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If you’re looking to buy a medical alert system, you can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $50 per month. The brand Life Alert charges high prices, with systems costing upwards of $80/month, coupled with contracts that lock subscribers in for at least three years. While we can’t put a price on the safety of our loved ones, we can definitely say that there are more affordable options that provide the same reliable protection as more costly medical alerts.
In this guide, we will provide a detailed rundown of five different medical alert providers that won't break the bank. Each of them offers options starting at $30 per month or less, and none of them require long-term contracts.
The determine the actual price of a medical alert system, you should consider the following costs:
Monthly subscription: Medical alert systems with no monthly fees, only call 911, while genuine systems connect you with trained monitoring agents. Generally, monthly subscription charges will be $30 to $50 per month.
Equipment/setup fees: These one-time fees are paid at the start of your contract. While not every company has these fees, they generally range from $50 to $200.
Contracts: While Life Alert locks subscribers into three-year contracts, most medical alert companies operate on a month-to-month basis. Some offer discounts for paying on an annual — as opposed to a monthly — basis.
Accessories: Fall detection, extra help buttons, and other accessories will generally cost extra fees. Some companies will charge a monthly fee, while others will charge one-time fees for accessories.
Before we recommend a medical alert company, we ensure that it provides excellent customer service and reliable equipment. We rated each company’s most affordable systems on the following:
Monthly cost: For this list, we weighed overall costs as the most important ranking criteria. Every system on this list has options for $30 per month or less.
Contracts: Every company on this list allows subscribers to choose month-to-month contracts, and some of them offer discounts for those willing to commit to semi-annual or annual agreements.
Response times: If a medical alert can’t give a user quick access to help, then it’s worthless, so we conducted 10 test calls with each of them to determine how quickly our emergency calls were answered.
Additional fees: Between accessories, add-on features, and one-time setup fees, some medical alert companies try to nickel-and-dime users for additional features. We gave preference to companies that kept these fees to a minimum.
While MobileHelp offers a variety of medical alerts for both in-home and mobile use, their most affordable system is the MobileHelp Classic, which costs $19.95 per month. MobileHelp also requires no long-term contracts, meaning you can cancel your service at any time and stop making payments.
The MobileHelp Classic requires no landline, as it uses a cellular connection, and it includes a waterproof help button, worn as either a pendant or wristband. In our tests, this system performed exceptionally well, connecting us to help in an average of 20 seconds.
With this system, you can add fall detection for $11 per month. While this price is slightly higher than the standard $10, the low price of the system itself more than makes up for this. You won’t find a cheaper home medical alert system on this list.
The main drawback of the MobileHelp Classic would have to be its lack of caregiver tracking. Unlike systems from Medical Guardian and Aloe Care Health, MobileHelp offers no way for a loved one to communicate with a system.
Lack of caregiver features aside, we can’t get over how affordable MobileHelp is, and in our tests, it performed just as well as systems that cost nearly double its price.
Lively is an interesting company. Rather than offering a traditional in-home system, it has a range of wearables and phones with emergency features. Its range is designed to be practical, sleek, and usable for even the most active and style-conscious senior. Best of all, it costs as low as $25 per month.
Lively’s Most Affordable System
The Lively Mobile Plus is one of the best mobile medical alert systems. Unlike an in-home system with a standard help button and base station, the Lively Mobile Plus combines both devices into one unit that can be either worn or carried. Its cellular connection also means you can take it just about anywhere, both in and out of your home. The Lively Mobile Plus starts at just $24.99 per month (with a one-time $49.99 device fee) — far cheaper than the average mobile system.
The Lively Mobile Plus has an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means it can be fully submerged in water and still function. It also has a standby battery life of 82 hours. In our tests, the rechargeable battery lasted just over two days, an impressive length considering how much we used it. Lively’s monitoring center answered each of our calls promptly, with an average response time of 13 seconds.
This mobile system also has optional fall detection, access to nurses and board-certified doctors, and a helpful caregiver app. These features, however, cost extra on top of the standard $24.99 per month.
There’s no way around it; the Lively Mobile Plus is ugly. Not only is it larger than other medical alert necklaces, but it’s also an unappealing gray plastic. If you’re looking for something a bit more discreet, then we’d recommend a mobile system from Bay Alarm Medical.
Appearances aside, the Lively Mobile Plus is easily the most affordable mobile medical alert on the market. If your loved one lives an active lifestyle, then there is hardly a better way to keep them protected in and out of the home.
Bay Alarm Medical has been around for over 70 years. We’ve always been very impressed with its quality products and dedication to customer service. All its systems come with a 30-day risk-free trial, so you can try it out and return it for a full refund (minus shipping) with no questions asked.
Bay Alarm’s Most Affordable System
Bay Alarm prices start at $24.95 per month for its in-home system, which includes a base station and a help button (on either a wristband or a lanyard). The cellular version costs an extra $10 per month, but there is no more affordable option for those with a landline connection in their home.
In addition to its stellar monitoring center, which routinely answered our test calls in about 1 seconds, Bay Alarm’s in-home system boasts some impressive specs. The base station has a backup battery that lasts 32 hours — hopefully enough to keep you protected through a power outage. Its help buttons are also waterproof, so you can remain protected in the shower, tub, or pool.
Another way Bay Alarm Medical helps you save is through its free spouse monitoring. Many companies require an additional subscription fee to add another person to your system, but Bay Alarm charges only a one-time $35 fee for an additional help button.
While the home systems from Bay Alarm Medical come with no extra setup fees, their mobile systems will cost an extra $99 to $159. Luckily, these charges are a one-time thing.
When it comes to affordable medical alert systems, there’s hardly a better option than Bay Alarm Medical. For more information on this company and its other systems, check out my full review of Bay Alarm Medical.
While more costly than some of the other companies on this list, Aloe Care Health impressed us with their advanced caregiver app and voice-activated systems. These systems start at $29.99 per month with no long-term contracts.
Their Most Affordable System
Aloe Care Health’s Essentials system, costing $29.99 per month, looks more or less like a traditional home medical alert system; however, its traditional base unit and bracelet combination have some unexpected features that helped it stand out in our tests.
Central to Aloe Care Health systems is the Aloe Care Health app. Through this app, we were able to remotely view information from the Aloe Care base unit. This included:
These metrics would be an ideal way to make sure that a loved one is doing okay, even when you can’t be around for them.
Aloe Care Health is also the only company on this list to allow caregivers to make calls directly to the medical alert system. With this feature, we could use the Aloe Care Health app to place phone calls directly to our test system. Alternatively, we could press the call button on the base unit to place an outgoing call to loved ones. If your loved one doesn’t have a cell phone, then this would be a great way to keep in touch.
In terms of basic medical alert features, we were also impressed by the reliability of our Essentials system. In our 10 test calls, response agents answered us in an average of 19 seconds. While this is higher than other systems on this list, it’s still better than average.
All of Aloe Care’s advanced communication features require Wi-Fi to function, so if your loved one does not have this in their household, then we’d recommend a system from Lively or MobileHelp.
An Aloe Care Health system provides the best features for caregivers as well as reliable medical alert performance. To learn more about this company, read our full Aloe Care Health review.
While Medical Guardian is more expensive than the other providers on this list, we can’t overlook how quickly their agents responded to our calls. In all of our test calls, they answered the phone in an average of eight seconds!
Their Most Affordable System
Medical Guardian’s most affordable system, the MGClassic costs $29.95 per month; however, this system requires an existing landline. If you don’t have a landline, then you’ll have to go with their MGHome Cellular, which costs $37.95 per month.
Regardless of which home system you choose, you’ll get access to water-resistant help buttons, a 1,300-foot in-home range, and the ultra-fast response times from Medical Guardian’s monitoring center. No other system answered our calls as fast as Medical Guardian.
Additionally, we found that Medical Guardian has one of the more advanced apps for caregivers. Through MyGuardian, we were able to track our system’s connection and receive notifications whenever the system placed an emergency call.
Unfortunately, Medical Guardian’s exceptional performance came at a price. At $37.95 for a cellular home system, the MGHome Cellular is easily among the more expensive home medical alert systems, not to mention its one-time equipment charge of $150. Luckily, Medical Guardian requires no long-term contracts on any of its systems.
While the prices may be high, you won’t find a more reliable medical alert company than Medical Guardian. To learn more about our experience with this provider, read our full Medical Guardian review.
If you thought Medical Guardian’s $37.95 price tag was high, then you’ll be shocked to learn that Life Alert’s systems cost anywhere from $49.95 to $89.95 per month, not to mention activation fees upward of $100. Life Alert also locked us into a three-year contract, requiring us to continue making these obscenely high payments for years to come.
Pricing isn’t the only negative when it comes to Life Alert. To learn more about our experience with this company, and how long we had to wait for them to answer our emergency calls, read our full Life Alert review.
What to Look for in an Affordable Medical Alert System
With so many medical alert systems on the market, choosing one can be daunting. Here are the factors we think are vital:
Upfront pricing: You should know immediately how much you’ll be paying each month and what is included in that fee. Most medical alert systems lease the equipment, which means your monthly charge likely will cover the cost of both your system and the accompanying monitoring.
Comfortable equipment: Most providers offer a pendant or wrist option, and some offer more modern-looking and lightweight buttons. It all comes down to what the wearer is comfortable with. Be particularly mindful when choosing a mobile device, since they tend to be bulkier.
Waterproof help buttons: The bathroom is a particularly dangerous place for slips, so it’s vital that the button can be worn when bathing or showering.
No long-term contracts: I’ve heard terrible stories about people being locked into long-term contracts that can’t be canceled even after a user passes away. I recommend only companies that make it easy to cancel your service.
Backup batteries: You’ll still need your system to function in the event of a power outage, so you should look for a system with a backup power supply.
Trained monitoring staff: A medical alert system is more than just a dedicated line to first responders. If it weren’t, then it would be nothing more than a glorified phone line. Look for companies whose agents boast The Monitoring Association’s Five Diamond certification, the industry’s highest standard of monitoring.
No fee pricing: While these systems are few and far between, some medical alert providers don’t charge a monthly fee. Read my guide to unmonitored medical alert systems to learn more.
I recommend seniors find space in their monthly budget for a medical alert system, if at all possible. It may be more than worth the cost to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing help is always close at hand. These five medical alert companies offer different products — from the most basic in-home systems to a very modern mobile system — which means you should be able to find something in your price range no matter your needs.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here