Medical Alert System Reviews
Lifeline Medical Alert Systems Review
A medical alert review of Lifeline must be included, in large part due the dominance of Lifeline in the medical alert industry. Early in 2006 Lifeline was acquired by and is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the multi national Dutch company known as Philips Electronics. The acquisition by Philips in 2006 has done nothing to hurt the Lifeline brand. In fact, we think Lifeline is our most important competitor.
After review of the Lifeline website, we could not find any specific pricing. On the Lifeline homepage we found a small reference that simply said: “Options as low as $29.95/mo.” This seems to indicate that pricing for their medical alert services start at $29.95 per month and can increase significantly from there. As with other medical alert system reviews, when a company does not clearly display their pricing and terms … this should raise some red flags. What is Lifeline fearful of in regard to displaying their prices?
Lifeline seems to have a very robust distribution network via hospitals. There are many hospitals that are affiliated with Lifeline and have a financial interest when their patients subscribe to Lifeline. Often times, when a hospital if officially connected to their own Lifeline program … that hospital will not include any other medical alert system companies on their list of PERS providers … so this gives the patient/consumer a choice of one emergency response system provider. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this and Lifeline or their affiliated hospitals have nothing to be ashamed of … this is America … we are a profit based and market driven society. We just wonder why this connection is not publicly disclosed? Is there any possibility of a conflict of interest? Could the patients that are being discharged from a hospital that has a Lifeline program be adversely affected by only being given one choice? Is it possible that by limiting patient choice, competition is being discouraged and the cost for medical alert services may be more expensive?
Lifeline is certainly the largest provider of medical alert systems in America and they are a fine company. Size often impacts customer service and may also impact the very personal interaction that occurs when this life saving service is needed. Lastly, we would wonder if “bigger is better” when it comes to keeping the elderly and seniors safe?
* Lifeline ® is a registered trademark of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V.
Life Alert Medical Alert Systems Review
This review of Life Alert would be remiss if it did not acknowledge that Life Alert may be the most well known medical alert system company in America. Life Alert probably spends a lot of money on television and print advertisements to secure the popularity of their brand. Life Alert may also be the largest privately held medical alert system company in the country. This is hard to know for sure simply because they are privately held.
As with ADT, Life Alert does not easily disclose any pricing on their website. Nor do they have an easy way of requesting written information or a brochure. It seems as though, as part of their sales methodology, Life Alert wants you to call their toll free number so they can begin the process of closing the sale. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with this … it is certainly not illegal … it is just different than most other medical alert providers.
With regard to Life Alert’s pricing: it seems to be somewhat of a moving target. There appears to be a rather large activation fee and the monthly charge can be as high as $39.00 per month. Life Alert also seems to require a three year contact.
Reviewing Life Alert’s medical alert system offering has created some questions that should be answered by the consumer. What is the value of committing to a three year contract when there are other medical alert providers that require no contractual commitment? What is the purpose of an activation fee? Why is the Life Alert service worth about 50% more than other comparable providers? Life Alert’s capacity to respond to alarms and dispatch help is more than acceptable … they just cost too much … at least for this review.
* Life Alert ® is a registered trademark of Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc.
GreatCall Medical Alert Systems Review – Mobile Medical Alert Systems
GreatCall is a relatively new company in the medical alert system world. As best we can tell they started doing business in Southern California around 2008 and their offering is not the standard medical alert system. GreatCall refers to their offering as a mobile medical alert system that can be used almost anywhere in the country. The GreatCall 5 Star device utilizes the cellular networks to connect to their monitoring center as opposed to plain old telephone landline service.
If all of the claims that are made on their website are truthful … then GreatCall should be an adequate solution for the elderly community that would be in need of a medical alert device. It should be noted that the use of cellular based technology is generally considered to be less reliable than a landline based medical alert device. It should also be noted that a large part of the senior and elderly communities have issues with their hearing. That said, the quality of the sound is likely not any better than that of a typical cell phone and many seniors that have some hearing loss may very well have trouble hearing and communicating with this device.
Also of import is the size of the device … compared to most medical alert necklaces or medical alert bracelets … The GreatCall device is rather large and cannot be easily worn on ones wrist or around ones neck. It looks like it could be clipped on the waistband of a pair of pants or kept in ones pocket … neither of those places are ideal given that the device may be difficult to reach at the time of an emergency.
It should also be noted that GreatCall does not seem to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It might be wise for any consumer considering getting a GreatCall mobile medical alert system to do a Google search … “GreatCall Five Star Complaints” to see what the general public has to say about this company and their product offering.
Also, nowhere on their website is there any mention of the accreditations of their monitoring center. There is no indication that the GreatCall monitoring center is CSAA Five Diamond Certified or UL listed (certified by the Underwriters Laboratories). This should be considered as well.
GreatCall® and 5Star are trademarks of GreatCall, Inc.
ADT Medical Alert Systems
For many years ADT was a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyco International. Sometime in late 2012 ADT separated from Tyco to become an independent, publicly traded security company that serves the residential and small business markets with a complete line of security products that include burglary protection, video surveillance, home automation, fire protection, carbon monoxide detection, flood protection and medical alert systems.
As far as we can tell, medical alert systems may be the smallest part of their business.
ADT does not quote specific prices on their website. You either have to call them or fill out an on line form so that they can obtain your personal information. They do say their service cost about $1.00 per day or about $30.00 per month.
While their pricing does not seem terribly unreasonable, we think there are better alternatives that provide equal or better service for about 20% less. Why pay $30.00 per month when you can pay $24.00 per month for the same service.
ADT® is a registered trademark of ADT US Holdings, Inc.
Bay Alarm Medical Alert System Review
A review of Bay Alarm Medical Alert Systems in some ways is a bit difficult. On the banner on most if not all of their website pages they have a picture of a building that has a Bay Alarm logo and flag prominently displayed. Both on the building signage and on the flag they boldly proclaim “Since 1946”. With the implication being they have been providing medical alerts systems and medical alert monitoring since 1946. It must be noted here that the medical alert system industry was not born until the late 1970’s.
From our review, since 1946 Bay Alarm has been a well respected burglar and fire alarm security company serving the San Francisco Bay area and have only entered in to the medical alert system business in the last five or six years. This does not make them a bad company … even a little bit … they probably liked the growing demographic of the elderly and senior safety market … identified an opportunity and chose to pursue that opportunity. We certainly wish them the best of luck. That said, we are not exactly sure how experience handling burglar and fire alarms translates in to the proper handling of medical alarms. Dealing with seniors and the elderly requires an entirely different set of skills than dealing with residential and commercial burglar and fire alarms. Is it possible that their relative newness in the medical alert space could be detrimental to senior safety? We think it is certainly something the consumer should be considering when making a decision about choosing a medical alert provider.
Reviews of their website indicate a well rounded offering with their pricing prominently displayed and easily accessible. After careful review, their pricing seems a little bit higher than is otherwise available. So the unanswered question is: Why pay more for a medical alert system that is being offered by a provider that does not have as much experience as a lot of its competitors? It might be wise to check out how they are reviewed by the Better Business Bureau.
*Bay Alarm Medical is part of the Bay Alarm Family of Companies.