What is a Medical Alert System?

According to the latest data collected by the US Census Bureau, 20% of the American population will be over 65 by 2030. With the youngest of the Baby Boomers approaching retirement age, the need for specialty elder care will continue to increase. Today’s seniors are healthier and more active than they’ve ever been and show no signs of slowing down. They have no plans to leave their homes, preferring to age in place.

According to the CDC, one in four Americans over 65 fall every year, with over 3 million of them require some form of emergency assistance. Vision problems, vascular issues, vitamin deficiencies, muscle weakness, and even medications can increase the risk of falling. Most end in embarrassment, though many falls lead to fractures, severe bleeding, traumatic brain injuries, and permanent disability.

No one wants to give up their independence, so how do you get help if you live alone and are suddenly incapacitated? What if you can’t reach the phone? A medical alert system can provide life-saving assistance to at-risk elderly and patients living with chronic illnesses.

A medical alert system device is an alarm system designed to contact 911 and family members in a medical emergency. These systems are also referred to as medical alarms or Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS).

PERS are usually call-button style devices that patients wear as a pendant around the neck or wrist. When pressed, they signal a home base station that alerts a monitoring service to contact the necessary medical assistance. 

Does Medicare Cover Medical Alert Systems?

Original Medicare, Parts A, and B don’t cover the cost of these systems, though some Medicare Advantage Plans do. Some insurance providers may offer coverage up to $500 a year for medical alert systems like Life Alert, depending on your selected plan.  

What is Life Alert?

If you watch television, the chances are that you’ve seen the classic commercial for Life Alert that features an elderly woman calling, “Help, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”. With its trademarked slogan, the commercial is often mentioned in advertising articles as being one of the most memorable of all time.

Life Alert is a medical alert system specifically designed to protect seniors and other vulnerable family members in a home health emergency. Services provided by Life Alert can help seniors remain independent and in their own homes longer by sending help quickly even if the patient can’t make it to the phone. Living alone doesn’t have to feel like being alone.

No matter how careful you are, accidents and medical mishaps happen. Did you know falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in people over 65? Getting help quickly can markedly increase your chances of survival. With a simple press of a button, you’ll be speaking to a dispatcher within seconds. Even if you lose consciousness, the dispatcher will be able to hear what’s going on at the other end of the line. 

For less than the cost of a latte a day, you can rest a little easier knowing you’re covered. Thanks to the commercial running since the ’80s, most of us think of Life Alert as the place to call if you have a nasty fall. In the unthinkable event that someone is breaking in, a dispatcher can often scare the intruder away with a loud voice over the system while monitoring the audio and alerting the police. The dispatcher stays on the line with you until help arrives.

Life Alert is a Personal Emergency Response and Home Medical Alert System company that makes it their mission to save lives and prevent catastrophic outcomes. Using innovative technology to provide superior home audio monitoring protection, Life Alert saves, on average, one life from certain catastrophe every 11 minutes. 

How much Does Life Alert Cost?

Life Alert’s basic system consists of a base station and a pendant with a call button. Buttons are designed to be worn around the neck or on the wrist. Press the call button, connect; then the base station acts as an extra-sensitive two-way speakerphone that hooks you right away to a professional Life Alert dispatcher. If you need assistance, the dispatcher will contact a friend, neighbor, or family member you have designated. In an emergency, or if you don’t reply, the dispatcher calls 911 to alert local emergency responders. Life Alert offers additional services that include a waterproof help button for the bathroom or kitchen and a GPS tracking unit if you need more than the basics. 

You’ll pay $49.95 a month for the base unit and a pendant, with a one-time activation fee of $95. Adding a device, either the help button or the GPS unit, raises the monthly fee to $69.90 per month, with an activation fee of $198. For $89.85 a month, you will receive all of the above with a $198 activation fee.

Life Alert Pros:

  • Industry pioneer
  • Over two decades of experience
  • Fast, free shipping
  • Use a landline or cell number 
  • Installed in four easy steps 
  • Unlimited use with no extra fees 
  • Insured equipment 
  • No need to change batteries 
  • Waterproof help button
  • Dispatchers are hired and trained by Life Alert (not outsourced)
  • GPS tracking unit
  • Reliable network provider (AT&T)

Does AARP Cover Life Alert?

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) provides its 38 million members with the information and resources they need to stay healthy, safe, and independent for as long as possible. AARP membership dues don’t cover the cost of Life Alert though they do highly recommend seniors consider using medical alert devices. Companies often provide AARP members with discounts on goods and services. In other words, it’s worth mentioning your membership when you speak with a Life Alert sales representative.


What Customers are Saying

LifeAlerts.com prominently displays a counter on their home page, counting the number of enthusiastic testimonials throughout each day. The hourly updates include praise from patients, family members, caregivers, and first responders. Check them out here. 

An ACNielsen study once determined that 87% of Life Alert members believe Life Alert’s protection is one of the main reasons they’ve been able to remain confident and secure in their own homes.