If you’re looking for value, then look no further than the simply-named Medical Alert. Providing a basic, push-button-for-help service, covering you both in the home and on-the-go, Medical Alert is one of the best medical alert systems you can buy.
Getting all of the basics right, Medical Alert doesn’t have many additional options, such as medicine reminders or check-in options, focusing on getting the standard emergency response right. This decision won’t make the system right for many, who may prefer a different option but for those prizing value for more active seniors, it makes for a compelling choice.
Packages: How much does Medical Alert cost?
Medical Alert has three basic plans to choose from, covering both in-home and on-the-go. There are several pricing packages for each, but take the system out on an annual plan and you’ll get just about the cheapest alert system available. Here, we’re looking at the options available.
Medical Alert review: At Home Landline
With the At Home Landline, you get a base station that plugs into your landline and provides communication with the monitoring center. With this package, you get a waterproof emergency button pendant or bracelet, too.
It’s the price that makes that this package stand out. Pay monthly and it’s $22.95 a month, which isn’t that good but go semi-annually, and the price drops to $19.95 a month. Even better, pay annually and you get the price down to $18.29 a month, which is the cheapest landline system that we’ve seen.
While the price goes down, moving up the payment cycle gets you more, with semi-annual coming with free shipping, and annual getting you free shipping and a free Lockbox so that emergency services can more easily get into your home.
With any plan, you can add fall detection, provided by the Emergency Pendant with Fall Detection Technology, for $10 a month ($9.17 if you pay annually). The system provides up to 600-feet of range, with a battery backup in case the power goes out.
Medical Alert review: At Home No Landline
At Home No Landline gives you the same coverage as the At Home Landline option, only the base station here connects using the cell network, so you don’t need a landline. Pricing starts at $32.95 a month, which isn’t that cheap, but again you get better discounts if you pay semi-annually ($29.95 a month) or annually ($27.45). Each package gets you one neck or wrist button, with semi-annual subscribers getting free shipping, and annual subscribers getting a free Lockbox.
Fall detection is available via the Emergency Pendant with Fall Detection, which costs $10 a month ($9.17 if you pay annually). Range is quoted at 600ft and there’s a battery backup in the base station to cover you for a power outage.
Medical Alert review: On The Go
The On The Go system includes a portable mobile device, which can sit on the charging dock when at home, acting as a base station. At home, you can wear the optional wrist or neck buttons for help, which are also waterproof (the mobile device is not). Buttons have a quoted line-of-sight range of 1,000-feet.
When you go out, the mobile device must be carried with you. It will need charging every few days, with an hour-long charge providing up to 60-hours of use. That’s handy, as it means that a single charge can cover a person that goes away for a couple of nights.
Pricing starts out at $37.95 a month if you pay monthly, although semi-annual subscribers get the system for $34.95 a month, and annual subscribers get the system for $32.04 a month. That’s not bad, although GreatCall has a cheaper mobile system.
Again, semi-annual subscribers get free shipping, and annual subscribers also get a Lockbox. Pay $10 a month ($9.17 for annual subscribers) and fall detection is included via the Emergency Pendant with Fall Detection.
Medical Alert review: Extras
Spouses are covered for no extra cost and Medical Alert often provides two buttons with its package for free, although you sometimes have to cover the cost of the additional hardware. If in doubt, give the company a call to check.
For those using an On The Go system, there’s the option 365Access Caregiver App (call for pricing according to the plan you have), which lets you track a loved one’s location and get alert notifications.
There’s little else that Medical Alert offers, and there are no wall-mounted buttons, or peace-of-mind add-ons, such as medicine alerts or daily check-in options.
Medical Alert review: Warranty and Cancellation
Free cancellation: N/A
System price (starts at): $0
Monthly costs (starts at): $22.95
In-home monitoring: Yes
Outside monitoring: Yes
Medical Alert, like much of the competition, doesn’t tie you into long-term contracts, and you can cancel the system at any point and return the hardware. Refunds are done on a pro-rata basis, depending on how many months service you’ve already used.
All products come with a standard warranty, although you’ll need to pay for replacements if they’re lost or damaged. Sign up for the $5 a month Protection Plan and the company says that you can prevent “out of pocket expenses up to $350 in case your system is lost, stolen, or damaged. It’s a worthy add-on if you’re likely to run into these kinds of problems.
How does Medical Alert deal with an alert?
Alerts are generated when a person either presses a help button or fall detection identifies a fall. In both of these cases, a call is placed with the monitoring center, which tries to ascertain what the problem is. The emergency assistance service will talk to you to find out what the problem is and if you need an emergency response, either to your home or to your location using the GPS position of the On The Go mobile device. In the event that you can’t answer, Medical Alert will send emergency medical staff to your location.
Your online profile contains your emergency contacts, a list of people that you want to be contacted in the event of a problem. If you have a Lockbox, details of this can be given to emergency staff to help them get into your home. Make sure any important medical information is somewhere that can be found easily.
Medical Alert review: What the users say
When we tested the system, we found that the response times were excellent, with an average response time between 26 and 28 seconds. Only GreatCall was consistently faster, averaging 14-second response times. As well as answering the phones fast, Medical Alert’s staff were helpful and responsive to our needs. Call quality was excellent, too, with both the in-home and on-the-go systems having loud, clear speakers that made it easy to understand a call.
Turning to the user reviews, Medical Alert has good scores with 4.5 on Consumer Affairs and 4.5 on TrustPilot. Looking through the reviews, those that liked the system talked about fast response times (both of the call center and emergency response), and the quality of the staff and support. Complaints are much thinner on the ground and tend to cover individual problems with initial hardware not working and some specific billing issues.
Should I use Medical Alert?
Medical Alert is one of the simplest medical alert systems that you can buy with very few extras: there are no wall-mount options, no medicine reminders, and no check-in options. For those that need more peace-of-mind features, alternatives, such as Bay Alarm Medical or Medical Guardian may make more sense.
However, for those looking to cover a more active senior, where basic protection is all that’s required, opting for Medical Alert home system on an annual package will net you the cheapest alert system that we’ve tested. While the cost may be low, the performance is high.
For On the Go, the quality of response stays the same but the price isn’t so competitive, so GreatCall may be a better choice.