Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems
Seniors who are looking for the right mix of independence and peace of mind often find that a medical alert system is an ideal solution. These small devices are designed to be worn around the wrist, neck, or simply placed in a pocket or purse and connect seniors with a medical alert monitoring center, caregivers and loved ones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some systems also pair with a mobile app for both users and their caregivers, or come with additional accessories like a wall-mounted emergency button that can be placed in the bathroom, next to the bed or on a table.
There are a wide variety of medical alert systems available that offer a range of features and optional services, such as automatic fall detection, GPS location tracking, temperature sensors, and medication reminders. While all of these features can quickly increase the cost of the devices and monitoring service, a number of systems are quite affordable even for seniors who may be on a fixed income. We’ve compiled a list of the most affordable medical alert systems to help seniors and their loved ones stay safe and connected at a price that’s reasonable.
The 3 Most Affordable Medical Alert Systems
MobileHelp is the most affordable medical alert company overall. It has excellent monthly costs for both in-home and mobile plans, it offers numerous opportunities to save on shipping and other fees, and its devices come standard with access to some features that are only available at an extra charge with other companies. Moreover, many seniors will appreciate how easy it is to find cost information on MobileHelp’s own website.
MobileHelp’s Classic device includes a base station and is intended solely for in-home use, whereas its Solo is designed for on-the-go use. The MobileHelp Classic plan, which does not use a landline, is the company’s most affordable plan overall at $19.95/month, while its Solo plan is its most affordable mobile option at $37.95/month. This company has a variety of other plans, some of which combine in-home and on-the-go monitoring. All home-based plans include a base as well as wearable help buttons, and one version of the base is a touch screen tablet that’s perfect for seniors who are tech-savvy.
MobileHelp offers great perks for those who opt to pay their plans on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis rather than a monthly one. For all plans, selecting one of these alternative payment schedules will give you free shipping, which would otherwise cost $15. For the Classic plan, MobileHelp will additionally waive the one-time activation fee of $49.95. Note that all other plans do not have an activation fee regardless of the payment schedule.
This company has some great extra features, some of which are included at no extra cost to the customer. For example, caregivers get free access to location-tracking through MobileHelp Connect, a free online portal. A free lockbox is also included in all plans as a courtesy. The fall detection add-on, while not free, costs a modest $10/month which is common for the industry.
Bay Alarm Medical offers a basic medical alert system with 24/7 U.S.-based monitoring starting at $19.95 per month, making it one of the most affordable systems on the market today. This basic option uses a landline, so those who don’t have a landline will need to pay $10 more for the same plan on a cellular network. All of Bay Alarm’s in-home medical alert packages include the choice of a pendant or wrist button device along with a base unit equipped with a large red help button.
Most medical alert plans from this company can be customized for even better protective features. You can purchase as many additional pendant, wrist, or wall-mounted help buttons as you’d like for $35 each. The wall mounting buttons are ideal for anyone who may not want to wear a medical alert pendant or wrist device while in bed, in the bathroom or while they’re preparing food. Automatic fall detection can also be included for an extra $10-$15 per month, and a one-time fee of $35 will purchase a lockbox that first responders can use to gain access to the senior’s home in case of an emergency. Other accessories, such as decorative covers for the pendant devices, are also available at an extra charge.
With Bay Alarm Medical, there are no minimum contracts and seniors pay no activation fees and few or no device fees. Some of Bay Alarms mobile plans do require a one-time device fee between $99-$179, and as mentioned earlier, extra help buttons incur additional charges on in-home plans. Adding a spouse/roommate to your plan is free, aside from the cost of any extra help buttons needed, making the per-user price of this medical alert system especially low for senior couples. Shipping can cost $9.95, but free shipping is sometimes offered. Seniors should note that while the Bay Alarm mobile app for caregivers is free, access to on-demand location tracking costs an extra $5 a month.
Medical Guardian is one of the best companies for medical alert systems with 24/7 monitoring thanks to its affordable “Classic Guardian” landline-based in-home plan. This plan costs $29.95 per month, and includes impressive discount bundles for those who pay annually. Other plans, such as its cellular-based “Home Guardian” plan or its variety of mobile plans, have starting costs between roughly $35-$45+ per month. There are no activation or installation fees.
Medical Guardian is notable for its versatile array of medical alert devices. In addition to its most basic pendant and watch-style wearable buttons for the home, it has a few different devices designed for on-the-go use. It offers some alert button options that are discretely set in fashionable watch bands or stylish, feminine crystal pendants.
With Medical Guardian, there are multiple services and items that can be added to your plan for a few extra dollars monthly. Adding fall detection to your plan will cost $10, which is standard in the industry. A lockbox, an extra wearable button, or wall-mounting buttons can be added for extra $2.99 per month each. Opting for multiple add-ons can become costly, but you can get all of these for free if you choose to pay for your plan annually instead of monthly. Those who pay annually also get one free month of service and free ground shipping. Other services, such as emergency email and text notifications to family/caregivers can be added for $2.99/month and a protection plan for $6.99/month. Neither of these services are eligible for discount deals.
Comparing Prices of Low-Cost Medical Alert Systems
Weighing the true cost of a medical alert system can be complicated, especially when you’re looking for one that can enhance the safety and independence of seniors at an affordable price.
The lowest-priced medical alert plans are ones that operate off of an existing landline phone, which may be suitable for seniors who already have a home phone and don’t leave their home by themselves. These systems all offer two-way voice communication with a medical alert monitoring company that’s available 24 hours a day. However, these landline-based devices don’t work once the senior moves outside the in-home base unit’s range. In most cases, these landline systems provide exceptional coverage within 1,000 feet of the base unit, which is perfect for seniors who live in a condo, apartment or small home.
Seniors who live in a large home or need coverage in the backyard or out of the house need to look for a cellular-based medical alert system. Costs for mobile medical alert systems are higher than landline systems because these devices require a cell connection. However, the added cost may represent a good value for seniors who don’t want to depend on a caregiver or family member to assist them outside their home.
Tips for Choosing the Most Affordable Medical Alert System
While the monthly price of a medical alert system is an important consideration for most seniors and their loved ones, it’s also important to consider the features and services that are provided at each price point.
Start by thinking about the reasons why your loved one may need a medical alert system. If you’re looking for a basic emergency device that seniors can use to call for help when they may not be able to reach the phone, a low-cost service may be ideal. Seniors who are at an increased risk of falls due to age-related deterioration, the side effects of medication or a medical condition may want to pay the added fees for a medical alert system that includes enhanced features.
Also, consider whether add-ons such as medication reminders, activity monitoring and a second device added to the same account, are right for your particular needs. Paying extra for a medical alert system that includes access to an app that lets family members check on the senior’s activity levels may be more cost-effective than hiring a caregiver to check in on the senior every day. Ultimately, the right medical alert system will depend on you or your loved one’s personal needs and what you hope to get out of the device. If you’re unsure about which type of medical alert is best for you, you can learn more about the top companies and their offerings by reading our review of the Best Medical Alert systems.