Best for Experienced Monitoring Center Operators
Medical Care Alert was founded with the goal to help seniors live independently and remain in their own home. The company now provides personal emergency response systems to thousands of customers in all 50 states. It is owned by American Response Technologies, Inc., a family-owned, Michigan-based security company. Medical Care Alert maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and received the Super Service Award from Angie’s List seven years running, from 2012-2018.
Medical Care Alert offers six devices for both in-home and on-the-go use. All devices are monitored by the company’s own monitoring centers, with locations in California and New York. While most medical alert companies require operators to undergo a brief training program, Medical Care Alert goes the extra mile by only hiring operators with EMT/EMD certification. Users and their loved ones can have peace of mind that dispatchers answering emergency calls are well-versed in handling emergency situations.
Who Medical Care Alert Is Best For
Seniors with Outdoor Hobbies
Medical Care Alert offers several devices designed for outdoor use. The HOME & AWAY ELITE, HOME & AWAY PRIMO, and HOME & AWAY ULTRA are all fully-portable devices. They use AT&T’s cellular network to connect with the monitoring center, so users are protected anywhere in the United States with cellular service, whether that be at the beach, on vacation, or on a hike.
For those with hobbies that keep them closer to home, Medical Care Alert offers a HOME & YARD device specifically designed for those who spend a lot of time in the garden, on their porch, on in the yard. It is not a fully mobile device but comes with a portable two-way speaker to give users the freedom to spend ample time gardening or relaxing on the porch without worrying about their voice reaching the in-home base station during an emergency.
Caregivers can take comfort in Medical Care Alert’s Track & Find feature, which is included in the monthly cost of the HOME & AWAY PRIMO device. Track & Find allows caregivers to check their loved one’s location in real-time via an online portal. The portal shows the user’s current location on a map, as well as their recent movements. This feature is especially useful for caregivers of seniors with memory impairment who may be prone to wandering, or caregivers of seniors who drive independently.
The HOME & AWAY ULTRA includes the Care4Mom smartphone app, which also displays real-time location information and device status. The app is available at no extra cost.
Seniors Likely to Need Medical Assistance
Medical Care Alert takes the extra step in offering emergency protection by only hiring monitoring center operators with EMT/EMD experience. If a senior places a call to the monitoring center in need of medical assistance, an EMT/EMD certified operator will be able to confidently handle the situation and get the caller the help they need, thanks to their background in emergency services.
Plans and Starting Costs
New customers have the choice of paying for their devices on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. Once they have completed one of the above billing cycles, they have the option of switching to month-to-month payments. Medical Care Alert devices range in price from $29.95 for an in-home system to $39.95 for a portable device, when paid for on a quarterly basis. Prices are the same for month-to-month, quarterly, and semi-annual plans, but the annual plan does save users several dollars per month. Service costs are price-locked and guaranteed to never go up.
Users are never required to sign long-term contracts and may cancel their plan at any time. If users prepaid for several months at the time of cancellation, they receive a prorated refund.
Medical Care Alert does not charge any device, activation, or installation fees, but some customers must pay $12 for shipping. The shipping fee is waived for users who choose the annual payment option.
Device Prices and Features
HOME is an in-home, landline-based system. There is no cellular option for the basic HOME device, so users must have a working landline in their home. The system includes an in-home base station with a 72-hour backup battery and range of 1,000 feet, and two personal help buttons. The personal help buttons are water resistant and shower-safe.
HOME is Medical Care Alert’s least expensive device at $29.95 a month. Those who choose the annual payment plan receive a discount of several dollars per month, bringing the price to $27.45 a month. Automatic fall detection is available for an additional $10 a month.
HOME-3G is an in-home system that includes a cellular connection with AT&T’s network, so it is the ideal choice for those who want protection in the home but do not have a working landline. Other than the connection type, HOME-3G has all of the same features as the standard HOME. However, only one personal help button is included with this system.
HOME-3G is slightly more expensive than the HOME with a monthly cost of $34.95, or $32.04 with an annual plan. The monthly price includes the cost of an AT&T cellular connection. Those interested in automatic fall detection may add the feature to their plan for an additional $10 a month.
HOME & YARD
HOME & YARD is a unique device specifically designed for seniors who enjoy gardening and spending time outdoors but do not need a fully portable device. The system includes an in-home base station with a 24-hour backup battery, plus a portable device with a two-way speaker. The portable device replaces the standard personal help button included with the other HOME systems. The HOME & YARD wearable device allows users to speak with the monitoring center directly through the device, rather than through the in-home base station. This means they can be in areas where their voice will not carry indoors such as the yard, at the mailbox, on the porch, or in the garden and still have protection. It has a range of 600 feet.
The HOME & YARD base station requires a landline connection; there is no cellular option for this system.
This system costs $34.95 a month with quarterly and semi-annual plans or $32.04 a month with an annual plan. Automatic fall detection is not available with this system.
HOME & AWAY ELITE
The first of Medical Care Alert’s portable devices, HOME & AWAY ELITE is designed for seniors who spend a lot of time outside of the home. It uses AT&T’s cellular network and works anywhere in the United States with a cellular connection. It is an all-in-one device with a built-in two-way speaker and is completely water resistant and shower-safe. Its battery lasts up to 36 hours between charges. The device comes equipped with GPS location tracking to easily locate callers during an emergency.
HOME & AWAY ELITE costs $39.95 a month with most payment plans. The annual payment plan is slightly less expensive, with a monthly cost of $36.62. Users may also add automatic fall detection to their service plan for an additional $10 a month.
HOME & AWAY PRIMO
HOME & AWAY PRIMO is another all-in-one portable device, with upgraded location features. In addition to GPS, this device uses Wi-Fi signals for location tracking. It also includes access to the Track & Find caregiver portal, which provides on-demand location tracking. The lightweight device is shower-safe and can last up to 4 days on a single charge.
This system costs $39.95 a month, or $36.62 with an annual plan. Automatic fall detection is not available with the HOME & AWAY PRIMO.
HOME & AWAY ULTRA
Medical Care Alert’s newest device, the HOME & AWAY ULTRA, is an all-in-one portable device with advanced location tracking and upgraded cellular signal. The device uses AT&T’s 4G LTE wireless network to connect with the monitoring center and comes with a three-pronged location tracking system that uses GPS and both WiFi and cellular signals. The device is waterproof and shower-safe and has a battery life of up to 3 days. All HOME & AWAY ULTRA users receive free access to the Care4Mom smartphone app.
HOME & AWAY ULTRA costs $39.95 a month, or $36.62 with an annual plan. Automatic fall detection is available for an additional $10 a month.
|HOME System||HOME-3G System (Cellular)||HOME & YARD System||HOME & AWAY ELITE (GPS)||HOME & AWAY PRIMO (GPS & Wi-Fi)||HOME & AWAY ULTRA|
|Type of Device||In-home system||In-home system||In-home system||Mobile system||Mobile system||Mobile system|
|Battery Life||72-hour backup||72-hour backup||24-hour backup||36 hours||4 days||3 days|
|Range||1,000 feet||1,000 feet||600 feet||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Fall Detection||$10 a month||$10 a month||Not available||$10 a month||Not available||$10 a month|
Medical Care Alert offers several add-on devices, such as:
- Wall-Mounted Button: Wall-mounted buttons function as extra personal help buttons. Users can press them in order to place a call to the emergency monitoring center. They can be placed anywhere in the home, mounted or un-mounted. Medical Care Alert customers can purchase the buttons for $29.95 each.
- Lockbox: Lockboxes are a safe way to store a spare key for emergency services. Users can purchase a lockbox from Medical Care Alert for $29.95. Those who choose an annual payment plan receive a lockbox free of charge.
- Extra Personal Help Buttons: Users of one of Medical Care Alert’s in-home systems can purchase a second personal help button for $29.95. This allows a second person who lives in the home to be monitored at no additional monthly cost. The cost of additional buttons with automatic fall detection is $60.
Rather than contract with a third-party service, Medical Care Alert owns and operates its own monitoring centers. Monitoring services are entirely U.S.-based, with call centers located in Michigan and California. Caregivers, family members, and other designated contacts of users receive an automatic SMS text message anytime emergency services are dispatched to assist their loved one, giving them peace of mind that they will always know when their loved one is in need of assistance. Spanish speaking operators are available at all times.
Medical Care Alert received the Monitoring Center of the Year Award in 2016 from the Central Station Alarm Association.