Medical alert systems are affordable devices made for at-home or on-the-go use to help seniors stay safe and connected to emergency care. These easy-to-use emergency call buttons, often offered as wearable devices and wall buttons designed for the home, make them a valuable asset for many seniors at risk of falls, injury or illness but who wish to remain at home and out of assisted living or other institutional care. Medical alert devices are made and designed by dozens of companies that use the latest technologies such as GPS tracking, motion sensors and voice-controlled call buttons, making it easy for seniors to obtain a system that addresses their specific needs.
In fact, because there are so many companies each offering unique devices and features, it can be difficult and time-consuming for anyone who’s not an industry expert to decipher the marketing language to make accurate and informed comparisons. That’s why we’ve created side-by-side, easy-to-read comparisons between the very best medical alert companies.In this comparison, we take a closer look at MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical, two of the industry’s top companies. While they each offer low-priced in-home and mobile systems, their pricing structures and specific products available within their add-on features differ.
|Feature||MobileHelp||Bay Alarm Medical|
|Up-Front Fee||$44.95 one-time fee for Classic monthly plan||$0 for at-home devices $79 mobile device one-time purchase Shipping fee with standard plans|
|Monthly Monitoring||$19.95 to $44.95||$19.95 – $39.95|
|Contract||No contract with most plans; 30-day trial period||N/A; 30-day trial period; price-lock guarantee|
|Add-On Features||Fall detection – $10/month Protection plan and additional discounts – $5/month Wall button – $35.40/year Lockbox – 1 included free Telehealth platform – $119.40/year Extra help button – free with some plans||Fall detection – $10/month + $15/month for extra fall detection button Caregiver tracking, fall detection and free shipping – $15/month Lockbox – $30 Wearable button – $35 Wall button – $35 purchase or $10/month for 2 wall buttons and +$15/month for 4 wall buttons with at-home plan Decorative Bella necklace charm – $25 or 4 for $90 Protection plan – $5/month *free button for spouse with purchase of one extra button|
|Water Resistant||Yes||Yes for all except On the Road device|
|Wearable Device||Neck pendant and wristband||Neck pendant and wristband|
|Connection Type||Landline or cellular, mobile + GPS||Landline and/or cellular|
|Battery Life||Up to 24 hours for the mobile device||32-hour backup for in-home system Up to 5 years for in-home wearable device and wall buttons Up to 2 years for fall-detection button|
|Fall Detection||Optional extra add-on||Optional extra add-on|
|GPS||Included with the MobileHelp Solo, MobileHelp Duo (cellular) and Mobile Duo (cellular) plans||Included with the On the Go plan and 360 Protection plan as well as the in-car On the Road device|
|Call Center||24/7 support, USA-based||24/7 support, USA-based|
|Range from Base Center||Up to 1,300 feet||Up to 1,000 feet|
|2-Way Voice Communication||Included as standard||Included as standard|
|Optional Extras||Wall button, extra alert buttons, fall detection, Telehealth platform, protection plan||Wall button, wearable buttons, fall detection, caregiver tracking, lockbox, protection plan, decorative charm|
MobileHelp offers seniors a full suite of low-priced plan options for in-home and mobile use, including cellular and landline connections. Additionally, its pricing is fairly straightforward, making it easy for customers to ensure they’re only purchasing what they need and want. With only the exception of the Classic in-home monthly plan and its $49.95 start-up charge, systems do not include any one-time fees. For in-home users without a landline, however, its cellular connection option makes it one of the lowest-priced companies with that offering.
In addition to its solely in-home Classic plans, MobileHelp offers two mobile-only plans, one of which provides two GPS-enabled wearable devices, making it perfect for senior couples on the go or anyone who would simply prefer the convenience of two devices. The MobileHelp Duo plan comes with an at-home cellular system and mobile device for those who’d like full protection at home and while shopping or traveling, for only $4 more per month than the mobile-only Solo plan. The Classic cellular and Duo plans also include an option for medication reminders, and all plans except for the at-home landline plan include optional fall detection at only $10 per month.
With every plan, seniors can opt for a premium upgrade that includes a lifetime price lock guarantee, a device protection plan and discounts on medication reminders and other accessories. MobileHelp also has a unique partnership with a telehealth provider to provide platform access at $119.40 per year, which seniors can easily add on to any plan.
Like MobileHelp, Bay Alarm Medical offers low-priced plans for at-home use and on-the go, but unlike MobileHelp, it has a specific in-car plan designed for seniors (and even teenagers) who drive, an option that may provide both seniors and their loved ones with extra peace of mind. This plan comes with automatic crash detection and a mobile tracking app, and can be bundled with an in-home plan for an extra $10 per month.
Bay Alarm Medical’s base at-home plans are compatible with landlines and cellular connections and have the advantage of no upfront fees, but its mobile plans each require seniors to purchase their device for a $79 one-time payment in addition to their monthly monitoring fee. However, the company’s mobile devices use 4G LTE technology for more robust coverage and quick response times, and users can take advantage of a caregiver tracking app with the upgraded Preferred and Premium plans.
These Preferred and Premium plan upgrades are available with all of the company’s systems, making for bundled options that include more emergency buttons and other perks the more seniors opt to pay per month. In addition to these bundled packages, seniors can pay separately to purchase a wide range of add-ons including individual wall and wearable buttons, decorative charms for neck pendants and lock boxes.
Also like Mobile Help, Bay Alarm Medical offers a device protection warranty for an extra $5 per month. This plan, however, specifically includes free button replacements for low batteries and one device replacement per year.
While both Mobile Help and Bay Alarm Medical have affordable, fairly flexible options for seniors, they differ in their specific add-on features and the way plans are bundled. Bay Alarm Medical gives its customers many ways to mix and match features, but this can potentially lead to higher costs than Mobile Help, where features like lock boxes are included with each plan. Additionally, the $79 purchase fee for Bay Alarm Medical’s mobile device may be a turn off for seniors not interested in making a larger upfront investment. Fortunately, each offers month-to-month plans with no commitment and a 30-day free trial.
For seniors who take medication, Mobile Help’s medication reminders available with its cellular in-home and mobile plans and its telehealth option may make it the best fit. On the other hand, seniors who drive may find the benefits of Bay Alarm Medical’s in-car device to be a standout selling point.