How We Found The Best Medical Alert Systems
10 Companies Selected
23 Companies Considered
5 Experts Consulted
35 Metrics Examined
400+ Hours of Research

At a Glance: The Best Medical Alert Systems

We created this guide to help seniors and their loved ones choose a reputable and affordable medical alert system, which is often also referred to as life alert systems or fall alert devices. Our team spent over 400 hours researching medical alert devices, conducting hands-on testing, and consulting with experts to determine the best medical alert systems available today. Below, we provide details about the top 9 medical alert companies and their devices, explain common medical alert features, offer advice for choosing the right life alert system, and answer frequently asked questions so you can feel confident you’re choosing the best device for you and your loved ones to be protected in the event of a fall or medical emergency.

Overview Of The Top Recommended Medical Alert Systems
Bay Alarm Medical
  • Starts at $19.95
  • In-Home, Mobile GPS, & Smartwatch Options
  • Free Shipping + Free Month on Select Plans
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MobileHelp
  • Starts at $19.95
  • Free Lock Box
  • No Landline Required
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Aloe Care
  • Starts at $24.99 monthly + one-time equipment fee
  • In-home and mobile devices available
  • Hands-free system with motion detection
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Medical Guardian
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Free Shipping & Lock Box
  • Caring.com Special: 1 Month Free
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MedicalAlert
  • Starts at $18.28
  • Up to 800 Feet of Range
  • Starting Fee as Low as $0
See Packages → Read Our Review →
LifeFone
  • Starts at $20.79
  • Up to 1,300 Feet of Range
  • Starting Fee as Low as $0
See Packages → Read Our Review →
GetSafe
  • Starts at $24.95
  • 1,000 Feet of Range
  • Monthly Fall Detection At Just $10/mo
See Packages → Read Our Review →
MedicalCareAlert
  • Starts at $29.95
  • Up to 1,000 Feet of Range
  • Monthly Fall Detection At Just $10/mo
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Qmedic
  • Starts at $25
  • Up to 1,000 Feet of Range
  • No Intial Fees
See Packages → Read Our Review →
Rescue Touch
  • Starts at $99
  • Monthly Fall Detection At No Extra Cost
  • Unique Two-Way Communication
See Packages → Read Our Review →

How We Chose the Best Medical Alert Systems

Our team identified the top 23 medical alert companies based on device offerings and online reviews and evaluated them for cost, feature and device availability, and reliability and reputation. We divided our criteria into five main categories (“core metrics”) and 28 subcategories (“sub metrics”) to determine a score for the companies and then ranked them in order of the scores. We included those that ranked in the top ten places as the ten medical alert companies on our list to deliver a data-driven compilation of the best medical alert options for seniors and their loved ones. Our guide was then reviewed by Christopher Norman, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, for accuracy. 

Core Metric Overview

  • In-Home Systems Cost and Capabilities: 25%
  • Mobile Systems Cost and Capabilities: 25%
  • Reliability and Reputation: 20% 
  • Extra Features and Add-On Devices: 15% 
  • Fees and Contracts: 15%

Read our full Methodology for a detailed explanation of how we ranked and chose the nine best medical alert systems.

Compare The Best Medical Alert Systems

While all companies listed on this page offer high-quality medical alert systems and monitoring service, there are some differences between them all. Importantly, the available features will vary depending on which company you choose. Beyond emergency monitoring and 24/7 live support, the other capabilities of the systems do differ. We created this table below so you can easily see which companies offer systems equipped with the features you’re looking for. For a further explanation into the various features offerred by life alert devices, check out our section on Understanding Medical Alert System Features.

Fall Detection
GPS Location Tracking
Activity Tracking
Caregiver Portal/App
Medication Reminders
Multilingual Support

Expert Reviews of the Best Medical Alert Systems

Best for Customer Service

bayalarm medical device

Bay Alarm Medical currently offers four medical alert systems. All Bay Alarm Medical devices are priced competitively, and customers who have a landline can take advantage of one of the lowest monthly monitoring costs among the top companies we’ve reviewed. Emergency monitoring with Bay Alarm Medical starts at just $19.95 a month with no activation, equipment, or installation fees.

The company is committed to providing excellent customer service, and has a LiveChat box on its website so prospective and existing customers can receive immediate assistance and support. Its U.S.-based customer service team is also available to assist customers via phone seven days a week. Bay Alarm Medical’s Customer Care Consultants undergo rigorous training to ensure that customer experience is positive, pleasant, and consistent.

bay alarm medical logo

Best For Customer Service

Best for

Customer Service

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bay alarm medical

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Best medical alert badge

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Geofencing available
  • Monitoring service is available in 170 languages
  • On the Road provides excellent coverage for seniors who drive
  • Change or cancel plans at any time

Cons:

  • Limited accessories compared to other companies
  • Most plans include basic coverage and will cost more as features are added on

Pricing and Plans

Features
N-HOME (LANDLINE)
ON THE GO
ON THE ROAD
SOS SMARTWATCH
Monthly Cost
$19.95
$29.95
$29.95
$29.95
Type of Device
In-home system
Mobile system
In-car system
Mobile system
Connection
Landline
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
32-hour backup
3 days
N/A
8-24 hour
Water Resistant
Yes
Yes
N/A
Yes
Range
1,000 feet
N/A
N/A
N/A
Fall Detection
$10 a month
$10 a month
N/A*
Not available

*Automatic crash detection is included

Bay Alarm Medical offers four devices, which cost between $21.95 for a basic in-home system and $24.95 a month for a fully mobile unit. All devices are paid for on a month-to-month basis; there are no long-term payment options. There is a 30-day cancellation window during which new customers may cancel their service and receive a full refund, minus shipping costs.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

Bay Alarm Medical partners with a U.S.-based call center with locations in Utah and Idaho for medical alert monitoring services. The company is UL-listed and 5 Diamond certified.  

Bay Alarm Medical cellular devices utilize AT&T and Verizon cellular networks to connect with the monitoring centers. They can be used anywhere in the United States that has cellular service.

Contact Bay Alarm Medical for a Quote Get Quote

Our in-depth review on Bay Alarm Medical Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Most Affordable In-Home System

mobilehelp medical device

MobileHelp offers a large selection of reliable personal emergency response systems, ranging from basic in-home units to high-tech portable devices. Its prices for both in-home and portable systems are some of the most affordable, and unlike many other medical alert providers, MobileHelp doesn’t charge extra for its cellular in-home systems. As a result, its classic plan with a cellular connection is the least expensive among the top companies we reviewed. And, the company’s online web portal and mobile app, MobileHelp Connect, and partnership with telehealth provider MDLIVE provide additional benefits for users and their caregivers. 

MobileHelp also has excellent customer service, a robust and informative website, and its monitoring center is staffed with well-trained operators and offers quick response times. Users may also add on a medication scheduling feature that can help them manage complicated medication regimens. Overall, MobileHelp is a top option to consider for those looking for quality service and devices at a reasonable price.

mobilehelp logo

Most Affordable In-Home System

Most Affordable In-Home System

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mobilehelp logo

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Best medical alert badge

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No need for a landline with any device
  • No extra charge for cellular connection
  • Range of premium features

Cons:

  • Some customers will need to pay an activation fee
  • Fall detection not available for all devices

Pricing and Plans

Feature
Classic
Wired Home
Touch Classic
Solo
Micro
Duo
Mobile Duo
Touch Duo
Monthly Cost
$19.95
$24.95
$54.95
$37.95
$33.95
$41.95
$44.95
$54.95
Type of Device
In-home system
In-home system
Mobile tablet
Mobile system
Mobile system
In-home and mobile system
Mobile system
In-home, mobile, and tablet
Connection
Cellular
Landline
Cellular and WiFi
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
24-hour backup
30-hour backup
24 hours; 12-hour backup
24 hours
4 days
24 hours; 24-hour backup
24 hours
24 hours; 12-hour backup for tablet
Water Resistant
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Range
1,400 feet
1,300 feet
150 feet
N/A
N/A
350 feet; 1,400 feet
350 feet
150-350 feet
Fall Detection
$10 a month
Not available
$10 a month
$10 a month
Optional built-in for $60 a year
$10 a month
$10 a month
$10 a month

*Base stations and wall buttons are not waterproof. The fall button and mobile device are water-resistant for wearing in the shower. The neck pendant and wrist button are waterproof.

MobileHelp’s systems range in price from $19.95 to $54.95 a month, and can be paid for monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Free shipping is included with quarterly, semi-annual, and annual payments. The longer payment periods also are slightly less expensive on a month-to-month basis. Customers who pay for their device on a monthly basis must pay $15 for shipping. All customers are eligible for MobileHelp’s 30-day free trial period for all of its devices.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

MobileHelp contracts Rapid Response to provide medical alert monitoring to its customers. The company is a member of The Monitoring Association (TMA).

MobileHelp devices use the AT&T network to connect to the monitoring center. The mobile devices will work nationwide anywhere there is AT&T cellular coverage.

Contact MobileHelp for a Quote Get Quote

Our in-depth review on MobileHelp Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best for Seniors Who Don’t Want to Wear a Pendant

aloe care basic system

Aloe Care offers highly-advanced, hands-free medical alert systems for independent older adults. Its voice-activated system keeps seniors safe and connected to their caregivers without the need to wear a medical alert necklace each day. Its device options include an in-home, motion-sensing base station, a small mobile unit that you can put in your pocket or purse without wearing it, and a lightweight emergency alert button that you can wear around your wrist. Aloe Care also has a mobile app that you can use to monitor the wearer’s activity levels, check in with other members of the care team, and more. 

Aloe Care Health logo

Best for Seniors Who Don’t Want to Wear a Pendant

Best for Seniors Who Don’t Want to Wear a Pendant

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Aloe Care Health logo

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Hands-free, voice-activated system and no wearable required
  • State-of-the-art privacy protocols and personal data protection
  • Mobile app makes caregiver collaboration easy
  • Built-in temperature and air-quality sensors

Cons:

  • All customers must pay an up-front device purchase fee of $100 or more

Pricing and Plans

Mobile Companion

Essentials

Essentials Plus

Total Care

Monthly Cost

$24.99

$29.99

$39.99

$49.99

Type of Device

Mobile system

In-home system

In-home and mobile system

In-home and mobile system

Connection

Cellular

Cellular

Cellular

Cellular

Battery Life

4-5 days

4-6 hour backup

4-5 days mobile, 4-6 hour backup

4-5 days mobile, 4-6 hour

Water Resistant

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Range

Nationwide

30 feet voice range; 200 feet button range

Nationwide

Nationwide

Fall Detection

Included in monthly cost

Not available

Included in monthly cost

Included in monthly cost

Aloe Care’s plans range in price from $24.99 to $49.99, which users pay on a month-to-month basis. In addition to the monthly service charge, Aloe Care users purchase their equipment for an initial one-time fee of $100-$300, depending on which plan they choose. There are no additional startup fees for installation or activation, but customers may need to pay for shipping. 

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

Aloe Care devices are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the professional emergency response center. The center is Five Diamond Certified by The Monitoring Association. 

All Aloe Care systems come equipped with 4G LTE cellular service, so no landlines are required to use an Aloe Care device. WiFi is not required for the Essentials plan, but is needed for the Smart Fall Sensor included in the Total Care plan.

Contact Aloe Care for a Quote Get Quote

Our in-depth review on Aloe Care Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Editor’s Choice

guardian medical device

Medical Guardian stands out for its wide variety of premium features and diverse device offerings. Several of its devices include features that go beyond standard emergency monitoring, such as a caregiver portal, location and activity tracking, and voice-to-text messaging. This makes it a good choice for those who want added peace of mind or don’t like traditional medical alert options. On top of these extra features, Medical Guardian offers six device options, which is more than any other company on our list. 

medical guardian logo

Editor’s Choice

Editor’s Choice

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medical guardian logo

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Large selection of systems with prices starting as low as $1/day
  • Availability of premium features
  • Lightweight and waterproof devices

Cons:

  • Mobile systems are pricier than the industry average
  • Some customers must pay for shipping

Pricing and Plans

Features
Classic Guardian
Home 2.0
Mini Guardian
Mobile 2.0
MGMove Smartwatch
Monthly Cost
$29.95
$34.95*
$39.95*
$39.95*
$39.95-$44.95**
Type of Device
In-home system
In-home system
Mobile system
Mobile system
Smartwatch-style device
Battery Life
32-hour backup
32-hour backup
5 days
5 days
24 hours
Range
1,300 feet
1,400 feet
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Fall Detection
$10 a month
$10 a month
$10 a month
$10 a month
Not available

* One-time device cost of $124.95
**One-time device cost of $199.95

Medical Guardian has five different plans to choose from, ranging from $29.95 a month to $39.95 a month. The company doesn’t charge device activation fees or installation fees for most of its devices. However, the “Home 2.0,” “Mini Guardian,” and “Mobile 2.0” require a one-time equipment fee of $124.95. Similarly, the “MGMove” (the smartwatch-style device) requires a one-time equipment fee of $199.95. Currently, Medical Guardian doesn’t provide free shipping, but no cancellation fees are ever charged. Those who choose to pay for their service on an annual basis will receive a discount from the base monthly cost.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

Medical Guardian uses a U.S.-based, third-party monitoring service. It is certified by The Monitoring Association (TMA) and is a member of the Electronic Security Association.

Medical Guardian cellular devices use AT&T’s network to connect with the monitoring center. Users are able to connect with the center anywhere in the United States with cellular service. 

Contact Medical Guardian for a Quote Get Quote

Our in-depth review on Medical Guardian Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best for Low Startup Costs

medical-alert medical device

Medical Alert is one of the United States’ largest providers of medical alert devices, serving hundreds of thousands of users. It offers three high-quality devices, none of which carry any extra fees, and the company does not charge any activation, installation, or equipment fees for any of its devices. 

Medical Alert makes our list of the top medical alert companies because of the excellent value it provides customers. All three Medical Alert systems offer around-the-clock protection and reliable equipment and services at a very reasonable cost, helping seniors stay safe and stick to their budget. 

medical alert logo

Best For Low

Start-Up Costs

Best for Low

Start-Up Costs

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medical alert logo

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Free lockbox provided with annual subscription plans for in-home systems
  • International coverage (U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
  • No extra one-time fees
  • No long-term contracts or cancellation fees, and offers prorated refunds

Cons:

  • Limited extra features and accessories
  • Fall detection not included in monthly cost for any devices

Pricing and Plans

Features
AT HOME LANDLINE
AT HOME NO LANDLINE
ON THE GO
Monthly Cost
$22.95
$32.95
$42.95
Type of Device
In-home system
In-home system
Mobile system
Connection
Landline
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
30-hour backup
30-hour backup
5 days
Water Resistant
Yes**
Yes**
Yes**
Range
Up to 800 feet*
Up to 800 feet*
N/A
Fall Detection
$10 a month
$10 a month
$10 a month

*Pendant coverage is subject to device location, environment, equipment and facility conditions.
**The help buttons and fall detection buttons are waterproof.

Medical Alert’s devices range in price from $22.95 to $42.95 a month when paid for on a monthly basis. Semi-annual and annual payment options are also available and lower the cost by several dollars per month. 

Medical Alert offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its systems. If a user is unsatisfied with their Medical Alert device, they can return it within the first 30 days for a full refund. Outside of the initial 30-day window, customers can cancel their service plan at any time without penalty and receive a prorated refund.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

Medical Alert’s devices are monitored around-the-clock by trained operators. The monitoring center is completely redundant and UL-approved. Operators are trained to use the International Language Line for translation services, enabling them to offer emergency support in over 140 languages. 

Medical Alert uses the AT&T wireless cellular network to connect users of its On the Go and At-Home No Landline to the monitoring center. The portable On the Go device works in all fifty states as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Contact Medical Alert for a Quote Get Quote

Our in-depth review on Medical Alert Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best Standalone Mobile App

lifefone medical device

LifeFone offers five high-quality medical alert device options and has an easy-to-use smartphone app, Mobile Alert. Customers can use Mobile Alert to contact the call center as they would with their medical alert device. It can also be used as a “virtual escort service” if users are ever in a situation that makes them feel unsafe.

As a completely standalone app, Mobile Alert sets LifeFone apart from other medical alert companies and makes medical alert services more accessible to all.

lifefone logo

Best Standalone

Mobile App

Best Standalone

Mobile App

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lifefone logo

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Large range on in-home devices
  • Variety of services help users feel protected in every situation
  • No long-term service contract or extraneous startup fees
  • Free monitoring for a second family member/person who lives in the same household

Cons:

  • Additional fees apply for add-ons that some other companies offer for free
  • Shorter than average battery life

Pricing and Plans

Features
At-Home Landline
At-home Cellular
At-Home & On-the-Go
At-Home & On-the-Go, Voice-in-Pendant
VIPx
Monthly Cost
$29.95
$34.95
$39.95
$43.95
$45.95
Type of Device
In-home system
In-home system
In-home and mobile system
Mobile System
Mobile System
Connection
Landline
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
32-hour backup
32-hour backup
24 hours mobile; 30-hour backup in-home
30 days
16 days
Water Resistant
Yes*
Yes*
Yes*
Yes
Yes
Range
1,300 feet
1,300 feet
1,400 feet in-home, 600 feet mobile
N/A
N/A
Fall Detection
$5 a month
$5 a month
$10 a month
$5 a month
$5 a month

*The help button and fall detection pendant are water resistant.

LifeFone offers five different medical alert systems. All of the devices may be paid for on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis and come with a 30-day risk-free trial, during which customers can return the equipment for a full refund. Additionally, customers can cancel their subscription at any time and will receive a prorated refund for any prepaid months. LifeFone does not charge any shipping, equipment, or activation fees.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

LifeFone’s call centers are located in New York and California. Agents are available 24 hours-a-day and follow each user’s personal Emergency Care Instructions.

LifeFone’s cellular systems work using AT&T’s Nationwide Cellular Network. This allows customers to use it throughout the United States as long as they have a cellular connection.

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Our in-depth review on LifeFone Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best Hands-Free System

getsafe medical device

GetSafe takes a modern approach to emergency monitoring with its voice-activated medical alert systems. Touting its devices as “the medical alert system you don’t have to wear,” GetSafe provides in-home protection without requiring that users wear a personal emergency button. Founded by home security industry experts, the company strives to provide customers with both the best user experience and the best protection and security. This passive approach to medical alert monitoring eliminates the compliance element and ensures that users are protected even if they’re resistant to wearing a medical alert device. 

getsafe logo

Best Hands-Free

System

Best Hands-Free

System

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getsafe logo

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No need to wear personal emergency alert button
  • Easy self-installation means no installation fees
  • Low monthly monitoring fees
  • 30-day free trial period

Cons:

  • Larger packages have high startup costs
  • No on-the-go coverage is available

Pricing and Plans

Starter

Standard

Select

Monthly Cost

$24.95

$24.95

$24.95

One-Time Device Fee

$79

$149

$229

Type of Device

In-home system

In-home system

In-home system

Connection

Cellular

Cellular

Cellular

Battery Life

32-hour backup

32-hour backup

32-hour backup

Water Resistant

Yes*

Yes*

Yes*

Range

20 feet voice range; 1,000 feet pendant range

20 feet voice range; 1,000 feet pendant range

20 feet voice range; 1,000 feet pendant range

Fall Detection

$10 a month

$10 a month

$10 a month

*The wearable buttons and wall buttons are water-resistant.

GetSafe offers three service plans, the Starter, Standard, and Select. All use the same GetSafe equipment, but the Standard and Select plans include more equipment to cover larger homes. All plans include one base unit, at least one voice-activated alert system, and one complimentary personal help pendant. The standard and select plans also include at least one wall-mounted button. You can read more about the plan types and equipment below. 

All GetSafe plans are paid for on a month-to-month basis, and all cost $24.95 per month. All plans have a one-time equipment purchase fee, which is higher for the Standard and Select plans because they include more equipment. There are no installation or activation fees, but users do need to pay for shipping. All customers are eligible for a 30-day trial period during which they can return their GetSafe system for a full refund.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

GetSafe devices are monitored by a U.S.-based, UL-listed monitoring center. Operators are available to assist callers 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. 

All GetSafe base units come equipped with 4G LTE cellular service through AT&T’s Nationwide Cellular Network. No landlines are required to use GetSafe’s services, and service is available in all 50 United States.

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Our in-depth review on GetSafe Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best for EMT/EMD Certified Monitoring

medical-alert medical device

Medical Care Alert stands out for its unparalleled medical alert monitoring. While all medical alert centers train their agents, Medical Care Alert operators all hold EMT/EMD certification. They all have first-hand experience responding to emergency situations, providing incomparable knowledge. All operators also undergo a Security Industry Association-certified training program for extra assurance.

Upon dispatch, the monitoring center always sends a text message alert to users’ preferred contacts. This may include family, friends, caregivers, and even a doctor. This provides peace of mind and may even allow for nearby family or friends to provide help before EMTs arrive.

medical care alert logo

Best For EMT/EMD

Certified Monitoring

Best for EMT/EMD

Certified Monitoring

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medical care alert logo

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Best medical alert badge

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • EMT certified operators
  • Home and Home & Yard are easy to use while on vacation
  • Free lockbox provided with all annual subscription plans
  • Great coverage for seniors who spend time outside

Cons:

  • Optional devices can be costly
  • Fall detection is not available with all devices

Pricing and Plans

Features
Home Medical Alert System
Home & Away Ultra GPS Medical Alert System
Monthly Cost
$29.95
$39.95
Type of Device
In-home system
Mobile system
Connection
Landline or Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
72-hour backup landline; 24 hour backup cellular
3 days
Water Resistant
Yes*
Yes
Range
1,000 feet
N/A
Fall Detection
$10 a month
$10 a month

*The wearable buttons are water resistant.

The prices for Medical Care Alert systems only vary by $10, starting at $29.95 for the least expensive system to $39.95 for the most expensive option. Customers can try either of the systems for 14 days, free of cost.

Customers can choose to pay for a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual subscription. The annual subscription saves you a few dollars per month. If you do decide to cancel your subscription at any time, you’ll receive a prorated refund for any prepaid months.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider
Medical Care Alert’s monitoring centers are located in New York and California. The centers are fully staffed by EMT/EMD-certified operators. Spanish-speaking operators and support for deaf and hearing-impaired customers are always available. 

Medical Care Alert uses the AT&T wireless cellular network to connect users to the monitoring center, so the devices can be used nationwide.

Our in-depth review on Medical Care Alert Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best for Compliance and Activity Monitoring

qmedic medical device

QMedic devices are more than just emergency call buttons. The devices track users’ activity levels, sleep patterns, and compliance to give caregivers and family a clear picture of their loved one’s wellness. The unique compliance monitoring feature detects whether the user is actually wearing the device, giving caregivers peace of mind that their loved one us actually using their device. 

All QMedic devices come with these advanced features, and caregivers of all users can easily check on their loved one’s stats on the Caregiver Dashboard.  

qmedic logo

Best For

Compliance and Activity Monitoring

Best for

Compliance and Activity Monitoring

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Compliance monitoring
  • Simple and quick to install
  • Caregiver dashboard provides easy access to valuable information
  • Activity and sleep tracking provides valuable health insights

Cons:

  • Limited accessories
  • No medication reminders available

Pricing and Plans

Features
In-Home Cellular
Outdoor Mobile GPS
Monthly Cost
$25
$33
Type of Device
In-home
Mobile
Connection
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
24-hour backup
14 days
Water Resistant
Yes*
Yes
Range
800-1,000 feet
N/A
Fall Detection
Not available
Not available

*The wearable bracelet and neck pendant are water resistant.

QMedic only offers an annual payment option for both of the available plans, which cost $300 for the in-home system and $400 for the outdoor device.  When broken down into monthly costs, those prices come out to $25 a month for the in-home system and almost $33.33 a month for the mobile system. Free ground shipping is included with both monthly and annual plans.

The company has a 30-day money back guarantee on both systems, allowing customers to receive a full refund if they return their device within the first 30 days. There are no long-term contracts required, and customers may cancel their rental at any time. However, customers will not receive a refund for the remaining months if they cancel before the year is over or after the 30-day trial.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

QMedic devices are monitored by a UL-listed call center with locations in Utah and Idaho. According to the company website, it takes an average of 30 seconds for operators to respond to an emergency call.

QMedic uses the AT&T wireless network to connect users to the monitoring centers. Users are able to connect with the centers nationwide as long as there is cellular service.

Our in-depth review on QMedic Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Best for Two-Way Communication

rescuetouch medical device

RescueTouch was founded by a former EMT, Scott A. Lepper, who saw the importance of swift emergency response first-hand throughout his career. RescueTouch devices were created with the intention of keeping seniors safe while also improving their quality of life. As such, the devices come with unique features that are uncommon in the industry, such as two-way voice communication and guaranteed new equipment. The complete portability of the RescueTouch mobile SOS pendant and the ease of two-way calling makes this company a good option for active seniors and their loved ones who want to keep up with them. 

rescuetouch logo

Best For Two-Way

Communication

Best for Two-Way

Communication

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Both monitored and unmonitored plans available
  • Unique two-way communication
  • Lifetime price-lock, so users’ rates will never increase
  • Fall detection and location tracking available with most plans

Cons:

  • No in-home device options
  • All users must pay one-time equipment purchase fee

Pricing and Plans

Features
9-1-1 Direct
Family Response
Family Response with Fall Detect
The Whole Shabang
Chit Chat Twin Pack
Chit Chat Monitored Twin Pack
Monthly Cost
$40
$45
$50
$60
$75
$85
Type of Device
Mobile
Mobile
Mobile
Mobile
Mobile
Mobile
Connection
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Cellular
Battery Life
5 days
5 days
5 days
5 days
5 days
5 days
Water Resistant
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Range
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Unlimited
Fall Detection
Not available
Not available
Included in monthly cost
Included in monthly cost
Included in monthly cost
Included in monthly cost

RescueTouch customers have the choice of paying for their device on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. The six plans range in price from $30 to $75 a month, plus a one-time device purchase cost of $99 for single devices and $178 for the twin packs. Other than the purchase cost, there are no additional startup fees.

All of the payment options include free shipping and a 30-day money back guarantee. Customers may also cancel at any time without penalty. There is also a lifetime price-lock, so the monthly cost will remain the same over time.

RescueTouch also offers three professionally monitored plans:

  • 9-1-1 Caller: This is the most basic and least expensive RescueTouch plan, at $30 a month. The device connects directly with 9-1-1 rather than a monitoring center. This is the only RescueTouch plan that does not include GPS location services or the option to connect with friends and family. Fall detection is not available with this plan. 
  • “The Whole Shabang”: Customers who select this plan will connect with the monitoring center when they press their help button. They can then tell the operator to contact their listed friends and family, or call emergency services (if the operator is unable to communicate with the user, they will automatically call emergency services). The monthly cost of $50 also includes GPS services, fall detection, and the option for friends and family to initiate contact. 
  • Chit Chat Monitored Twin Pack: This plan is identical to “The Whole Shabang”, with the addition of the chit-chat feature between the two included devices. The plan costs $75 a month including both devices, fall detection, and GPS.

Monitoring and Cellular Provider

RescueTouch devices connect with a monitoring center based in Utah. All operators undergo thorough training to handle medical, fire, and security emergencies.

Our in-depth review on RescueTouch Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Life Alert is arguably the most well-known company in the medical alert industry thanks to its famed “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials, but it did not earn a spot as one of our Best Medical Alert Systems. Despite its name recognition, Life Alert’s product offerings are limited compared to its competitors, and its systems are priced much higher. It’s also one of the only companies in the industry that requires customers to sign a multi-year contract.

Below, see more about the downsides of Life Alert and a brief review of Life Alert’s medical alert devices and plans.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Owns and operates its own monitoring centers in the U.S.
  • Offers waterproof devices

Cons:

  • High monthly monitoring costs
  • High startup fee
  • Customers required to sign multi-year service contract
  • Difficult to cancel service and/or get a prorated refund
  • Does not list prices, contract or plan information online
  • Limited device options
  • Does not offer automatic fall detection

Life Alert Pricing and Plans 

Life Alert offers three service plans: a standard in-home option, an in-home package that includes a second in-home unit specifically for the bathroom, and a portable unit. The plans range in price from $49 to $89 per month, which is significantly more expensive than other medical alert companies. Customers must also pay a steep one-time fee of $95-$198, depending on the plan.

In-the-Home

In-the-Bathroom

On-the-Go

Monthly Cost

$49

$19 Additional

$19 Additional

One-time Fees

$95

$96*

$96*

Type of Device

In-home

In-home

Mobile

Connection

Landline/Cellular

Landline/Cellular

Cellular

Battery Life

72-hour backup

Up to 10 years

Up to 10 years

Water-Resistant

Yes, fully waterproof

Yes, fully waterproof

Yes, fully waterproof

Shower-proof

Yes

Yes

Yes

Range

800-1,000 feet

Unlimited

Unlimited

Fall Detection

Not available

Not available

Not available

*If all three levels of protection are selected, then the one-time fee is $198

Our in-depth review on Life Alert Read Review

Comparison of the top medical alert systems Get Details

Understanding Medical Alert System Features

Some medical alert companies may offer supplementary features and devices including: 

Fall Detection: Automatic fall detection is motion-sensing technology built into some medical alert devices that detects when a wearer has fallen down. When rapid, abnormal movement that could signify a fall is detected, medical alert systems with automatic fall detection immediately place a call to the emergency monitoring center. This can be life-saving in cases when the wearer is incapacitated or otherwise unable to reach their device’s help button following a fall. Many, but not all, medical alert companies offer at least one device with automatic fall detection, though some charge an extra monthly fee for it.

GPS Location Tracking: Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking is a feature on some medical alert systems that identifies the exact location of the wearer. Using a combination of GPS signals, cellular network connection, and wireless internet, this feature provides life-saving location accuracy to dispatchers during emergencies. Caregivers can also log into an app to stay informed about their loved one’s location. Since GPS location tracking is connected to a cellular network, active seniors can run errands or go for a walk with the assurance of knowing that help will come quickly, no matter where they are.

Activity Tracking: Activity tracking is a helpful feature to keep caregivers in the loop with the daily activities of their loved ones. It collects and delivers real-time data on the wearer’s steps and activity level throughout the day, which caregivers can view in a portal or app. Some activity tracking functions for caregivers include receiving alerts when activity sensors are triggered, reviewing movement history, and getting notifications when the mobile medical alert wearer is inactive for long stretches of time during the day.

Caregiver Portal/App: Many medical alert systems feature a web portal or mobile app where caregivers can receive important alerts regarding their loved one’s activity level, location, emergency call history, and more. Some apps also allow friends and family to set up medication reminders and communicate directly with the wearer through text message. Multiple people can access the portal, which allows caregivers to work together in ensuring the health and safety of their loved one. It can also be a helpful spot to organize the wearer’s information, like medical conditions and allergies, in one place.

Medication Reminders: As the list of daily medications gets longer, many seniors turn to medication reminder services to ensure their health and safety. Some medical alert systems now come programmed with a medication reminder, which is a major benefit for seniors who are looking for an all-in-one device. Each day during pre-set times, this feature sends a visible and audible alert to the wearer when it is time to take their medication. Some more advanced systems track up to ten medications per reminder and go into detail with specific dosage levels.

Multilingual Support: Considering that 21.9% of US residents speak a language other than English at home, multilingual support at medical alert emergency call centers is very important. Especially in times of crisis, many people feel more comfortable speaking their native language. Some companies offer the option to directly connect with operators that speak your language, while others provide translation services that enable them to support over 100 languages, including Spanish, Chinese, French, Vietnamese, and Russian.

Medication Dispensers: Some medical alert companies offer medication dispensers, a separate device that automatically dispenses one’s medications at pre-scheduled times. Doses can be pre-set so that the user receives the correct dosage at the correct time. This can help seniors who struggle with remembering if they’ve taken their medication.

Wall-Mounted Buttons: Some seniors or caregivers may want the added security of a wall-mounted button. The buttons serve as a backup means of contacting the emergency monitoring center in high-risk areas (such as a bathroom or kitchen) in case the senior isn’t wearing their pendant/help button for some reason.

Voice Extender: Those who don’t want a mobile device but have a very large home or like to spend time in their yard can use a voice extender. The device extends the range of the microphone and speaker of the in-home base. For instance, those who like to garden could install a voice extender on the outside of their home so they can hear and speak with an operator. This also is also helpful to avoid accidentally calling EMS if you press your button but can’t hear the home base to cancel the alert.

Remote Phone Answering: Some base stations can be used to answer phone calls made to a user’s landline without them having to pick up a phone. So, the in-home base station essentially functions as a speakerphone.

Two-Way Communication: Some medical alert devices allow users’ loved ones to initiate communication with the user via their device. Typically these medical alert devices are assigned a phone number, like a cell phone, that caregivers can call to reach their loved one’s medical alert device directly.

How to Find the Right Medical Alert System for You

woman holding medical alert pendant

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four older adults falls every year. Of those falls, 20 percent are serious, resulting in a broken bone, head trauma, or a similar injury. And, falling once doubles one’s chance of experiencing another fall in the future. There’s no way to completely prevent falls, so it’s crucial to provide immediate help when a fall does happen. This is where home medical alert systems can be invaluable. 

Christopher Norman, GNP, explains that there are a variety of factors that contribute to seniors’ fall risk, including “changes in sensoria (vision/hearing/sensation), increased likelihood of weakness related to more sitting / less walking, too many medications, changes in center of gravity due to bone loss and height, improper footwear, and hazards in the home.” 

There’s no way to completely prevent falls, but there are things seniors and their families can do to make one safer at home. Christopher suggests home modifications like installing grab-bars in bathrooms, as well as simpler changes such as removing throw rugs, rearranging furniture, and decluttering. “The long-term success of aging at home can be highly influenced with proactive steps,” he says. 

One such action families can take is purchasing a medical alert system. The devices allow seniors to stay independent while making sure help is available when needed and can help prevent further injury or death after a fall or other emergency.

And medical alert systems don’t just provide security for seniors who are prone to falls- they have many other uses as well. Below, we offer examples of those who may benefit from medical alert systems.

Independent & Active Seniors

Falls don’t just happen indoors – a 2017 study shows that 48% of the most recent falls for seniors happen outdoors. Seniors who enjoy an active lifestyle and the outdoors can use life alert devices to maintain that freedom as long as possible. Mobile medical alert devices ensure that help is always available and that emergency personnel can find a user’s location.

Seniors who fall into this category should look for a medical alert device with the following features:

  • Mobile Device: This gives seniors and their loved ones’ peace of mind, and it allows seniors to maintain an active lifestyle for as long as possible.
  • Mobile GPS Tracking: Devices with the newest technology can be located with a much greater degree of precision, since they don’t just rely on cell service tracking. The best systems use multiple tracking methods including cell service, GPS, and WIFI hotspots.

Seniors Who Wish to Age in Place

Aging in place is becoming more and more popular, with 75% of older adults saying that they plan to stay in their current home for the rest of their lives.But, not having the constant presence of a caregiver creates a risk of falling and not receiving the necessary care.The risk is substantial for seniors – every 11 seconds an older adult is treated for a fall in an emergency room, and 25% experience a fall once a year.  

Life alert systems can make aging in place safer for those with mobility difficulties and for those who receive in-home care. It’s especially necessary for those who don’t have a loved one or caregiver who stays home with them 24/7.

Seniors who plan to age in place should look for the following features in a medical alert system:

  • Automatic Fall Detection: Those who struggle with mobility are at a higher risk of falls, so it’s wise to invest in as much protection as possible. Automatic Fall Detection doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it can be a lifesaver for those who fall and aren’t able to press their button.
  • Voice Activated Wall Button: Following a fall, seniors may struggle to reach their personal help button. Voice-activated systems provide an alternative option for contacting the monitoring center and getting help when needed. It can also be extremely beneficial when seniors forget to wear their device in the home.
  • Medication Reminders and Automated Dispensers: In an assisted living facility, staff would be available to provide reminders and assistance with medication. Those who choose to age in place and opt for home care don’t always have caregivers present to provide this service. Some companies, such as MobileHelp, provide medication reminders for those who often forget when to take their medications.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

60% of those with dementia will wander, and a senior with Alzheimer’s will often be unable to remember important information. Medical alert devices can help caregivers locate their loved ones if they become lost.

Seniors with memory impairment should look for the following features:

  • Mobile and Home Device Combination: Seniors who may wander or otherwise become lost can benefit from a mobile device that allows their loved ones to track their location. But, a home life alert system that won’t stop working if they forget to charge their mobile device is also very useful. MobileHelp is an example of a company that offers an affordable bundle of a mobile and home medical alert system. The cost is $41.95 a month for both systems.
  • Wall Buttons: Wall buttons are helpful in high-risk locations (such as the restroom) if you or your loved one forgets to wear the help button. Simply press the button and the monitoring center will be notified that help is needed.
  • Geofencing: Geofencing can be invaluable for seniors who wander and ensures families are aware if their loved one leaves the set location.
  • Battery Monitoring: A battery monitoring feature that notifies the medical alert wearer and/or their caregivers when it’s time to charge the device or the battery reaches a critical level is very helpful for seniors who tend to forget to charge their devices.
  • Medication Reminders: Medication reminders help seniors who may forget to take important prescriptions stay on top of their regimen.

Seniors with High-Risk Medical Conditions

Almost 70% of older adults with diabetes will develop some type of heart disease, and about 1 in 6 will die due to a stroke. Many deaths could be prevented if the senior was able to get the help they needed in time. Medical alert devices can be lifesaving for seniors with serious medical conditions. Consider the following features that provide extra protection for those with high-risk conditions.

  • Automatic Fall Detection: While not 100% reliable, automatic fall detection is an extra line of protection. If you can’t push your button during an emergency, automatic fall detection can prevent further long-term damage and may even save your life.
  • Activity Monitoring: This premium feature uses extra motion sensors to detect a sudden change in activity level or lack of activity. If these situations occur, the system sends an alert to a loved one that something may be wrong.
  • Caregiver Portal: An online portal that allows multiple loved ones and caregivers to have access and share notes makes collaboration between caregivers easier, ensuring seniors with high-risk conditions stay safe and their care is being properly managed. If there is an emergency, injury, or illness, all caregivers who have access to the portal will be in the loop.

For more on how to choose the best medical alert system, read our guide on the subject.

Medical Alert System Costs & How To Find an Affordable Life Alert System

Companies typically do not charge customers for the medical alert devices themselves. Instead, customers pay a monthly monitoring fee. A “free” lease of the actual medical alert device is oftentimes included in this fee, so as long as the user is paying for monitoring, they can continue to use the device. They will need to return the device to the company once they are no longer using the services. The monthly cost for monitoring ranges from approximately $20 to $60 a month, depending on the type of system, company, and add-ons.

On the more affordable end of the price range, an in-home medical alert system connected via landline is typically between $20 and $30 a month. Cell-enabled, mobile units tend to be more expensive. For this type of device, you can expect to pay $30-$45 a month.

Medicare and private insurance typically don’t provide coverage for personal medical alerts, making the typical monthly cost out of budget for some low-income seniors. That being said, there are some payment assistance options available. Which specific options are available to you will depend on your income, personal situation, and the state in which you reside. Below, we explain your options for obtaining a low-cost or free medical alert system. 

Free Medical Alert Systems for Veterans

The VA offers a number of services designed to support elderly or disabled veterans to maintain their independence. One way they’re helping the veteran population is by partnering with companies to offer products at reduced prices or for free. The VA has joined forces with two medical alert system manufacturers to provide a free option for their veterans:

  • MedEquip Alert: The MedEquip personal emergency button is a GSA-approved device that the company provides to veterans for free. When the user needs emergency care, they press and hold the MedEquip Alert button for two seconds and then release it. Once this happens, the MedEquip system will connect them to the monitoring center through the two-way audio speaker. An emergency operator will be on the line to assess the situation, send help, and call the emergency contact. The built-in GPS will tell emergency responders exactly where to go and will have all of the user’s information on hand. 

Any veteran who feels they need the extra sense of safety with this mobile alert system can either contact MedEquip directly (1-844-HELP-808), go into their local VA hospital, or speak with their primary care doctor. MedEquip has provided this flier for veterans to bring to their physicians. It has all of the information about how to access this benefit. 

  • LiveLife Mobile Alarms: Although the LiveLife Mobile Alarm is similar to the MedEquip Alert with its GPS tracking and emergency calls, it doesn’t connect to any kind of 24-hour monitoring system. Users can program up to six emergency contacts and choose one of those numbers to be “911.” Anyone who knows the mobile number connected to the pendant can call and will be connected automatically in speakerphone mode. LiveLife also has a fall detection feature for people who may be more likely to fall. 

Similar to MedEquip Alert, LiveLife has a contract with the US government to provide their devices at no cost to veterans. The LiveLife website doesn’t give instructions on how veterans can obtain one of their products, but a visit to either a VA hospital or primary care provider can begin the process.

Insurance Coverage of Medical Alert Systems

Insurance Type

Explanation of Medical Alert Coverage

Medicare Part A and Part B do not offer coverage for medical alert systems. Select Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may provide medical alert systems for free or at a reduced price if you can prove it is medically necessary. UnitedHealthcare is one of those Medicare Advantage companies. They provide their members with a free Philips Lifeline medical alert system. 

There are programs within Medicaid that may help people cover the cost of medical alert systems. HCBS, Personal Care Attendant, Consumer Directed Service, and Money Follows the Person programs will differ state by state but are options for people on Medicaid interested in getting help obtaining a medical alert system.

Insurance companies that offer long-term care insurance are likely to provide coverage for medical alert systems. Each company will vary in its coverage for this type of assistance. When shopping for LTC insurance, it would be wise to ask if this benefit is included in their coverage before purchasing the insurance or the device. 

Standard Health Insurance

Standard health insurance companies are less likely to cover any kind of medical alert system. Similar to LTC insurance, coverage and benefits will vary from company to company. It may be possible, however, for currently insured people to talk to their insurance company and simply ask what they can do to help cover any kind of cost associated with a medical alert system. 

Other Resources for Free/Low Cost Medical Alert Systems

Organization

Type of Assistance

How It Helps

AAA (Area Agencies on Aging)

Local Assistance

This nationwide network of organizations may be able to direct you to state or local assistance for obtaining medical alert devices. Contact your local AAA to find out if any financial help for medical alert devices is available in your state or city.

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)

Discount

AARP members who sign up to be Philips Lifeline subscribers will receive 15% off monthly service, free shipping, and free activation.

Medical-Expense Deduction

Tax Deduction

If you haven’t been reimbursed for your medical alert system through insurance, you should talk to your tax expert. You may be able to deduct qualified medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Methodology

Below is an overview of the core metrics and their weights in determining companies’ final rank, followed by a full breakdown of our core metrics and sub metrics for each category. 

In-Home Systems Cost and Capabilities

We evaluated companies’ in-home systems on the basis of both cost and functionality. This core metric is weighted at 25% because it includes sub metrics that determine long-term, ongoing costs as well as how capable, and potentially useful, a system is. The sub metrics in the category are: 

  • Monitoring Fees: How much do users pay each month for emergency monitoring services? If a company offers multiple in-home systems at different prices, we used the lowest cost option. 
  • Potential Savings and Discounts: Are there any discounts offered for paying for several months or a year upfront, or for certain groups like Veterans or retired law enforcement officials? This sub-metric was evaluated with a “yes/no” scale. 
  • Extra Cellular Connection Fee: Does the company charge an additional fee on top of a system’s monitoring costs for cellular service for any of its in-home systems? If so, how much?
  • Water Resistance: Can wearers keep their device on while showering or out in the rain? 
  • Device Range: What is the maximum distance a wearer can be from the base station and the device still function? 

Mobile Systems Cost and Capabilities

“Mobile Systems Cost and Capabilities” is also weighted at 25% of companies’ total score. Like the in-home system core metric explained above, this core metric encompasses data points that will ultimately play the largest role in mobile device users’ total costs and the quality of their system. The sub metrics in the category are: 

  • Monitoring Fees: How much do users pay each month for emergency monitoring services? If a company offers multiple mobile systems at different prices, we used the lowest cost option. 
  • Potential Savings and Discounts: Are there any discounts offered for paying for several months or a year upfront, or for certain groups like Veterans or retired law enforcement officials? This sub-metric was evaluated with a “yes/no” scale. 
  • Water Resistance: Can wearers keep their device on while showering or out in the rain? 
  • Battery Life: How long will the device’s battery last in between charges? If a company offers multiple mobile systems with different battery specifications, we used the system with the best battery life.  

Reliability and Reputation

Making up 20% of companies’ overall score is “Reliability and Reputation” which evaluates the quality of companies’ monitoring services, industry experience, and customer experience and reviews. Though this section does not have an impact on users’ costs, it does impact their overall experience and ultimately can play a role in their safety. The sub metrics in the category are: 

  • Third-Party Certification: Is the company’s monitoring center certified by a third party, like The Monitoring Association or Underwriter’s Laboratory? These certifications ensure the quality of the monitoring center services, and thus wearers’ safety. 
  • Monitoring Center Response Time: What is the average amount of time that a user waits to speak with an emergency response operator after pressing their device’s personal help button?
  • Better Business Bureau Rating: Is the company accredited by the BBB? If so, what is their rating? 
  • Consumer Review Score: What is the company’s consumer review star rating on the BBB website?
  • Experience: For how many years has the company been in the medical alert industry? 
  • Transparency: Is the company forthcoming about monthly costs, extra fees, device capability, and consumer reviews? Is it easy to find the information you need on the company’s website?
  • Free Trial: Does the company offer a free trial period so seniors can try out their medical alert device? If so, how long is the trial? 

Extra Features and Add-On Devices

This category evaluated how many additional features and products a medical alert company offers beyond standard emergency monitoring. Weighted at 15%, we recognize that this category does not much of an impact on wearers’ safety, but it can impact their experience with the device and thus how likely they are to wear it. The purpose of this core metric is to determine availability, not price, and as such all sub metrics were evaluated on a “yes/no” basis. The features and devices we checked for are:

  • Caregiver portal or app
  • Fall detection
  • GPS location tracking
  • Activity tracking
  • Medication reminders
  • Wall-mounted buttons
  • Device protection plan (loss and damage coverage)

Fees and Contracts

The “Fees and Contracts” core metric, making up 15% of companies’ total score, examines the additional costs companies may charge on top of the device itself. We weighted it as one of the lower core metrics because many of these fees, though they can be steep, are charged only once, as opposed to monitoring fees which are typically charged monthly. The sub metrics in this category are: 

  • Fall Detection: Does the company charge an extra fee for automatic fall detection? If some devices include this feature but users must pay an additional fee for it with others, we used the highest amount someone may pay. 
  • Shipping Fee: How much does the company charge for shipping? Some companies may charge shipping fees for some devices but not others. In these situations, we used the highest possible shipping fee customers may face for standard shipping. 
  • Startup Fees: Are customers required to purchase their device for a one-time fee or pay a “device” or “equipment” fee for leased systems? Are customers required to pay an “activation” or “self-installation” fee to get the device to work? 
  • Cancellation Fees: Are customers required to pay a fee when they cancel their service? Most medical alert companies today, including all ten listed on this page, do not charge cancellation fees, so it’s important to recognize those that still do. 
  • Prorated Refunds: Does the company offer prorated refunds if a customer cancels their service after prepaying for a semi-annual or annual plan? This sub-metric was evaluated using a “yes/no” system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does AARP recommend a medical alert system?

The AARP highly recommends medical alert systems to help seniors live longer, more active lives. They do not endorse any specific system. However, many medical alert system providers will give discounts to AARP members.

How much does a medical alert system cost?

The cost of medical alert systems varies between companies and by feature. In-home budget-friendly options are widely available as are more technologically advanced mobile systems. Generally speaking, the more features a system has, the more expensive it will be.

How do medical alert systems work?

Medical alert systems typically consist of two components – a base station and a wearable device. When the user presses the help button on their wearable device, a call is initiated to a monitoring center. The user is connected with an operator who can help to assess the situation and dispatch the emergency services to their location. Some systems will come with extra features like GPS monitoring and automatic fall detection.

What is the best medical alert systems for seniors?

All of the medical alert systems on this list meet the minimum criteria that keep users protected and connected to help whenever an emergency may occur. But each system has different features that make it stand apart from the rest. We highly recommend that each person considers their individual needs so they can select a system that fits their lifestyle.

Are medical alert systems a good idea for seniors with memory impairment?

Medical alert systems can be a great aid for seniors with memory impairment and early-stage dementia. The help button is far easier to use in an emergency than trying to remember phone numbers. Some medical alert systems also offer medication reminders that help seniors stick to the correct schedule and dosage. For seniors that may wander or get lost, mobile GPS tracking can be life-saving and provide reassurance for caregivers.

Are medical alert systems covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not pay for medical alert systems. However, Medicare Advantage plans may cover some or all of the cost of a medical alert system as an additional benefit. If you qualify for Medicaid, you may also be eligible for coverage.

Are there any free medical alert systems?

There are not currently any medical alert systems that are free for everyone, nor a widespread financial assistance program for medical alert systems. However, you may be able to find a medical alert system for free or get reimbursed for a large portion of the cost. Potential ways to get a free medical alert system include through local senior organizations, health insurance reimbursement, and veteran’s benefits.

What are the most important medical alert system features?

When faced with an emergency, the ability to access trained and reliable agents is of the utmost importance, which is why every one of the medical alert systems on our list has live customer support and monitoring centers in North America. The importance of other features will vary from customer to customer. For example, mobile service would not matter so much to someone who is housebound, while it would be crucial for someone who drives or goes for walks. This is why it’s so important for each customer to weigh the unique features of every system before deciding which one fits them best.

Christopher Norman, GNP

Our Contributing Senior Care Expert

LinkedIn

Image of Christopher Norman Expert

Christopher Norman is a Board-Certified Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse. Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Dominican College of Blauvelt, a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree with a Global Health Concentration from Yale University, and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Gerontology from New York University; he is currently considering doctoral programs.

Since graduating from Geneseo in 2004, Christopher has spent his Nursing career working almost exclusively with older people: first as a Nurse’s Aide (Mental Health Worker) on a geriatric unit in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, then as a Registered Nurse on a medical-surgical floor specialized for the elderly, and finally as a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner across all levels of care – home, continuum of care residences, assisted living facilities, inpatient hospitals, and skilled nursing homes. Christopher currently works as a GNP with a managed long-term care program in Central New York.

Learn More About Medical Alert Systems

Other Medical Alert Systems We’ve Reviewed

Citations 

  1. https://tma.us/programs/fivediamond/
  2. https://www.ul.com/about
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
  4. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/usoa-survey/2015-results/
  5. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/
  6. https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/stages-behaviors/wandering
  7. https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/independent_living.asp
  8. https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp

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