Medical Alert Review
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.
How Medical Alert Compares to Other Top Medical Alert Systems
Medical Alert ranks sixth among the top 20 medical alert systems reviewed, with an overall star rating of 3.7/5. It scored particularly well in the “Extra Costs,” “Home Systems,” and “Mobile Systems” categories, with a 9.0 or above in all three. All three of those categories have a heavy emphasis on system costs, so Medical Alert’s high scores indicate that its systems are among the most affordable in the industry. Unlike some other companies, Medical Alert does not charge any extraneous one-time fees such as activation fees, even for its Mobile System.
Though Medical Alert did not score as highly in the other categories, including “Availability of Add-Ons” it does offer customers some of the most useful and popular add-on features, including optional automatic fall detection and a system protection plan. And with over a decade of experience in the industry and a consistent A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, Medical Alert customers can feel comfortable that they’re working with a reliable company.
Caring.com’s Medical Alert Provider Rankings
Caring.com’s team of experts and researchers ranked the top 20 medical alert providers based on different features, price points, and qualities of the company. Those data points were split into 5 core metrics and 30 sub metrics that were weighted based on importance in determining the overall quality of the companies. Each company, including Medical Alert, was scored and ranked based on those metrics and weights.
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Pros and Cons of Medical Alert Systems
|No activation, device, equipment, or installation fees||Limited add-on accessories and features|
|Emergency monitoring assistance available in 140 different languages|
|All systems are water-resistant and shower-safe|
|Large service area including all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands|
Medical Alert’s Plans
|Home Landline||Home Cellular||Mobile System|
|Type of Device||In-home system||In-home system||Mobile system|
|Battery Life||36-hour backup||36-hour backup||5 days|
|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.
Medical Alert offers two in-home systems, one that requires a landline connection and one that uses a cellular connection. The landline system is less expensive at $22.95 a month when paid for on a monthly basis, while the no-landline option costs $32.95 a month. Both systems may also be paid for on a semi-annual or annual basis for a slight monthly discount. Fall detection is available with both devices for an additional $10 a month.
Both Medical Alert in-home systems include a base station and a waterproof personal help button which may be worn as either a pendant or wristband. The help button has a range of up to 800 feet from the base station. The base station has a backup battery of 36 hours in the event of a power outage, and the personal help buttons never need to be charged (the batteries do need to be replaced about every two years).
The Mobile system costs $42.95 a month when paid for on a monthly basis. It is also available to lease on a semi-annual or annual basis, which costs $39.95 a month. Optional fall detection is available for an additional $10 a month. There are no one-time fees.
Medical Alert’s Mobile System is a lightweight, portable device that works anywhere with AT&T cellular service. The water-resistant personal help button may be worn as a pendant or wristband and features GPS location services to make it easy for monitoring center operators and emergency responders to locate callers. The device has a battery life of 2 days (5 days with the optional upgrade), and a charging cradle is included with all orders.
Medical Alert Costs and Contracts
Medical Alert does not charge any activation, installation, system, or equipment fees. Customers do have to pay for shipping, which ranges in price from $9.50 for standard ground shipping to $35 for overnight delivery, or they can sign up for an annual plan and get free shipping.
There are no long-term contracts required, and customers may cancel their service at any time without penalty. Medical Alert also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, which allows customers to return their equipment within 30 days of the delivery date for a full refund. After 30 days, customers will receive a prorated refund upon cancellation and return of their equipment.
Medical Alert devices are monitored by a UL-listed monitoring center, where trained operators are on the line around-the-clock to answer emergency calls. Operators are trained to contact callers’ designed caregivers, loved ones, and/or EMS when emergency assistance is required. They are also trained in using the International Language Line, which enables Medical Alert to offer real-time assistance in over 140 different languages.
Caregiver Tools and Extra Features
Medical Alert Connect
Medical Alert Connect is a mobile application designed to make it easier for caregivers and family members of Medical Alert users to stay in the loop with their loved one’s health and safety. Using the app, caregivers can view their loved one’s system status and battery level, manage and update the emergency contact list, and receive notifications when the user has an emergency.
All Medical Alert users have the option of signing up for the company’s system protection plan. The protection plan covers the cost of system replacement or repairs due to loss, theft, and common causes of damage. The protection plan costs $5 a month (system replacement without the protection plan costs $350).
Who Should Consider Medical Alert
Seniors Who Enjoy Traveling
Medical Alert’s Mobile System offers extended coverage for users who love to travel. The mobile system not only works anywhere in the United States with cellular service, but it also works in Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Virgin Islands. This gives adventurous seniors peace of mind that they’ll be covered in several countries, giving them more freedom to explore the world.
The prospect of needing emergency services can be worrisome for some seniors who do not speak English or feel more comfortable speaking a different language. Medical Alert makes getting help easy for multilingual seniors and/or non-native English speakers with its use of the International Language Line. Medical Alert emergency operators are trained to use this resource, which allows them to provide emergency support in over 140 languages. Seniors who want to be able to speak in their preferred language when calling for help will likely find that Medical Alert can meet their needs.
Seniors Who Are Prone to Falls
Optional fall detection provides peace of mind for seniors prone to falls by automatically alerting the emergency monitoring center when the system’s motion sensors detect a fall. Many companies only offer fall detection with a select portion of their systems, but all three Medical Alert systems are compatible with automatic fall detection. Seniors who desire this potentially life-saving feature can choose any Medical Alert system option and still have the coverage that they desire.