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      July 5, 2020

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Rescue Alert vs Life Alert

Best Medical Alert Systems

To help you find the Best Medical Alert Systems, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Rescue Alert and Life Alert.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Medical Alert Systems, please Click Here

Who has the best Medical Alert Systems? As the US population ages, the need for medical alert systems grows. Given the increasing number of seniors who prefer to "age in place" - living in their own home as long as possible, rather than moving to an independent or assisted living facility for the elderly - it is easy to see why a medical alert system could make the difference between life and death.

Medical alert systems give users the ability to rapidly contact emergency services, typically through a button worn on the wrist or as a pendant around the neck. All it takes is a click of that button to get in touch with an operator who will help determine if a call to emergency medical services is needed. For added peace of mind, a number of companies offer equipment that can automatically detect when the wearer has fallen.

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Best Reviews

2020

Medical Alert System Reviews

3 stars
Rescue Alert

RESCUE ALERT

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Cost:

Starting at $27.95/month (rental) or $15.95/month (purchase equipment)

Rescue Alert is based in Utah and provides medical alert systems for both home and mobile use. We love that Rescue Alert has been in business for more than 30 years and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Even more remarkable is that they have zero registered complaints with the BBB: an accomplishment for a company that has been around for three decades and BBB-accredited for nearly 15 years.

One reason customers like Rescue Alert is the 21-day check-in: if no calls or button-pushes have happened over the course of a 3-week period, RA's customer representatives will reach out to ask the user to test the system and make sure it's still functioning properly. Many seniors and their caregivers have said that they feel extra peace of mind knowing that the medical alert system is working even when they've not had to use it.

Compared with our highest-ranked medical alert services, Rescue Alert comes up a little short when it comes to monitoring: although customers are generally pleased with the courtesy and responsiveness received when they've pushed their button, RA's call center is in-house, with no backup in place. Our top services tend to have multiple call centers or service locations, so that in the event of a natural disaster or other outage, there is no break in service to their medical alert customers.

Pricing is also more complicated with Rescue Alert. While most companies have no equipment fees and just charge a monthly fee for monitoring, this provider breaks their medical alert service fees into two categories: rental vs. purchased equipment. With further pricing differences depending on whether payment is made monthly, quarterly, annually, or one-time, the average customer could understandably come out confused.

Here's the rough breakdown of what Rescue Alert has to offer:

  • MXD: the traditional, landline-based unit with a pendant-style or bracelet Personal Help Button. Pricing options include the $32.95 monthly rental plan, $29.95/month quarterly rental plan, and $27.95 annual rental plan; alternately, you may purchase your equipment for a fee of $199 and then pay just $15.95 for monthly monitoring, or a one-time fee of $849 that comes with lifetime monitoring. All MXD plans come with a free gift of a key lock box(valued at $39.99) that allows first responders access to the residence with no need for forced entry, or a second Personal Help Button for another user in the home. You can also include the fall detection service - myActive Alert - for an additional $10/month, or a wall button that can be mounted anywhere in the home that falls are likely ($5/month).
  • MXD3G: the all-cellular, no landline required system, which uses the AT&T network to connect the base unit to the monitoring system. This also uses the same pendant/bracelet panic button as the MXD unit. Pricing options include the $42.95 monthly rental plan, the $39.95/month quarterly rental plan, and $37.95/month annual rental plan; you may also choose to purchase your equipment outright for $299 and then pay just $25.95/month for monthly monitoring. This plan also includes the free gifts and additional services available with the MXD plan described above.
  • Rescue Alert GPS: this plan uses the AT&T network and updates the users location via GPS every 15 minutes. The device only weighs 10 ounces and can be worn or placed in a pocket or purse. This system includes both a lanyard and carrying case/belt clip for the help button, along with a free lock box ($39.99 value). You can also choose to bundle this with the landline-based MDX unit for an additional $15/month in monitoring fees. Pricing for the GPS-based unit starts at $44.95/month for monthly rentals, $39.95/month for quarterly rentals, and $37.95/month for annual rentals. This plan does not offer the capability of adding the myActive Alert fall detection or wall button features.

Overall, Rescue Alert has a good reputation for service, and some customers may like having the option to purchase their equipment outright and pay lower monthly monitoring costs.

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2.5 stars
Life Alert

LIFE ALERT

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Cost:

$49.95/month, plus initial fees up to $200

Life Alert may be the most well-known provider of medical alert systems: founded in 1987 and famous for the "I've fallen and I can't get up!" TV spots, this CA-based business has a large customer base and a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Unfortunately, Life Alert continues to make it difficult for prospective customers to get information about their plans and costs. The only way to get current pricing information for Life Alert is by calling to request a brochure. If you're not willing to give them your address and phone number, you'll be transferred to a customer care representative instead.

The representative we spoke with was very pleasant and emailed us the brochure right away. But, once again, there was no pricing in the brochure. The rep said the reason they don't put their pricing on the website is because they design a package to meet every individual's needs. She did say that they have three programs that range in price from $49 to $89 a month; she made no mention of an activation or startup fee, but many customers refer to it in their comments.

According to the customer representative, "We are the most expensive, but there's a reason: we're the best." She went on to say that one of the reasons that Life Alert is the best is because everything is guaranteed and put in writing.

Life Alert offers five main areas of protection:

  • Medical
  • Fire
  • Help Button
  • Home Invasion
  • Mobile Help/GPS

It is worth noting that there's no specific service that detects fire. Life Alert has the traditional base unit / pendant or wristband help button system as most medical alert systems, and the wearer would still need to push the button to tell the monitoring station that there is a fire. Similarly, the home invasion protection assumes that the user pushes the help button and tells the dispatcher that there's a break-in in progress; the dispatcher can then hear activity within the home through the monitoring system, report an invasion in progress to the police, and warn the intruders over the base unit's speaker that help is on the way.

Customers can choose between landline or cellular base units, and the help button range is up to 800 feet.

Life Alert's "Protection on the Go" offers nationwide coverage via cellular networks and uses GPS to locate the wearer if needed. The help button can be worn, carried in a bag or purse, or even in a pocket.

We respect the fact that Life Alert is reliable and reputable. But, customers pay a lot for that name-brand value, for services that seem to be readily available through several other companies with solid reputations.

In today's age of buy-it-online, Life Alert is shooting itself in the foot by not being transparent with their pricing (and by having a website that looks like it hasn't been updated for at least a decade). If their service is truly head and shoulders above the rest, people will still be willing to pay higher prices. But, without the ability to see those prices right away and even to order a package directly through the site, we think many people will just move on to other companies offering medical alert systems.

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Continued from above

There are a wide variety of choices when it comes to medical alert systems: some services that have been on the market for many years, and others that are newer to the industry. When shopping around for the right product for yourself or for a loved one, you may find a straightforward, easy-to-use website that clearly explains your options. On the other hand, some companies still rely on pushy sales tactics that won't give you much information unless you speak with a representative.

As you compare the various medical alert systems currently available, there are several aspects to keep in mind:

  • Cost. How much will you spend for equipment and monitoring fees?
  • Variety of Productsand Services. Can you get the coverage you need? Does the business offer upgrades like fall detection?
  • Cellular vs. Landline. If you or your loved one doesn't have a landline, can they still use the system? Or will you need to incur the extra expenses of installing a landline and paying for a phone plan?
  • Ordering Process. Can you easily shop the site and get what you need on your own terms, or will you have to work with a representative in order to start service?
  • Contracts. Will you have to sign a lengthy service contract for the medical alert system? Can you cancel the service if it doesn't meet your expectations or the user no longer needs it?
  • Reputation. What do other customers say about the company, the equipment, the service, and the attitude of company representatives? Does the business have a rating with the BBB?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best medical alert systems on the market today. We hope these reviews give you the information you need to select the medical alert service that will give you or your loved one extra safety and peace of mind.

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