FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kinds of services do medical alert systems provide?
Medical alert systems provide a range of devices, all with one goal in mind: to provide you with 24-hour, 7-days-a-week emergency protection. You can choose an in-home system that connects to your landline, an on-the-go system that uses cellular technology, or a combination of both. Some companies also offer smartwatches or smartphones that serve as medical alert devices.
No matter which device you choose, the service is similar. The medical alert system includes a button you can push if you need help, which will alert the company’s monitoring center. You’ll then be able to talk to a dispatcher through a two-way speaker and let them know what kind of help you need.
How does a medical alert system work?
When you press the button on your pendant, wristband, base station, or other transmitter, it initiates a call to the monitoring center. You can talk to a dispatcher via a two-way voice speaker. The dispatcher will ask you if you are okay and if you need help. They can either contact a friend, family member, or emergency personnel. If you are unable to respond, emergency help will be dispatched.
Who needs a medical alert system?
Anyone who lives alone and wants the freedom and peace of mind to live their lives knowing that help is just the push of a button away will benefit from a medical alert system. People with medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy, seizures, stroke, or a heart condition are especially advised to have a medical alert system in place. Those recovering from major surgery, and those who are hard of hearing are also prime candidates for medical alert devices.
What’s the difference between using a medical alert system and calling 911?
In certain cases, you may not be able to call 911, for example in the case of a fall. With a medical alert device, you have a discreet button with you at all times that you can push in case of emergency. You’ll always have access to medical help or friends and family if needed.
Will Medicare cover a medical alert system?
Medicare does not cover medical alert systems. Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans will cover or reimburse you for your medical alert system. Call your Medicare Advantage plan to find out the details. Medicaid will sometimes cover a medical alert system, depending on the state where you live and what plan you have.
Do I need a landline or cellular service to get a medical alert system?
Basic in-home systems use a landline, but there are newer mobile systems that use cellular service; so you have options.
Do I need fall detection?
Many companies offer fall detection as an add-on option at extra cost. This feature might be helpful if you have Parkinson’s, epilepsy, MS, diabetes, or are prone to falls. This new technology can detect if you have fallen and will activate a call to the monitoring center. Fall detection is not 100% accurate, and can sometimes cause false alarms.
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HOW WE DETERMINE RANKINGS
We use these four criteria to evaluate each medical alert system, ensuring it holds up to the highest standards in function, quality, cost, and customer service.
Real customer reviews, company reputation, CSAA 5-Diamond certification, BBB grades, and transparency are vital aspects of our criteria for choosing the best medical alert systems.
Monitoring quality includes U.S.-based call centers, in-house call centers, the number of call centers, multilingual help, EMD-certified dispatchers, and more.
Pricing criteria include monthly rates, discounts, free equipment and activation, long-term contracts, extra fees, and whether the company offers a free trial.
These criteria include types of devices offered, quality of devices, waterproof button, fall detection, landline/cellular, mobile units, button-to-base range, battery life, wearable options, and mobile app options.