Medical alert systems make it easy for anyone to call for help by simply activating a small, wearable panic button rather than needing to dial a phone. Pressing a medical alert button triggers a call to a 24/7 monitoring center staffed by trained operators who can dispatch a friend, neighbor or first responders on behalf of the caller.
There are dozens of medical alert companies to choose from, and that can make choosing the best provider challenging. To help seniors and their loved ones narrow down their options, we’ve prepared a series of side-by-side comparisons of the leading medical alert companies and systems.
|MobileHelp||Bay Alarm Medical|
|Lowest Monthly Cost||$19.95||$19.95|
|Highest Monthly Cost||$44.95||$39.95|
|Automatic Fall Detection||Available||Available|
|GPS Location Tracking||Available||Available|
|Multiple Users on Same Plan||Yes||Yes|
|Wall-mounted Help Buttons||Available||Available|
|Choice of Wrist or Pendant Button||Yes||Yes|
|In-Vehicle Panic Button||No||Yes|
|Multilingual Emergency Operators||Yes||Yes|
MobileHelp is a Better Business Bureau-accredited medical alert company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The company’s monitoring services are provided by Rapid Response, an emergency call management company with over 25 years of experience that operates two U.S.-based call centers.
MobileHelp’s lineup of medical alert systems includes landline and cellular-powered devices with waterproof, wearable help buttons. The in-home systems have a range of up to 1400 feet between the base unit and help button, while the cellular systems work anywhere AT&T wireless service is available. GPS location tracking is available on all MobileHelp cellular systems, and most systems are compatible with the MobileHelp automatic fall detection button.
- Call response service provided through two call centers
- Emergency operators have at least two years of military service and/or post-secondary education
- Competitive pricing starts at $19.95 per month
- Nationwide coverage on cellular systems through the AT&T wireless network
- MobileHelp caregiver app gives authorized users access to GPS location tracking feature on GPS-enabled systems
- Monitoring costs are subject to change without notice
- No medical alert smartwatch
Bay Alarm Medical Overview
Based in California, Bay Alarm Medical is the medical alert division of the Bay Alarm Family of Companies, which also offers monitored home security systems.
Bay Alarm Medical’s lineup of medical alert systems includes landline and cellular-based units starting at $19.95 per month. No long-term contracts are required, and with the exception of two mobile devices, all required hardware is included in the monthly subscription cost.
Bay Alarm Medical offers the industry’s only in-car panic button, the Splitsecnd. This innovative device includes all the features of a traditional medical alert button, plus GPS location tracking and automatic crash detection. If the device detects a crash, a call is automatically placed to the monitoring center and an emergency operator will speak with the driver through the integrated speakerphone.
The company also offers the SOS Smartwatch, a discrete, wrist-mounted button that’s designed to appeal to users who want a panic button that doesn’t look like a medical device.
Bay Alarm Pros
- Only company to offer an in-car help button with GPS and automatic crash detection
- Competitive pricing
- SOS Smartwatch provides users with a discrete alternative to traditional medical alert help buttons
- Nationwide coverage on AT&T wireless network
Bay Alarm Cons
- Costs for additional services such as fall detection can add up fast
- Website uses pop-up ads making it difficult to navigate
- Users must purchase the GPS help button and SOS smartwatch
MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical both rank high in terms of customer satisfaction, and each offers landline and cellular-based medical alert systems starting at $19.95 per month. These two companies also offer advanced optional features, such as automatic fall detection and GPS location tracking, and consumers can lease additional wearable and wall-mounted panic buttons.
Spouse/roommate monitoring is available through each company, and MobileHelp and Bay Alarm Medical also use the same cellular system, AT&T, to provide nationwide coverage for their cellular-connected personal emergency response systems. Neither company requires long-term contracts, although subscribers can get a discount on their monitoring fees by choosing a semiannual or annual prepaid plan.
Consumers who are seeking an affordable, single-user medical alert system will find that the entry-level systems from either MobileHelp or Bay Alarm Medical are ideal.
Those who are looking for an innovative personal emergency response system may find that Bay Alarm Medical offers a superior range of solutions. Bay Alarm Medical is the only company to offer an in-car medical alert device, the Splitsecnd, which includes GPS location tracking and automatic crash detection. This device is geared toward users of all ages, including teen drivers, commuters, couriers and seniors.
Unlike MobileHelp, Bay Alarm Medical sells a medical alert smartwatch, the SOS, that users need to purchase outright at a cost of $179. This water-resistant, wrist-mounted panic button works on the AT&T wireless network and includes GPS location tracking, a speakerphone and step tracker. Monitoring costs $24.95 per month.