Are you or a loved one concerned about falling or requiring medical assistance when alone? Medical alert systems can provide you with peace of mind knowing assistance is just a button-press away. Read on to compare medical alert systems and to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay.

By pressing the help button, a call is placed to a 24-hour emergency monitoring center.

What is a medical alert system?

A medical alert system , also known as personal emergency response system (PERS), is an added level of safety and security for seniors and those with specific health concerns. Today’s medical alert systems are equipped with a wide variety of features and service options to communicate and deliver fast emergency support.

By pressing the help button, a call is placed to a 24-hour emergency monitoring center where a trained operator can assess the situation and dispatch the EMTs or call your listed emergency contacts.

What is a mobile medical alert system?

Mobile medical alert systems are lightweight, wireless, all-in-one mobile devices that work with emergency response service providers to offer a simple, practical, and cost-effective way for seniors to remain safe, both inside and outside the home. Mobile medical alert systems with GPS keep you safe by employing cellphone and GPS technologies.

Cellular technology connects you to an urgent response center agent on the same networks that cellphones use to make calls. GPS-based mobile technology helps urgent response center agents identify your precise location to get help to you as soon as possible, should an emergency arise. Fall detection technology is also available for an additional fee with most systems.

Cost of medical alert systems

Buying or renting a medical alert device is an investment in a product but, more importantly, your safety. Therefore, your satisfaction and comfort are paramount.

Whether you’re choosing a basic mobile medical alert system or a medical alert device with the latest technology, you should consider a few factors ahead of making your purchase.

Price. Mobile medical alert system costs can vary significantly based on initial equipment and activation fees, selected service plans, and add-on services/equipment. Base monthly costs for service plans range from $24.99 to $54.95.

Annual contract. Many medical alert system companies offer no-contract monthly plans; however, some may require a multi-year commitment.

Device features

Not all mobile medical devices are created equal. It is important to choose a lightweight, compact, portable, all-in-one mobile alert system with the speakerphone built right into the device for easy two-way communication with the emergency monitoring center. Additionally, confirm that the device is waterproof or water resistant to ensure safety while bathing or showering.

Battery life. For systems that do not plug into an electrical outlet, it is essential to understand the battery life on the device. Some medical alert devices use rechargeable batteries that need to be recharged daily while others use a long-lasting battery that needs to be changed every year or two. Speak with your service provider about the battery longevity or replacement schedule to ensure continuous protection.

Automatic fall detection technology. Some providers offer the option of automatic fall detection monitoring for an additional monthly fee. A fall detection enabled device works the same as a regular medical alert system but has additional built-in sensors that can automatically detect falls and trigger an emergency call.

Mobile service. Ensure that your device works where you want to go. Mobile medical alert systems and some in-home base units with built-in cellular circuitry are available and use cellphone technology that incorporates a mix of nationwide wireless voice, data, and GPS tracking technology.

Smartphone-enabled. Some mobile medical alert systems can be paired with a smartphone to enable significantly larger detection availability.

Monitoring center. The urgent response monitoring center is just as important as the device itself. Choose a certified service provider that offers 24/7, US-based emergency monitoring services and agents. Additionally, if you require multilingual services, choose a service provider that offers in-house translation services.

Optional services and features. Certain services and features can be added on to specific plans for an additional fee to allow for greater safety and security. These include in-home base units/buttons, smartphone apps for friends and family, product replacement protections, and wellness checks.

Medical alert device frequently asked questions

Should I buy a medical alert for my loved one?

One of the safest ways that seniors can maintain their independence and overcome the fear of fall injuries is to invest in a medical alert system. If you are purchasing a medical alert system for a senior loved one, include the recipient in the research process. Ask the recipient which features are desired and if they would wear and use the product before purchasing a device.

Do I need to have a dedicated cellphone or landline?

No, most mobile medical alert devices have built-in capabilities that are designed to work with national network providers for cellular or mobile service. Common providers include AT&T and Verizon and require coverage in your area.

Is there a trial period?

Most medical alert providers allow for a 30-day trial period to test out the system inside and outside your home, so you can assess that the range, volume, and two-way communication are to your specifications. Contact your provider for more details.

Can I switch plans?

Most medical alert providers allow you to upgrade or change plans for low or no fee. Contact your provider for more details.

Will my monthly medical alert system costs change?

Most providers we spoke with reported that subscribers can expect to see low or no rate change in the future. Contact your provider for more details.

Are discounts available?

Some medical alert system providers may offer AAA, AMAC, or USAA member discounts; veterans discounts; and other senior discounts. Contact the provider for more information.