COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

Medical alert systems offer an affordable, user-friendly solution for those who want to enjoy their independence while ensuring that help is always close at hand. These systems use either a landline or cellular signal to connect users with a 24/7 emergency call center at the touch of a button.

Some medical alert systems even have an automatic fall-detection feature that triggers a call for help when the user suffers from a fall and they’re unable to activate their help button. Other common features include GPS location tracking that lets first responders know exactly where a caller is, and caregiver apps notify authorized contacts if the medical alert user needs assistance.

Helping You Find the Best Medical Alert System

If you’re in the market for a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one, then you know how difficult it is to find the right help button system. There are dozens of companies offering monitored emergency call services, which makes sorting through all the marketing materials, options and fees a complicated and time-consuming process.

To help make your search for the right medical alert system easier, we’ve prepared a series of comparison articles that weigh the pros and cons of two medical alert systems.

In this article, you’ll find a head-to-head comparison between Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Alert, two of the top-rated medical alert companies. Each provider offers similar services, devices and options at competitive prices; however, Bay Alarm Medical has an innovative in-vehicle device that’s worth considering for those who drive.

Category


Bay Alarm Medical


Medical Alert


COSTS


Up-Front Equipment


$9.95 shipping (free shipping with semiannual plans)


$0


Monthly Monitoring


$19.95-$59.95


$22.95-$37.95


Activation Fee


$0


$0


Contract


No; billed month-to-month


No


Optional Monthly Add-On Services


+$10/month for 4G/LTE connection for in-home medical alert system


+$5/month protection plan


+$3/month wall button (each)


+$3/month roommate/spouse medical alert button


+$0-$5/month caregiver tracking app (included in preferred and premium packages)


+$10/month fall detection


+$5/month device protection plan


FEATURES


Water-Resistant Wearable Devices


Yes — Pendant and wristband


Yes — Pendant and wristband


Connection


Landline or cellular (AT&T network)


Cellular or landline


2-Way Voice Communication


Through in-home base unit or mobile pendant


Yes — through in-home base unit or mobile base unit


Range (From in-home base unit for landline service)


Up to 1000'


N/A


Battery life


In-home call button battery is non-rechargeable; battery rated for five years


Battery in fall-detection button rated for two years


Battery in 4G/LTE button lasts up to five days


32-36 hour battery back-up on base units


Wearable help buttons include a long-lasting, non-rechargeable battery


FALL DETECTION, LOCATION and RESPONSE SERVICE


Fall Detection


+$10/month


+$10/month


GPS Locator


Yes — On-The-Go and On-The-Road devices


Yes — On-The-Go devices


Coverage Away From Home


Yes — On-The-Go and On-The-Road devices

Yes — On-The-Go devices


24/7 USA Call Center


Two call centers located in Utah and Idaho


Yes — service in up to 140 languages


OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES



Wireless wall buttons


PIN-protected lockbox


Extra medical alert buttons


Bella Charms (for pendants without fall detection only)


N/A


Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Bay Alarm Medical is a medical alert company based in California that offers a variety of medical alert devices and emergency call systems. Unlike many other medical alert providers, Bay Alarm Medical offers products and services geared towards users of all ages rather than focusing solely on the needs of seniors.

As with most medical alert providers, Bay Alarm offers landline and cellular-based systems with features such as GPS location tracking and fall detection. All of their help buttons are water-resistant and manufactured in the United States.

Consumers who are looking for a mobile help button may want to consider the newly-released Splitsecnd device, a portable help button that can be installed in any vehicle. The device is equipped with a medical alert help button, a two-way speaker, cellular transponder and GPS locator, and it’s powered through a standard 12V outlet.

What makes the Splitsecnd device so different is that it automatically calls the emergency monitoring center if it detects a vehicle crash. This means that subscribers who are in a crash are contacted immediately by an emergency operator who can dispatch help to the scene. The device also includes a mobile app that lets authorized users track the location of the vehicle it’s installed in, set up virtual geo-boundaries and receive a notification if the Splitsecnd user activates the help button.

Pros of Bay Alarm Medical:

  • Established company with U.S. monitoring center
  • Medical alert hardware designed and made in the United States
  • Optional Bella Charms let users customize the look of their medical alert pendant
  • No activation, shipping or up-front device fees
  • Service can be canceled at any time without penalty
  • Cellular services provided through the AT&T 4G LTE nationwide network
  • Users can add their choice of contacts to be contacted before Bay Alarm Medical operators call 9-1-1
  • The only medical alert company to offer a GPS-enabled in-car medical alert system with automatic crash detection
  • Fall detection available
  • Services available in over 140 languages through a real-time translation service

Cons of Bay Alarm:

  • Optional upgrades can quickly increase the total monthly fees
  • No medical smart watch option
  • Wearable help buttons are larger than what is offered through some other companies

Medical Alert Overview

Medical Alert is part of Connect America, a nationwide provider of patient monitoring and personal alarm systems in over 30 countries.

Medical Alert offers two in-home medical alert systems: one that works with an existing landline phone and one that connects to the AT&T 4G LTE network. The cost of cellular service for the emergency help button is included in the monthly monitoring fees, and fall detection can be added for an additional $10 per month.

Medical Alert’s On-The-Go mobile emergency call system includes a handheld transponder device with a GPS locator and cellular service that’s paired with either a wrist-worn or pendant help button. As with the in-home systems, fall detection can be added to the mobile system for about $10 per month.

The company also has a caregiver app called 365Access, which gives authorized caregivers and loved ones online access to information about their loved one.

Pros of Medical Alert:

  • Established U.S. company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Risk-free, 30-day money back guarantee on all plans
  • Subscribers can switch plans without penalty
  • At-home systems work throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through compatible landlines
  • Products backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Fall detection available
  • Free lockbox provided with annual-rate plans
  • No activation or equipment fees
  • 365Access caregiver app sends instant alerts to authorized contacts if the Medical Alert user activates their emergency call button

Cons of Medical Alert:

  • Consumers must sign up and prepay for a 12-month monitoring subscription to get the lowest possible price along with free shipping and a free lockbox
  • To use the On-The-Go service, subscribers must carry a small, pager-sized device along with either a wrist or pendant call button
  • Fall detection is an add-on feature that increases the total monthly monitoring cost

Pricing Comparison

Monthly monitoring costs with Bay Alarm Medical start at $19.95 for the landline-based in-home system, while Medical Alert charges $22.95 per month for a comparable system and monitoring service. Subscribers willing to sign up for an annual prepaid plan with Medical Alert can reduce their monthly cost to $19.95, and the company offers periodic promotions that often include one month of free service.

Monthly costs for mobile medical alert protection is more expensive through Medical Alert when compared with Bay Alarm Medical, which offers On-The-Go medical alert service with GPS locating and fall detection for $39.95. The same service through Medical Alert costs $47.95; however, unlike Bay Alarm Medical, which sells their mobile pendant for $79, with Medical Alert, there are no up-front equipment costs.

Our Pick

Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Alert are both established medical alert providers that offer many comparable devices and services at similar prices. Each company has in-home and mobile help buttons, so whichever company is best really comes down to a matter of personal preference.

Consumers who are looking for an innovative in-vehicle personal help system should consider Bay Alarm Medical’s Splitsecnd device, as it’s currently the only system available that combines automatic crash detection with a 24/7 monitored call center. This device may be ideal for older drivers, new drivers and lone workers.

Medical Alert could be the best choice for those who want a small, discrete personal help button, as the Medical Alert wearable devices are among the smallest on the market.

Remember, the right medical alert system can not only help you or your loved ones remain independent, it can make all the difference in an emergency.

Compare More Medical Alert Systems