Does Medicare Cover Zoll LifeVest?

If you don’t treat a sudden cardiac arrest right away, it can be fatal. This is why many Medicare recipients who are at a higher risk for experiencing this event could end up wearing a defibrillator. One such device is the Zoll LifeVest. Since this can be an expensive medical device, many people wonder if their Medicare benefits extend to help cover the cost. 

Medicare Benefits Solutions

Mar 6, 2021

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Medical conditions that could cause a sudden cardiac arrest

Cardiac arrest is when you have an irregular heartbeat. The cause of these irregularities is an electrical malfunction inside the heart that disrupts this organ’s ability to pump blood properly. A cardiac arrest can deprive your organs and brain of the critical blood flow they need to function correctly. From the onset of experiencing cardiac arrest, death can happen within a few minutes.

There are certain symptoms that can forewarn you of cardiac arrest, but many people have no symptoms. There are certain medical conditions that put you at a higher risk for having a cardiac arrest, and they include: 

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of heart attacks
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Viral heart infection
  • Weakened muscles in the heart

There are also several lifestyle factors that can increase your chances of having a sudden cardiac arrest. The most common ones are alcohol abuse, smoking, and carrying around excess weight. Your primary care provider can look at your medical history and make recommendations of lifestyle factors to decide how at-risk you are of having a sudden cardiac arrest. 

How Zoll LifeVest Works

A defibrillator is a medical device that puts out an electric current to stimulate the heart muscles to fall back into their normal rhythm. There are three pieces to the Zoll LifeVest, and they include: 

  • Halter – This is the part of the device that you wear under your clothing up against the skin. 
  • Electrode Belt – These nodes will detect any changes to your heart’s normal rhythm. It works to connect the monitor to the halter.
  • Monitor – Finally, this is a battery-operated piece of equipment that records your heart rate. When it senses abnormalities, it triggers the defibrillator to send pulses of electricity to your heart. 


The Zoll LifeVest has a very discreet design, and you’ll only see the monitor on the outside of your clothing. You can wear the monitor around your waist or over your shoulder when you’re out and about. When this equipment detects someone is going into cardiac arrest, it’ll release a blue gel. This gel is a conduit to help the electrical pulse get to the heart without burning the skin. It’s not resistant to water, and you want to remove it before showering or bathing. 

Medicare benefits and Zoll LifeVest coverage

Any Medicare recipient who gets advised to wear this product will have to meet several strict requirements for Medicare to cover the cost. First, you’ll need a recommendation from a cardiologist. Your primary care doctor’s recommendation won’t be enough. You’ll also need to provide clear documentation that you have a medical need and necessity for this product as a result of having a qualifying medical condition. 

Medicare will cover the cost temporarily until you can get an implantable defibrillator. While you wait for your implantable one, you’ll get rental terms that include coverage for any delivery, related equipment, supplies, parts, or repair of the device. You could only get a certain number of months for coverage, and you may have to go to monthly appointments for review. 

You do want to make sure that you have coverage for this product because it can cost right around $3,370 per month to rent. For Medicare recipients, you’ll want to call your insurance company and make sure they offer adequate coverage before you choose to get it.

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