Bay Alarm Medical vs. GreatCall

There are dozens of medical alert providers offering a wide variety of medical alert systems. With so many choices, it can be difficult to find the system that best matches your needs and budget. To help simplify the process of picking a personal emergency response system, we’ve prepared a series of guides comparing the top medical alert companies.

In this guide we compare the devices, monitoring plans and features offered by Bay Alarm Medical and GreatCall.

Overview Table

Bay Alarm MedicalGreatCall
Lowest Monthly Cost$19.95$24.99
Highest Monthly Cost $59.95$39.99
Long-Term ContractNoNo
Activation Fee$0$35
Up-Front Equipment Cost$0 for all devices except the GPS Help Button ($79) and SOS Smartwatch ($179) $49.99
ConnectionLandline or AT&T cellularVerizon Cellular
Automatic Fall DetectionAvailableAvailable
GPS Location TrackingAvailableAvailable 
Optional AccessoriesWall-mounted help button PIN-protected lock box Additional wearable panic buttons Bella Charms (for help buttons without fall detection)None

Bay Alarm Medical Overview

Based in California, Bay Alarm Medical is an established company that offers a range of in-home and mobile medical alert systems that connect to an existing landline or come with a built-in cellular transponder.

The company allows users to choose from a variety of systems and services, including innovative devices such as the SOS Smartwatch, a watch-styled personal emergency response system. There’s also an in-car medical alert button with GPS location tracking and automatic crash detection, and a caregiver app.

Bay Alarm Medical Pros

  • Wide range of systems geared toward users of all ages and abilities
  • No activation fees
  • Free monitoring for another person at the same location
  • Users can set up a list of contacts to be called in an emergency
  • Over 100 languages supported through a real-time translation service
  • Systems start at under $20 per month

Bay Alarm Medical Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate
  • Add-on services and hardware can quickly increase the monthly costs

GreatCall Overview

GreatCall is a cellular phone and medical alert company owned by electronics retailer Best Buy. GreatCall is best known for its Jitterbug lineup of senior-friendly cell phones, and the company now offers a monitored medical alert system, the Lively Mobile Plus.

Also available is the Lively Wearable2, a wrist-mounted help button that pairs with a compatible smartphone to create a mobile medical alert system. This panic button can be worn on the wrist like a watch, or around the neck on a lanyard.

GreatCall Pros

  • Lively Wearable2 looks and feels like a regular smartwatch
  • Lively Mobile Plus includes optional fall detection
  • Lively Mobile Plus connects to the Verizon cellular network

GreatCall Cons

  • Automatic fall detection only offered on the highest-priced monitoring plan
  • Users need a compatible smartphone with a data plan activated to use the Lively Wearable2
  • Device needs to be placed on charging cradle daily
  • Panic button is relatively large and bulky compared to many other wearable medical alert devices

Our Pick

While GreatCall’s Lively Mobile Plus provides an all-in-one monitored medical alert solution with nationwide coverage, Bay Alarm Medical’s lineup of medical alert systems offers similar services at a lower cost.

We like the fact that Bay Alarm Medical has a variety of in-home and mobile medical alert systems, including a discrete, user-friendly medical alert smartwatch and an innovative in-car device. We also appreciate that Bay Alarm Medical markets its personal emergency response systems to users of all ages, which can help reduce the stigma that some people feel comes with having a medical alert device.

GreatCall Lively is designed to be a one-size-fits-all device that’s geared toward seniors, while Bay Alarm Medical offers a range of solutions that can be tailored to the unique needs of each subscriber. When choosing between these two medical alert companies, we recommend Bay Alarm Medical due to the lower costs, reliable nationwide coverage and selection of user-friendly devices.