What’s the Best Medical Alert System?

Photo by comzeal images / Shutterstock.com

We’ve all seen the famous commercial: “Help! I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”

The need for a medical alert plan may have crossed your mind, especially if you are getting older.

A Money Talks News reader named “Buck” wrote us the following question about these services:

“You may have already reviewed medical alert plans and noted some of the better values, but this topic could be ready for another review. Pricing is constantly changing, and new offers are frequent.”

Buck, this topic takes me back. Years ago after my mom died, my dad considered using one of these things. Or, to be more accurate, my sister and I really wanted him to have something so we would know he was OK. As it turned out, we never got one because he ended up going into assisted living.

What is a medical alert plan?

You probably know how a medical alert plan works: You wear something around your neck. Then, if something happens, you press a button and talk to a dispatcher. They then send whatever assistance you need.

Different plans offer different options. For example, some can know when you’ve fallen without you having to push a button or say anything. That way, if you’re unconscious, you can still get help.

Obviously, plans like these can be great comfort when you’re in the position I was, with an elderly loved one living alone.

How much do medical alert plans cost?

To research this story, I went to Consumer Reports for an objective comparison of numerous companies. There, I learned the base price of these plans is about $30 a month, but there are options that can quickly jack up the price.

Examples of options at extra cost include:

  • They can call a friend or relative instead of calling a dispatcher. Maybe you would rather have your next-door neighbor alerted, which conceivably could avoid some hassle.
  • They can have GPS tracking. Basic plans often cover you only at home. But with this option, your alert can follow you and know where you are.

And those are just two examples: Depending on the plan, there are other options and other costs.

Do your own comparison shopping

As I said, Consumer Reports offers a great guide and plan comparison. The downside: Consumer Reports isn’t free. But I may have a workaround for you.

If you’re not a member of Consumer Reports, your library probably is. So, if you haven’t already, join your public library. It’s likely you can get to Consumer Reports that way and not pay anything. Call your library and see.

And if you’re worried about having to drive to the library, don’t. If your library offers the option, you’ll likely be able to access it right from the comfort of your own home.

So my advice to you, Buck, is to go to Consumer Reports, check out the various plans and compare them. Also, to learn how you can reduce your chances of a fall in the first place, be sure to read “The Most Common Reason That Older Adults Fall Down.”

By the way, speaking of comparing plans: The company with the famous “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials is called Life Alert. As is often the case with heavily advertised products, that plan was among the more expensive ones.

Buck, I hope that helps answer your question.

About me

I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 13 Worst Types of Tickets for Your Car Insurance Rate

Some types of traffic violations can drive your car insurance rate dramatically higher.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

10 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck in 8 Steps

Does it feel like your paycheck is gone the moment you get it? You can break that vicious cycle.

9 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home

These creative products on Amazon will hide unsightly clutter while saving space.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

5 Secrets of Seniors Who Keep Their Minds ‘Young’

Here is why some seniors’ brains work as well as those of people who are decades younger.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

Boomer With $100,000 Saved? Here’s How You Rank Among Peers

For many, $100,000 is the foundation that leads to a much higher net worth, a survey finds.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.