Best Low Cost Medical Alert Systems

Len JosonOct 12, 2019

Personal safety is priceless, but it doesn’t need to be expensive. See our list of America’s best low cost medical alert systems for extra safety at home and on-the-go.

Anyone can benefit from a medical alert button worn on the wrist or around the neck. An emergency button is easier to use than a phone, and a neck pendant can summon help automatically if it detects a fall. Basic service starts at $19.95 per month. Fall detection and other extras cost around $5/month.

Some of the best new medical alert systems are “non-medical” in appearance. Special smartwatches are competing with traditional medical alert bracelets, and necklaces inspired by fashion jewelry are replacing traditional emergency neck pendants. These discreet call buttons can be monitored for the same prices as traditional medical alert equipment, in the home/yard or anywhere with cellular service.

Read on for choices from five top-ranked medical alert companies:

Best Low Cost Medical Alert Systems

  • Bay Alarm Medical – Best Affordable Medical Alert Overall
  • Medical Guardian – Most Affordable Medical Alert Watch
  • MobileHelp – Best Annual Payment Discounts
  • LifeStation – Most Affordable In-Home Medical Alert
  • LifeFone – Most Affordable Fall Detection

Bay Alarm Medical – Best Affordable Medical Alert Overall

Bay Alarm Medical is part of a home security company based in the San Francisco Bay area. Very well-established, the company is about 70 years old and has AARP’s endorsement; members get slight discounts on medical alert systems and home security. Before these discounts Bay Alarm Medical rates are $19.95 to $59.95 per month. The $19.95 plan with bracelet or neck pendant competes for best cheap medical alert deal overall, as Bay’s emergency response times lead the industry.

Home-Only or 4G Network Service

For $19.95/month you can use a home-only Bay Alarm alert system with a shower-safe bracelet or neck pendant. The wearable devices work up to 1000 feet or ⅕ mile from a base station, so home coverage can include the user’s front and back yards. A sensitive speaker on the base station allows voice communication with a top-performing team of emergency operators and language translators.

Coverage anywhere on a 4G cellular network starts at $39.95/month with a mobile Bay Alarm neck pendant. Pressing a button on the mobile pendant initiates two-way voice communication.

There’s no separate charge for equipment unless you choose a Bella charm with a neck pendant. Bella charms are artistic 2” circles that cover the pendant’s front. For example, one design is black with flashes of green, orange, and warm metallic tones. Another is soft pastels with a floral design. Bella charms sell for $27.95.

Extra Services

Here we list three Bay Alarm Medical add-ons: fall detection, wall/tabletop panic buttons, and geofencing.

Fall detection is a $10 add-on. The advantage of fall detection is that Bay Alarm Medical can be alerted to trouble even if the user can’t press a medical alert button. Fall detection technology works with medical alert neck pendants, but not with wrist-worn devices. This is true across brands.

If you’re willing to spend another $10/month, a recommended upgrade is a panic button set. It includes four self-adhesive buttons for extra security at home. You could attach a button to a shower wall, for example, or at the bottom of a staircase. The bathroom is the most common place for older adults to slip and fall.

The other main upgrade with Bay is geofencing. Geofencing is meant especially for seniors at risk of wandering and becoming disoriented. For $5/month a caregiver can use a mobile app or desktop app to see the subscriber’s GPS coordinates anytime. The caregiver can receive alerts whenever the person leaves a predefined area.

Summary

To review, Bay Alarm Medical provides high quality emergency service and has the most affordable in-home medical alert systems overall. Choices include standard medical alert bracelets, and neck pendants with or without Bella coverings. You can use standard Bay equipment for free with rates starting at $19.95/month. A 30-day risk-free deal is offered at their website.

Medical Guardian – Most Affordable Medical Alert Watch

Medical Guardian’s star product is a lightweight smartwatch called Freedom Guardian. This gadget is appealing for looking “non-medical” as it helps a person feel safe at home and away. At $99 it’s the most affordable medical alert watch on the market.

As explained below, basic monitoring of the medical watch starts at $39.95/month. Cheaper monthly plans from Medical Guardian start at $29.95 with medical alert bracelets and pendants meant for home use only.

Medical Alert Watch Pricing and Features

Freedom Guardian is available with black or white water resistant casing. Water resistant means the smartwatch won’t be damaged by sprinkles, so it can be a safety guardian in the rain or your shower. It isn’t made for activities like scrubbing dishes, swimming, or taking a bath.

Monitoring the watch costs $39.95/month and up when you choose an annual agreement. Without an annual agreement, the base rate is $44.95/month. With basic service the main functions of Freedom Guardian are:

  • Showing the time
  • Alerting emergency dispatchers
  • Tracking personal appointments (Calendar app)

Also included with Freedom Guardian, and any Medical Guardian subscription, is a realtor-style lock box. The lock box securely stores a house key outside your home. If Medical Guardian dispatches paramedics, the team will receive a PIN for accessing the key. A lock box lets emergency responders enter the home quickly, without needing to damage a door or window. The subscriber has control over the PIN.

A $5/month surcharge will activate the Medical Guardian Companion App. This smartphone app helps the subscriber and family/caregivers stay in touch with each other. Features of the Companion App include:

  • Texting with speech-to-text convenience
  • Shared access to the smartwatch calendar
  • GPS tracking for the subscriber’s location

Emergency Services

Emergency response by Medical Guardian is known for efficiency. Each operator has Five-Diamond Certification from The Monitoring Association, which is a leader in home security and medical alert security evaluations. The call center itself has certifications from top regulators in the insurance industry. Phone operators are bilingual English-Spanish and have translators available for other languages.

Review

To sum up, Medical Guardian features Freedom Guardian, the most affordable medical watch of the year. It’s an especially good option for seniors who are concerned about “looking old” if they wear a medical alert bracelet. Basic service is meant for the most independent subscribers. An advanced option gives caregivers access to the smartwatch calendar and the user’s location. You can monitor a watch for $39.95/month and up. A 30-month free trial is outlined at the Medical Guardian website.

MobileHelp – Best Annual Payment Discounts

Most medical alert companies give a choice of month-to-month or long-term monitoring. Their best deals are with long-term agreements, and MobileHelp has some of the best annual payment discounts. Their lowest rate is $19.95/month. It can cover a standard medical alert bracelet, a standard neck pendant, or a Trelawear fashion neck pendant especially meant for women. Another good deal is their $29/month monitoring of a high-end smartwatch powered by Samsung.

A lock box is included with each subscription. With excellent emergency service, MobileHelp has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

About the MobileHelp Smartwatch

MobileHelp Smart ($349) is a rugged smartwatch made in partnership with Samsung. Besides showing the time its main features are a cell chip for nationwide emergency support, two-way voice communication, and Samsung Health apps such as a pedometer and calorie counter. Emergency monitoring costs just $29/month when you prepay for a year.

The MobileHelp watch is a modified version of the Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch. The Gear watch sells for $299, so the medical alert button is a $50 upgrade. Pressing an emergency button will initiate two-way talk with a MobileHelp operator.  Rotating the watch’s steel bezel lets you move through Samsung Health apps.

Health apps on MobileHelp Smart can track:

  • Heart rate
  • Steps taken
  • Floors climbed
  • Water intake
  • Caffeine intake
  • Calorie intake
  • Calories burned

The calorie burn estimator is activity-specific rather than generic. For example, it has algorithms for yoga and for running. The calorie burn tool also takes into account the user’s age, weight, sex, and height.

Trelawear

The MobileHelp smartwatch has lots of benefits. Still, it isn’t for everyone. Women especially might say it’s too bulky… plus it doesn’t have fall detection.

An alternative with especially “feminine” appeal is a MobileHelp Trelawear jewelry pendant with a metal chain (gold or silver tone) and a faux onyx or turquoise stone. Like standard MobileHelp neck pendants, a Trelawear pendant can be monitored for $19.95/month and up without fall detection, or for $29.95/month and up with fall detection. It can work at home or away:

  • A button on the back of the Trela pendant can connect with a home base station up to 600 feet away, either the MobileHelp Classic or MobileHelp Duo. With Duo a second medical alert device is included. MobileHelp provides traditional and touchscreen home base stations.
  • On-the-go, a Trelawear pendant compatible with a base station that has 200’ range.

A battery (included) keeps the pendant charged for about three years.

Unlike the MobileHelp smartwatch, a MobileHelp Trelawear pendant is essentially free; purchase includes a MobileHelp monitoring credit.

Review

MobileHelp has the best annual payment discounts for monitoring medical alert devices that have modern style. MobileHelp Smart is a watch with Samsung Health apps that you can monitor for $29/month with 12-month plan.  Trelawear pendants with faux gemstones can masquerade as everyday jewelry, and monitoring starts at just $19.95 per month.

LifeStation – Most Affordable In-Home Medical Alert

LifeStation has great values on in-home medical alert systems: a $19.95 monthly deal if you pay for a year upfront, plus LifeStation locks the rate for as long as you keep service. Their base stations can connect with white and gray medical alert bracelets and neck pendants up to 1000 feet away.

For on-the-go safety, LifeStation monitors standard medical bracelets and pendants at $34.95 with a 12-month deal.

LifeStation’s emergency operations center has fast response times, and the company tests each customer’s system weekly to ensure a clear connection.

Special Features

Included with all LifeStation plans is a caregiver connection via Amazon Alexa. With the LifeStation Alexa Skill, a caregiver can say something like “Alexa, locate Mom” to get GPS data. LifeStation is the only medical alert system with an Alexa skill.

Adding a second user is cheap at $3.99 per month, the most affordable rate in the industry. Among the other add-ons are $10 fall detection technology, $2.49 wall panic buttons, and a $2.99/month lockbox service.

Review

LifeStation is a top choice for affordable in-home medical alert systems, as pricing starts at just $19.95 and you can lock a rate for life. Customers choose from standard medical alert bracelets and neck pendants (white or gray) that can call help from home and/or anywhere with cellular service. See the Lifestation website for a 30-day risk-free trial.

LifeFone – Most Affordable Fall Detection

Fall detection is available with neck pendants from all companies above. It’s most affordable with LifeFone, as the monthly surcharge is $5 instead of the usual $10. The LifeFone starting price includes two standard medical alert devices, so spouses/housemates can share a subscription. A home-use subscription without fall detection starts at $24.95. Fall detection brings the price for two buttons to $29.95.

Range for the home-only pendants is exceptional at 1300 feet or about ¼ mile. These don’t have voice-in-necklace; the microphone is in the base system. Meanwhile LifeFone’s on-the-go neck pendant has two-way voice. This premium product can be monitored for $44.95/month, or for $49.95/month with fall detection.

While LifeFone has competitive prices, it especially stands out to caregivers. LifeFone Caregiver Tools can help people live independently with simple daily supports including automated check-ins with LifeFone, check-in phone calls with a LifeFone agent, and a medication reminder service with confirmation button.

Review

LifeFone sells streamlined medical alert buttons to wear around the wrist or on a lanyard. Fall detection for the neck pendants has the industry’s lowest price, just $5, and you get two devices per subscription. The in-home range of 1300 feet is especially generous. Also available is a neck pendant that works with GPS on a wide mobile network.Rates are locked for as long as you keep service.