be a medical necessity. Also, since medical alert bracelets do not fall under any of the categories Medicare treats (hospital insurance, medical insurance and prescriptions), Medicare cannot cover it.
Alternative Funding Sources
However, there may be funding available for certain people that really should be wearing a medical alert through state and local agencies. Most of the time this funding is reserved for seniors and can be found by going to the Department of Aging or the Department of Social Services.