Medical Alert

time icon 21 min read update icon Sept. 20, 2019
10 Ratings - Write Review
9
Grand Score
8.4
User Score
9
Grand Score
8.4
User Score
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Medical Alert offers a highly reliable, easy-to-install medical alert service that uses AT&T’s 3G cellular network to give you the greatest possible mobility, all supported by highly trained emergency response personnel.

The medical alert business is made up of a small group of very large players – and a much larger group of small companies that might private label equipment from others.  Medical Alert belongs to the first group.

Connect America, Medical Alert’s parent company, is a nationwide company that has its corporate headquarters located outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is considered one of the pioneers in the industry. Over the decades, it has allowed millions of seniors to continue living independently at home instead of moving in with relatives or incurring the high costs of assisted living.

Medical Alert has grown its product offerings over the years from simple landline systems to cellular systems that use interactive 2-way technology in both home-based and totally mobile packages. It has also added a one-button 911 calling device that adds tremendous flexibility to seniors as they go about their activities away from home.  

Whether being served individually or through different retail and medical organizations, Medical Alert is ensuring greater independence to older Americans while giving their caretakers and loved ones the peace of mind of knowing they are being monitored 24 hours a day.

Grandfolk Scoring
Price 8/10
Shipping fee 9/10
Activation fee 10/10
Contract obligation 8/10
Cancellation fee 10/10
Warranty 10/10
Base unit range 8/10
Mobile device range 8/10
Landline requirement 10/10
Risk-free trial period 6/10
Equipment cost 10/10
Fall detection button 10/10
Wall-mounted button 8/10
Water-resistant pendant 10/10
Price
Monthly monitoring fee
$29.95-$41.95
Shipping fee
Equipment delivery
None on annual plan
Activation fee
Setting up service
None
Contract obligation
Length of commitment
3 months
Cancellation fee
To terminate service
None
Warranty
Replacement policy
Lifetime for defects
Base unit range
Effective signal distance
600 feet
Mobile device range
Effective signal distance
350 feet
Landline requirement
How system communicates
No, has cellular option
Risk-free trial period
Period for full refund
No
Equipment cost
Basic equipment purchase
None
Fall detection button
Is it available?
Yes
Wall-mounted button
Is it available?
No
Water-resistant pendant
Wearable in shower?
Yes
Age Score:
10
50-64 Years
10
65-74 Years
9
75-84 Years
7
85-Older

Medical Alert has a full range of products, making it very friendly to a person age 50-65 who is living alone and looking for peace of mind regarding a possible accident or unforeseen health event. The inexpensive Alert911 one-button mobile device is particularly appealing when the risk is low. As the user advances in age (65-75) but is still active, the On The Go MobileElite may become more appropriate with its GPS instant tracking capability. 

As the years pass and activity away from home declines, moving to the At Home (Landline or Cellular version) would result in small cost savings. Because the Medical Alert system has no wall-mounted buttons or medical monitoring online tools, its value decreases as age increases beyond 65-75. By 85, the system is most likely being managed by loved ones and caregivers, and the lack of monitoring tools at a distance can go from inconvenient to dangerous. The system would eventually have to be replaced by physical caregivers. 

Health Score:
10
Poor Health
10
Fair Health
9
Good Health
8
Great Health

The Alert911 is an inexpensive insurance policy that a healthy person can carry in a backpack or purse, ready to dial the nearest 9-1-1 operator in case of an emergency. As health declines and the possibility of a health event increases, having the GPS capability of the On The Go MobileElite unit would flesh out the coverage of the Alert911 with the ability to pinpoint the user’s location instantly in case of need.

As health transitions from fair to poor, and activity levels begin to lessen, the At Home (Landline or Cellular version) could be sufficient. The availability of a fall detection button in all of these systems adds to the overall value of the system, as the button functions automatically. Depending on the cause of the declining health (diabetes, for example), it could be leading to even more frequent falling. The lack of wall-mounted buttons is problematic as health declines. The absence of online monitoring tools, as health reaches the level of poor, may mean having to change to another company’s system. Eventually, any system will have to be replaced by a physical caregiver. 
 

Pros:

The advantages Medical Alert brings to seniors are plentiful. They include:

  • Three basic configurations that protect you exactly as you live your life: a landline system for at home, a cellular system for at home and a mobile system that can be used both away from home and at home (all of which include a waterproof ‘wearable,’ either a pendant or a wrist button).
  • A separate one-button mobile unit that calls 9-1-1 wherever you are and lets you talk to the operator, for a reasonable monthly fee (not GPS).
  • An optional fall detection button that can be added to the system and a lockbox provided for free with the annual pay plan on the two home-based systems. 
  • Instant location tracking with the GPS-enabled mobile On The Go alert system that saves the critical minutes spent attempting to dial 9-1-1 or having first responders trying to locate you using old cell-tower technology.
  • No-cost cellular service through AT&T’s 3G network that frees you from needing a landline and means you are covered even when local telephone service might be down.
  • 24/7/365 access to top-notch emergency response operators who are US-based and highly trained.
  • No contracts to sign and, after the initial 90-day period, the service becomes month-to-month, cancellable upon 30 days notice and return of equipment, with a prompt refund of any prorated prepaid money. 
  • Braille characters on ‘emergency’, ‘home’, and ‘clear’ buttons on the base station.

Medical Alert has kept its offerings relatively straightforward while covering all the basic needs at home and away so seniors can feel safe wherever they might be. The addition of the Alert911 one-button cell-based device at a reasonable price offers even more flexibility. 

Cons:

Medical Alert has several drawbacks in what it offers to seniors:

  • Some areas in the US where AT&T’s cellular network is not available or is spotty, in which case Medical Alert is not a good option for you if you don’t have a landline.  
  • Having to recharge the mobile device used in the On The Go system every night as the mobile system has no plugged-in base unit.
  • A required 3-month non-refundable deposit, equivalent to three months of service, after which the service can be cancelled with no penalty, but with 30 days advance notice. 
  • Emergency monitoring services that are outsourced to third parties, although their service provider gets high marks and is UL, FM and Department of Defense certified, with SIA-certified operators.
  • No wall-mounted buttons to add convenient help button locations;  also, no computer-based system so loved ones can monitor your condition from a distance.
  • No automatic testing of the system; customers are told to test manually each month.
  • Customer Service hours that are daily, but not 24/7, for Billing and Administrative issues.

While Medical Alert is very popular, serves many customers at any one time and has a good reputation as a reliable supplier, it does have some inconvenient requirements or limitations. 
 

Bottom Line:

Medical Alert, through its parent company Connect America, has played a major role in the medical alert industry for four decades, also being selected to offer its systems through many associations and health organizations. It offers high-quality, well-priced products. It also prides itself on fast response times from the highly qualified US-based monitoring center network that provides that service. While its range of accessories and add-on services is somewhat limited, a large number of seniors happily count on Medical Alert at any one time.  

We highly recommend Medical Alert if you are not looking for long distance monitoring of your activity and medical condition by loved ones through a computer or smartphone. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What exactly happens when I press the help button?
When you press the help button, a phone rings at Medical Alert’s emergency response center and an operator sees all your vital information on a screen. That allows that person to respond appropriately, based on instructions you had provided earlier of who you want to be contacted and how you want different situations handled. If you can speak, your voice will be picked up by the highly sensitive base station or mobile device microphones and a comforting 2-way conversation will take place to assess the situation. Someone will stay in contact with you until help arrives: either a friend or family member (in non-emergencies) or the Emergency Medical Service (in emergencies). There is no additional cost for this activity, but local costs (such as ambulance rides) will be your responsibility.


How do I know where my help button will work?
The effective range between help buttons and the At-Home base stations is rated for 400-600 feet, but many factors can affect their reach (construction of the house, weather, etc.) Therefore, Medical Alert recommends you test the distance by going to various areas of the house where you might go and check to see if the base station picks up your signal when you press the help button. (Be sure the emergency monitoring center knows you are doing this, so it does not register as a formal emergency call.) Also test outside the house, such as the path to the mailbox. If there are dead zones, you might want to move the base station or change to a mobile system that has fewer restrictions. 


Can I trust Medical Alert’s emergency monitoring service?
Medical Alert uses an excellent US-based emergency monitoring network made up of several UL-listed (UL 1981) interlinked centers that are staffed by SIA-certified operators. The network is UL-listed (UL 1981) and certified by Factory Mutual and the Department of Defense. The network is designed with redundancy in computer and telephone systems so one system kicks in if another goes down for any reason. Medical Alert also wants everyone to feel comfortable communication. For that reason, in addition to its operators being multilingual, they have access to International Language Line that translates 140 languages for them in real time. 
 

More Information:

Medical Alert System Overview

  • No cost for system equipment and no set-up fee
  • No contracts to sign beyond the initial 90-day commitment
  • If no landline, AT&T’s cellular network is available
  • Lifetime warranty against defects
  • State-of-the-art technology on equipment
  • System-enhancing fall detection, optional at an extra cost
  • Direct connection to top-notch emergency response operators 24/7/365


Package Details 

Medical Alert offers a choice of three different packages to meet your needs and circumstances. Besides the features listed in the system overview above, all three packages include:

  • Two waterproof ‘wearables’ (help buttons: one pendant and one wrist band)
  • Optional (add-on) fall detection button that works with all packages
  • Variable signal range between help button and base station (range test to be sure)
     

Medical Alert At Home Landline ($32.99 per month, or $329.89 per year) 27.49x12

The At Home Landline system works well for someone who does not need coverage much beyond the house. The one limitation is that you will not have service if you are in an area where telephone service sometimes goes down. 

  • Standard landline base station with 32-hour backup battery for power failures
  •  2-way voice communication through the base station
  • Plug-in phone cord and power supply
  • Free Shipping with semi-annual payment plan
  • Free Shipping and Lockbox, plus 1 month free, with annual payment plan
     

Medical Alert At Home (Cellular) No Landline ($37.99 per month, or $384.89 per year) 32.07x12

The At Home Cellular system works best for someone who does not have a landline available at home or lives where telephone service sometimes goes down. This system uses AT&T’s cellular network, at no extra cost to you, as long as adequate AT&T cell phone coverage is available.

  • Cellular base station with 36-hour backup battery for power failures
  •  2-way voice communication through the base station
  • Plug-in power supply
  • Free Shipping with semi-annual payment plan
  • Free Shipping and Lockbox, plus 1 month free, with annual payment plan


Medical Alert On The Go MobileElite ($42.99 per month, or $439.89 per year) 36.66x12

The On The Go MobileElite system uses a small mobile device the size of a deck of cards that you keep near you at all times, whether you are home or out and about, in town or across the country. This device replaces the base unit and provides cellular service through AT&T and GPS satellite tracking technology so you can be located immediately wherever you might need emergency medical assistance.

  • Mobile device (not waterproof) with 24-hour battery
  • Charging cradle with 1-hour charging cycle and 36-hour backup battery
  •  2-way voice communication through the mobile device
  • Lightweight, modern help button with interchangeable neck and wrist options
  • Convenient carrying pouch
  • Plug-in power supply
  • Free Shipping with semi-annual payment plan
  • Free Shipping, plus 1 month free, with annual payment plan


Exclusive Add-On Services    

Medical Alert Alert911 ($19.99 per month, or $239.88 per year) 19.99x12

Like a small one-button cell phone, press the button and the system dials 9-1-1 to connect you right away to a 9-1-1 operator. Not GPS-enabled, so location will have to be provided to the 9-1-1 operator. As an uninitialized device, it has no assigned a phone number, so no one can call you back. Works on any available cell network, not just AT&T. No airtime charges or fees for emergency calls. Cannot order online; one must fill out the form and Customer Service will call you.     


Medical Alert Protection Plan ($5/month) 

  • Up to $350 in savings per year to replace stolen, lost or damaged button


Medical Alert’s Fall Detection Button ($10/month; less on annual plan)

  • Automatically detects when you have fallen and calls for help
  • Not guaranteed 100% accurate despite its advanced technology
  • Comes as a pendant to be worn outside of your clothing
  • Communicates with either the base station or mobile device
  • Waterproof so it can be worn in the shower
  • Can be used as any other medical alert button even if you haven’t fallen


Optional Accessories: Lockbox (free with annual payment plan): to hold your house key securely where it is accessible to emergency responders who come to your aid when you cannot unlock your door


Additional Company Details

Contract Details: Emergency alert service is offered on a month-by-month basis, with no contractual commitment beyond the initial 90-day period. Medical Alert does offer some price breaks if you pay semi-annually or annually. Cancellation requires 30 days advance written notice and will be effective only once all equipment is received by Medical Alert. Failure to return all equipment in a satisfactory condition will result in a charge. No cancellation fees are due. The equipment belongs to Medical Alert and must be shipped back at your expense after obtaining a Return Authorization Code. Unused prepaid amounts will be refunded.  

Warranty: Medical Alert warrants that its equipment will be free from defect. It will replace any defective equipment at no charge. However, any equipment damaged or lost will need to be replaced at your expense, although the Medical Alert Protection Plan (at $5/month) covers up to $350 of such replacement costs. (At Home systems and Mobile Alert system cost $350 to replace, and Alert911 costs $150 to replace.) 

Design Philosophy: Medical Alert’s ‘wearables’ are simple and not overly obtrusive. 

Accreditations: Medical Alert is a member of the Medical Alert Monitoring Association (MAMA) and has in the past been endorsed by The Arthritis Association and Good Housekeeping. Its monitoring system is UL-listed and certified by Factory Mutual and the Department of Defense. The company’s rating with the Better Business is A+.

Company Size: Over the decades, Medical Alert’s parent, Connect America, has served over a million people reliably and it current monitors hundreds of thousands of seniors. Its founder has over 35 years in the security business and has built a strong management team, most of who have backgrounds in related industries as well. A good part of the growth has come from offering services to large retail chains and medical organizations.


Contact

Medical Alert
816 Park Way
Broomall, PA 19008
Phone: 1-800-906-0872
Email: [missing]
Website: https://www.medicalalert.com

Sharon O'Day - Senior Advisor

Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.

Loretta
RATING:

I am quite deaf in the ears and would require some sort of assistance every now and then. I am thankful that I have this device which I could use to ask for help. I try to test it atleast every two months and quite satisfied with their response team. I wear it around my neck and I am happy with it so far.

Isabelle
RATING:

After my husband passed away, my kids subscribed me to medical Alert. 3 months ago at 4pm, I slipped in the garage and broke my wrist. As luck would have it, I neglected to wear the necklace that time and laid on the floor fo four hours unable to get up. Thankfully I saw my son passing by the open door and I screamed for help. Medical Alert alerted my daughter who lives nearby and was able to get to me before the rescuers. The rescuers cam nect relatively quick. I learned my lesson now and never remove my device from my body now.

Rose
RATING:

Medical alert is a very effective device. Thoughi must admit that it is sometimes too sensitive. One time While I was sleeping I accidentally rolled over it and the response team were over at the house in a flash. So now instead of the necklace thing I am using the bracelet type. I did have an episode of a false alarm though but i think this one's much better. One time I tested it for good measure I do have to wait for sweveral minutes before getting someone on the other line. They were quite okay with me just testing it and checking their response.

Emmett
RATING:

For my peace of mind, I got Medical Alert. I am quite happy with it.

Jewel
RATING:

After I saw an ad for Medical Alert, I ditched my other brand that I was quite unsatisfied with and subscribed to Medical Alert. I tried a false alarm by hitting the button and the fire department came over. I like it though the battery drains a tad too quickly.

Chloe
RATING:

I had another brand of Medical alert system that was more like a pre recorded audio if I accidentally activated it. It would ask If I need assistance and I would reply that I didn't need one. Medical Alert device is a bit different. A real person would call me to check if Im okay after the device has been activated. I would just have to complain that the device is way bit too sensitive and is always going off. Maybe because i wear the necklace type and it always bumps into thing a lot and maybe the sensors think that I fell or something. I've had several false alarms usually when I was doing the laundryor bending over to pick something up. I had to say that the responders are always on their toes . Also, I don't like wearing it when i take a bath as the wet lanyard feels icky, I don't like it when it gets wet and I usually blow dry it after shower. So I don't wear it anymore when bathing. The neck strap is too long for me and there is no aesthetic way to adjust it to size if you know what I mean. I am a short person and the necklace hangs almost to my navel. However I do think it does its job perfectly And I do ask for forgiveness everytime i set off a false alarm as i don't want to inconvenience anyone.

Della
RATING:

I got Medical Alert because I suffer from vertigo and collapsed in my bathroom twice. I had an issue with a Medical Alert rep when I called for a replacement because both device that they have sent me was faulty. They were not charging properly and was always notifying me that the battery is too low. She isits that it was working fine when in fact it was not. The second time I called, the person on the other line was more compassionate and resolved the issue for me. Other than that, I feel alot safer with having Medical alert.

Mildred
RATING:

I use Medical Alert and string it on my neck I find it comforting to know that whenever I go out for lone walks and overcome with dizziness I could activate the device and call for help. Their team is always fast and they are polite. i've been bugging my sister who lives in Florida to get one for herself and she said she would consider it.

Elsa
RATING:

I am terrified of the night time noises and has been a Medical Alert user for several years now. I now have peace of mind that somebody would come help me with just a push of a button. I must say that it is worth every penny as it gave me back my confidence and the responders are always quick to respond. I wear the necklace type though I sometimes find it bothersome, I can get used to it. The bracelet type is the one I don't like,also, the one that can be used as a pin since my hands are not dexterous as it used to be getting it on and off my clothes is such a daunting task, so I sent them back to the company. All in all, I am very happy with Medical Alert.

Abigail
RATING:

I have frequent fainting spells because I I have a heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. So I thought its high time to get a medical alert device. I feel more secure having this with me. I do hope that they be a bit more faster in responding. Another thing, when i step outside my house, my medical alert system loses signal. It would be a lot better if the system could alert the team should I be anywhere outside.

Charlotte
RATING:

I live alone and at 95 years only, I am no longer able to be nimble in the feet as I used to be. I am quite good at getting into accidents. If I fall, I stay on the floor to infinity and beyond, so I think I really needed Medical Alert. I must say having it gave me a sense of security. I wear the one that's supposed to go around the neck and I tuck it under my shirt. I forget that it's there. I recommend it to people who would ever need some special type of assistance.

D.
RATING:

I try to take extra care of my Medical alert device, I wear it around my neck and I am happy that it is such a reliable product.

Vivian/Vivienne
RATING:

After my dear husband passed away I relocated to the countryside. My house is roughly a mile away from the roadside. I live alone and getting help should I need one is gonna be tricky. Fortunately my friend who uses Medical Alert recommended that I get one for myself just in case. I had the first device replaced because it is too sensitive and is always sending false alarms. The second one is less expensive but I didn't get the free months as they have promised because they started charging me last month. Anyway, I think it is worth the price and I feel safer now .

Bernard
RATING:

My Medical Alert is really a big help especially when I took a fall and needed assitance. Medical Alert is a godsend.

Clementine
RATING:

One time on October 19 2015 I had an accident in my bedroom and had a broken ankle. Thankfully i have Medical alert and help was quick to arrive. The rescuers were trying to find a way to get inside the house so i screamed from my open windows into the cool Florida wather where to find the hidden key. I learned my lesson after that, I got a lockbox and gave the code to MobilHelp for the rescuers to access in case they need to get inside my house. Got me hospitalized for 2 days. After that medicare confined me to a rehab which was dreadful and I was only allowed to go home on new year's day . I was tempted to use the device another time but i was afraid they wouldsend me to the hospital again. That time was when ididn't pull the seat out from under the table so I could sit properly and landed squarely on the floor. I wear Medical alert like a necklace because the bracelet type is too big for my wrists. It wears like second skin. I have another device but I find it too cumbersome to wear on my person. I do advise people to get Medical Alert for their safety.

Liza
RATING:

My Medical alert device is my source of comfort since I am of advanced age and live alone. As you know, old person are more vulnerable to accidents and break-ins. IThe first one I gfot was the necklace type. The strap caused my skin around my neck to chaff so I had it replaced. Neck I got the bracelet type but then I think it is a wee bit too large for me as it fell off my hands several times. One time I went out and my bracelet gave a false alarm. It caused quite a ruckus but I am thankful that it's doing its job wonderfully .

Jocelyn
RATING:

I got Medical Alert because I was the only one in my group of friends who didn't have one. I got the wrist strap model and I am happy with it.

Lafayette
RATING:

I've been using the wrist band Medical alert system just in case. I am quite satisfied.

Phoebe
RATING:

I tried my Medical alert to see if it works and I am quite satisfied. I've been subscribed for quite some time and I find their team very helpful and nice. The device is very easy to use and they respond in a timely manner.

Violet
RATING:

I know I am not getting any younger so I got myself the latest model of Medical Alert. It's supposed to detect falls and call for help. I did test it and I am impressed with the team's speedy response.

Eloise
RATING:

When my son who lived in Alabama died, I brought home his Medical alert system that I paid for him to use when he was alive. I live alone and prone to falls and when I fall I could not get up on my own and would need some help. Their rep convinced me to upgrade it where I can bring it anywhere and could ask for help. But It's always sending false alarms. All in all I am thorougly satisfied with their service.

Ida
RATING:

I've been a long time subscriber to Medical Alert. One time I had severe hypoglycemia and was rushed to the hospital. The doctors wouldn't let me doze off they said it would be fatal for me. My kids were terrified there would be a repeat episode so they bought me this medical alert system. I am actually a lot confident now that someone would come to my aid should something bad happen to me. I've set off several false alarms, and the responders were very quick to come. They were quite understanding when I told them that I didn't mean to ask for help. I had a a fall detector added to my device, though I do wish they would come up with something that has better wearability. All in all,I think Medical Alert is awesome.

Delilah
RATING:

My family got me Medical Alert since I fell after hurrying to open the door. I live in the countryside and live on my own after my dear husband passed away. They tested it if it's working fine and I wear it around my necklace so that my family could have peace of mind.

Stewart
RATING:

We got our Flora a Medical alert system after she suffered a stroke and she always wears it in her person. It makes her feel safe especially when I am not home and she could not contact me. It's been a reliable little thing because one time, she got herself locked out of the house in her housecoat and it has been a chilly weather. She activated the device and the team quickly responded and unlocked the house for her. She has another Medical Alert contract and device specialized for falls that she mistakenly signed for and we were supposed to return it because she has no need for it and was quite expensive at $20 a month subscription.

Samuel
RATING:

They offer authentic service.