2017’s Best In-Home Medical
Alert Providers

An in-home medical alert system exclusively for inside your home. They are the most popular system used today.
2017’s Best Mobile GPS
ALERT Providers

A mobile GPS alert system is meant for the active senior or user that’s frequently out and away from home.
2017’s Best Automatic
Fall Detection Providers

Automatic fall detection technology calls for help without the need for the user to push their help button.

In-Home Medical Alert Systems / Medical Alert Reviews

Best Medical Alert SystemsUpdated 1/12/2017

For over 30 years, medical life alert systems have protected seniors all across the United States. The simple-to-use “get help with just a push of button” has allowed seniors and people with disabilities to remain in their homes instead of being forced to go the route of assisted living or long-term care. Families, adult children, and caregivers have also relied on medical alert devices for added security and peace of mind for their loved ones.

According to the United States Census, by 2029, more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be over the age of 65. That’s a projected total of 61.3 million people! Due to the ever increasing growth of the market, many businesses have been formed to cater to this growing demand for in-home protection.

Options and competition are awesome for the consumer. It keeps companies honest and pricing fair. From our experience however, we know that most shoppers usually start searching for medical alert services after a loved one has fallen or suffered a serious injury. Because of all the emotion involved, the shopping experience can be a bit stressful as there are so many companies to choose from.

To help with your search, InHomeSafetyGuide.org has personally tested and performed several life alert reviews and medical alert reviews from America’s most popular companies. We’ve thoroughly evaluated each brand’s equipment, service offerings, pricing structure, overall buying experience, customer service, and reputation.

We gathered the 5 most important things to look for prior to purchasing a system and it’s the same criteria we used to rank our top ten medical alert providers.


1. Buying Experiencesenior life alert

The truth is, most people are in the market for an alert system after a serious injury has occurred, and because of this, there could be high levels of stress, guilt, and desperation during the purchasing process. Some companies take advantage of this and find ways to lock a customer into long-term contracts. Honest and reputable companies will never do this and will train their staff to have patience and compassion.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • Willingness to answer all questions and provide through recommendations
  • Absolutely zero high-pressure sales tactics
  • Overall friendliness of staff

2. Pricing

Pricing - What to look for when pricing and valuing a medical alert system, home security system or identity theft protectionSubscriptions for medical alert systems range anywhere from $24 – $34 per month for a traditional in-home device. Additionally, most companies offer prepay options that can save you money in the long-run.

For example, Bay Alarm Medical offers 3 pricing payment options. You can pay month to month, 3 months at time or 6 months at a time. The longer the term, the more savings you’ll see.

Alan Wu, Director of Marketing for Bay Alarm Medical, told us that most of their customers start with either the monthly or quarterly plans so they can fully test the system without having to worry about a long-term commitment. According to Alan, most customers transition to a longer semi-annual plan after a few months of use.

InHomeSafetyGuide Top Tip!

Look for companies that offer a variety of pricing options. Most importantly, regardless of how much they charge, make sure they’re absolutely 100% upfront with their pricing, terms, and refund/cancellation policies.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • A variety of pricing options
  • Simple, easy to understand terms and conditions
  • No hidden fees or contracts (easy refund and cancellation policies = customer satisfaction guarantee)

3. Customer Service

How many times have you bought a product or service, needed help during the setup/installation process, andCustomer Service - Call center - agent taking a phone call for medical alert system, home security system, identity theft protection called customer support only to be stuck on hold, hung up on, or worse, was stuck talking to a rude or impatient customer “care” representative.

Customer service is paramount in the medical alert industry and although it seems obvious, this is where many companies fall flat. This is especially true in an industry where the elderly may need to call in for customer service and/or technical help.

Patience is truly key when having to deal with a customer that’s hard of hearing, not the most tech savvy, or frustrated with a billing question.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • How long are you placed on hold
  • Willingness to help with difficult problems
  • Patience of staff

4. Reputation

medical alert reviewsParticularly for medical alert companies, it’s important to find different types of testimonials.

Customers will talk about different aspects of a company so look for a variety of comments about the service, billing, response times, buying experience, and especially when you need to cancel service.

At the end of the day, companies are made up of humans and it’s completely natural from time to time to make mistakes. It’s how a company responds to these mistakes that truly matter.

 

Top 3 things to look for:

  • Too many negative complaints
  • An unnatural amount of positive comments
  • How easy it is for a customer to submit medical alert reviews

5. Equipment

Equipment - 3 types of medical alert systems - In Home, GPS, and Fall Detection

In-home life alert systems have been around for over 30 years. The technology has changed little and that’s a good thing. When a user summons for help, the equipment MUST be reliable and dependable and the best life alert systems are still ones that connect to a hardwired landline.

Having said that, as more and more people “cut the cord” and no longer use their traditional phone lines, several medical alert providers now offer in-home systems with cellular 3G coverage provided by AT&T.

We separated our website into 3 different sections based on the type of equipment our visitors look for when shopping for a provider. (In-Home, GPS, and Fall Detection)

Companies like Bay Alarm Medical and Medical Guardian do a great job of offering a wide variety of products to fit any need. GreatCall on the other hand, are the leaders of GPS medical alert systems and have seen great success with their GreatCall Splash device.

Regardless of which type of equipment you need, pay special attention to the list below.

InHomeSafetyGuide Top Tip!

The use of a traditional landline is still the most reliable form of communication during an emergency. It isn’t prone to coverage problems and works if there’s a blackout. However, if landline service isn’t available, make sure to check AT&T’s coverage map to see if there’s enough cellular signal in your area. The best equipment won’t matter if your signal strength is weak.

Top 3 things to look for:

  • Distance and range. Coverage strength if you choose to go with a cellular life alert system.
  • Battery life
  • Simplicity and ease of use

In addition to the above tips, we’ve researched the best medical alert system providers in the nation and have organized them based on the five criteria above: Buying Experience, Equipment & Setup, Pricing & Value, Customer Service, and an Overall Score. Click below to see our 2017 Rankings!


Top Ten FAQs – In-Home Medical Alert Systems

Q1: How do medical alert systems work?FAQs

A: Medical alert systems are fairly easy to use. Most systems include a base unit, an emergency button, and 24/7 access to an emergency response monitoring center.

Whether you have a traditional unit or a GPS unit, all base units are plugged directly into the wall. However, some traditional in-home units also require a landline.

Traditional units come with an emergency button, which is a wireless transmitter that is connected directly to the main console. Some GPS units utilize an emergency button, while other GPS units are all-in-one, which means the button and GPS device are small enough to be carried around with you wherever you go.

All medical alert systems offer emergency response and monitoring services. If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, have fallen and can’t get up, or even if you’re experiencing other emergencies, like a fire or home intrusion, all you have to do is push the emergency button.

A wireless signal is transported to the base unit, where an emergency response agent will speak to you in order to determine what kind of help you need. Depending on your situation, the agent may call emergency medical services, friends, family, caregivers, or neighbors.

 

Q2: How much do medical alert systems cost?

A: One of the most important considerations when shopping for a medical alert system is cost. In general, you can expect the average medical alert system to cost somewhere between $25 and $40 a month. However, some systems offer basic services for as low as $19.99 per month, while adding additional products and services could mean you pay $50 or more each month. No matter what your needs, there is a medical alert system to fit your budget.

Determining the value of service is important too. Most monthly fees include the use of equipment, in addition to live monitoring services. Make sure you take a close look at your contract to determine whether you are able to make unlimited calls, or if extra calls can only be made with an additional fee.

If you’re looking to save, consider an annual or semi-annual plan. They tend to cost less than paying quarterly or monthly. Many providers also offer things like no installation fees, free shipping, and more, so it’s worth taking a look at a variety of providers to find the best medical alert system.

 

Q3: What additional features and options should I sign up for?

A: Everything you really need comes with each system, but there are definitely some additional features and options that could make your medical alert system even more helpful.

  • Lockboxes – If you’re experiencing an emergency, and the doors are locked, medical personnel may have to break into your home. A lockbox can be added to your order and placed outside your house. The medical alert agent will have access to your code, and they can provide that code to emergency responders.
  • Additional emergency buttons – Think about an additional emergency button like a spare key. Having an extra will make sure that you’re always protected, but additional buttons can also be purchased for a spouse.
  • Fall detection – Most medical alert systems do not automatically include fall detection. If you are worried about falling and being unable to push the emergency button, you may want to consider adding fall detection to your plan.
  • Helpful services – There are also a variety of services that some medical alert system providers offer. Med reminders, smartphone apps, and automatic monthly testing are just some of the additional services you can add to your plan.
  • Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors – Although not every medical alert system offers carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, it may be worth seeking out a provider that offers this equipment.

 

Q4: Will Medicare or Medicaid pay for a medical alert system?

A: Unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t likely to pay for a medical alert system. However, you can try obtaining a doctor’s recommendation in order to increase your chances of having the cost of your medical alert system covered.

If you don’t have any luck with Medicare or Medicaid, you can try contacting your insurance company. You can also contact social service agencies in your area. Subsidies are available for medical alert system users with low incomes.

 

Q5: What if I experience an emergency in a room without the base unit?

A: The base unit contains a 2-way voice communication system, and most systems are able to cover the whole house. Because there’s only one base unit, medical alert system providers have created highly sensitive systems that can provide communication, even if you’re in a different room.

However, after you press the emergency button on the small device you carry with you (e.g., pendant, wristband), if you are unable to communicate directly with an emergency response agent, they will still send help to your location.

If you’re worried about not being heard, consider a GPS unit that has 2-way voice communication build in, which can also be carried with you from room to room. These systems can even travel outside the home.

 

Q6: Can I purchase a medical alert system plan without a landline?

A: Many medical alert systems function through a landline, but there are many more options today that do not require a traditional phone line.

Some medical alert system providers offer the same in-home unit as a cellular device. This system still requires a base unit and an emergency button, but it does not need a landline.

Because medical alert systems can now use cellular services, GPS units have become more popular. Not only do they offer protection inside the home, you can also use your emergency button when you’re shopping, eating out, or on vacation.

There’s no need to worry about signing a contract with a cellular provider when you sign up for a medical alert system plan. They do not require a separate cellular service.

 

Q7: Does medical alert equipment include fall detection?

A: In general, most medical alert systems do not automatically include fall detection. Instead, they provide an option to add fall detection to your plan. This usually costs around $10 a month.

Most fall detection pendants look a lot like a regular emergency button, but with some design differences, so you can tell the two emergency buttons apart. For some medical alert providers, fall detection is included with GPS devices, but it may not be activated until you add fall detection to your plan.

 

Q8: Do you have to purchase devices, or do you lease them?

A: The answer to this question depends on what provider you choose. Many medical alert systems allow you to lease the system and devices without any equipment fees. But, if you decide you no longer want to pay for a service plan, you’ll have to return the equipment.

There are some medical alert systems that require you to purchase the equipment instead of leasing it. It is important that you look closely at each plan to determine whether the devices are leased or purchased.

 

Q9: Do I have to install the unit myself?

A: Medical alert systems are fairly easy to install, so they do not send a representative to your home to help you set it up. Instead, they provide detailed instructions with each unit. Some providers also have videos and step-by-step directions on their website to show you exactly how to set up the system.

No matter what system you choose, all you have to do is plug it into the wall. If you’re using a traditional in-home unit, you will also have to plug it into a phone line. GPS systems must also be plugged into the wall, but most of these systems need to be charged regularly, so make sure you return the device to its charging cradle every day.

When you have the system set up properly, you should push the test button, if there is one. If not, push the emergency button to make sure that you’re connected with an emergency response agent.

If you’re still having trouble setting up your medical alert system, call the provider’s customer service center and they will help you set it up by walking you through the steps over the phone.

 

Q10: What is the range of my system?

A: The range of in-home medical alert systems can vary greatly. They all function with a base unit that can be moved from room to room, but cannot be carried around with you, and an emergency button that connects you to that base unit. Some of the best medical alert systems offer up to 1,000 feet of coverage, which means you’re even protected in the yard. Other systems, however, only offer a couple hundred feet, while Life Alert only offers 150 feet of coverage.

Before you purchase a system, it is important that you know exactly how much coverage you need, and which plans can provide you with the coverage you’re looking for. If for any reason you are unsure about the coverage area of a particular plan, call a customer service representative, or check with a medical alert reviews website, like this one.