When shopping for a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one, there are lots of things to consider. Thankfully, we’ve been testing some of the most trusted names in the business for years — like Medical Care Alert — to help make your decision a bit easier. Whether you’re looking for an at-home device for grandma who loves to spend her days in her home or garden, or you need a GPS-ready system for dad who still loves to fish on weekends, this company just might have something that’ll work for your family.
With their easy-to-use systems, we think Medical Care Alert does a good job at balancing dependable devices, customer service, and reliable coverage that will help you focus on your family’s health. They have a range of products, from basic, in-home units, to GPS-enabled systems that work in all 50 states. They also merge safety with technology, using text alerts and a smartphone app to make monitoring a little easier.
FYI: Depending on the system you choose, your loved one can be protected throughout their home and even out on the town.
But one thing to keep in mind is that Medical Care Alert is more expensive than some competitors. Also, it’s a newer company, so they don’t bring deep industry experience like, say, Bay Alarm Medical. With that said, they make up for it with award-winning customer service, GPS location tracking, AT&T 4G LTE cellular network connections, and easy-to-use devices. So let’s dive in to see if these alert systems are right for you.
Started in 2008, Medical Care Alert is fairly new to the medical alert systems industry, but they’ve quickly become one of the most trusted and dependable options available.1 Originally offering self-install home security systems, they have evolved to focus on home medical care and emergency services for seniors. Today, they operate under the ‘American Response Technologies’ company name based in California and New York.
We found that Medical Care Alert has won numerous awards for their services, including an “A+” Rating with the Better Business Bureau2 and “Monitoring Center Of The Year” Award from CSAA. They’ve also been awarded the “Super Service Award” by Angie’s List readers for seven years in a row, from 2012-2018. Another thing to note is that this family-owned company uses their own products to keep their loved ones safe. But awards and accolades aside, we wanted to test the systems for ourselves. Check out our hands-on experience to see how it measured up to other brands we’ve tried.
Did You Know: Medical Care Alert is a Michigan-based, family-owned company with USA based monitoring centers in New York and California.
If you’ve ever had to jump through hoops to sign up for services, then you’ll appreciate how quick and easy Medical Care Alert can be. Online or over the phone, it’s pretty simple to sign up. But when looking at options online, be sure to keep an eye on pricing. While Medical Care Alert offers semi-annual, annual, and quarterly plans, they are often billed in increments. So plans that are, for example, $36.62 per month might be billed at $439.40 yearly (yikes!). We didn’t love this, and it’s certainly something to be mindful of.
While you’ll pay a little more for Medical Care Alert, you’ll actually save money on installation compared to other providers. We liked that no one had to visit our home to set anything up. Nothing here is complicated, which is always a bonus.
Just take it out of the box, plug it into an outlet and phone jack (for landline systems), and you’re ready to go. Installation complete! Then, with a press of the button, it will connect to the monitoring center and your setup is finished. Setting up the cellular units is even easier. And if your aging parents aren’t tech-savvy, they should still be able to set it up with ease.
FYI: In our experience, Medical Care Alert setup was simple, but you should expect fast and easy installation from any brand.
We test a lot of medical alert systems, and most of them are fairly easy to use. With large buttons and great customer service, they’re made to be simple so that seniors can get the help they need. With this in mind, note that Medical Care Alert is quite simple and straightforward… with one caveat. That is, in our experience the GPS and HOME & AWAY systems were a little more difficult to operate considering the extras like accessories, battery usage, and docking stations. There’s just more to think about with these advanced systems.
But for the most part, you or your loved one can summon help by pressing the button, day or night. And if you opt for the fall detection upgrade, you don’t even have to press the button if you slip or fall, as the fall detection feature should detect the fall and automatically get in touch with the monitoring center on your behalf. But we touch more on this below.
One nice thing about Medical Care Alert is their options for wearables. Two of their three main devices actually turn into wearable pendants, which we really like. The downside? In our opinion, only one of them is stylish enough to wear when you’re out on the town. Thankfully, it’s the HOME & AWAY system.
The HOME & AWAY system is meant specifically to monitor you at home and on-the-go with GPS location services. Unfortunately, it’s not hidden in a stylish watch or jewelry pendant like some of our favorite systems offer. But with a simple oval shape and black and white interface, we think it looks more like the latest Apple device than a medical monitor. And it’s pretty comfortable to wear. Not bad!
Every device offers 24/7 monitoring, and we’d expect no less for our loved ones. What we liked about Medical Care Alert was that in addition to traditional 24/7 monitoring, they offer RemoteCare 24/7 with their GPS HOME & AWAY medical alert system.3 This means that you can see your loved one’s whereabouts at anytime, giving you a little extra peace of mind.
Unfortunately, the app only works with their GPS device, so in-home devices don’t include an app to check on your family. This is too bad, as some companies like Medical Guardian offer a mobile app with all of their systems. Also, note that all of Medical Care Alert’s monitoring is done by bilingual EMT/EMD-certified operators based in the US. We think that’s a nice touch and something we don’t see too often.
Pro Tip: Automatic fall detection is available with Medical Care Alert devices, but does not automatically come with all systems. If you’d like it included, be sure to ask for a device or system with fall detection built-in.
We’ve reviewed a lot of medical alert brands over the years, but very few of them have racked up the accolades and awards like Medical Care Alert has for their service. Here, their accolades quite literally speak for themselves. Their A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and “Monitoring Center Of The Year” Award from CSAA show their commitment to care for seniors, while their seven-year run of “Award-Winning Customer Service” from Angie’s List shows that they take that commitment pretty seriously.
Sure, Medical Care Alert looks great on paper. But what about in real life… when you or your loved one needs it most? Well, we didn’t find anything particularly outstanding about their service or support during our latest round of testing. While their service team was friendly and professional, we’re used to getting white-glove service from brands like Philips LifeLine and MobileHelp. So we think Medical Care Alert just makes the grade in this category.
Depending on your lifestyle, there are several different equipment options that you can choose with Medical Care Alert. If you’re looking for an all-in-one unit, or just a device or two to cover all your needs, they have a few to choose from. Keep in mind that if you or your loved one lives an active lifestyle, you’ll likely need a dual-purpose device that includes cellular alert coverage with GPS (and expect to pay a pretty penny for it!).
Now, unlike brands like Medical Guardian or LifeFone, Medical Care Alert doesn’t offer a lot of devices to choose from. But what they do have will cover a full range of lifestyles. So whether dad likes to hit the casinos with friends, or watch World Poker Tournaments from the comfort of his couch, you should be able to find the right fit.
The HOME Medical Alert System comes in two different variations: one made specifically for those who have a landline or modem, and another for those who don’t have a landline and want ultra-reliable cellular service. The landline device starts at $27.45 per month, while the cellular device starts at $34.02 per month. Note that this is slightly more expensive than the industry standard for landline-based coverage. Features include:
FYI: Monitoring for spouses is free for all in-home systems. But for the HOME & YARD AND HOME & AWAY systems, an additional pendant or system may be required.
For those who are most active around their home, this unit works double duty as an in-home unit and wearable that can monitor loved ones around the property. With a 600 ft. range, mom’s covered from the mailbox in the driveway to the gardens in the backyard. Unfortunately, we found this unit to be clunky to wear. And while it can be worn on a belt clip, wrist strap, or breakaway lanyard, it’s certainly larger than most alerts we’ve tried. At $32.04 per month, it’s also not cheap.
In our testing we’ve found that most wearables aren’t particularly sleek and stylish. But we have to say, this one is bigger and more oddly-shaped than others with a large antenna and button on the top. Features for this product are:
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an in-home alert system, you should choose a device with the largest range possible. We recommend systems that offer over a 1,000 ft. range. This will allow you or your loved one to roam the property with confidence.
If mom and dad are still living their best life, then we say go for Medical Care Alert’s GPS system. It can be used for coverage at home, as a wearable at the park, at the movies—or wherever your loved one wants to go. We’ve tested many GPS units, but appreciate that this one uses three different location services to track loved ones—GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular. It also uses AT&T 4G LTE service, which we’re seeing offered by more and more alert brands.
This alert starts at $36.62 per month and includes the RemoteCare 24/7 app, allowing you to check on your loved one’s location and status. It includes features like:
During our testing, we found a few important things that you’ll want to consider when selecting a unit from Medical Care Alert. The first is the option to add on automatic fall detection. For an additional $10 per month this can be added to all wearables. In our opinion, it’s worth adding on, as more than one in four older people fall each year.4 Of course, we wish this service was included with all plans and devices. But as they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too!
FYI: We think $10 per month is very reasonable for fall detection, and it’s the industry standard price. However, some brands like LifeFone offer it for only $5 per month.
Combining the HOME & AWAY ULTRA GPS system with the security of automatic fall detection, the HOME & AWAY Elite is the device with the most perks and benefits, but it’s also the most expensive, costing $45.79 per month and billed at $549.45 yearly. Something to keep in mind—from what we’ve seen, it’s one of the more expensive options on the market. Full features include:
Fall detection is a newer feature in the medical alert industry, but one that companies are eager to offer their customers. And with good reason—it can help save lives, as falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65 and over.5 We’ve found that some companies include this technology in their devices as part of their service. But keep in mind that automatic fall detection is not built into these units; Medical Care Alert offers it for an additional fee.
We think GPS devices are a must-have if you or your loved one lives an active lifestyle. If your parent spends time with friends, travels, or just loves a day spent around town, it’s important to know where they are in the event of an emergency. The HOME & AWAY systems offer this service, along with an app so you can monitor their location and status without worrying that they aren’t at home. This can help emergency services find them in a crisis, or help a family member locate them if they get lost or disoriented.
One thing that can always be hard to nail down is customer service, especially when a company is responsible for the well-being and safety of its customers. That’s a lot of pressure! Thankfully, despite their higher prices, service is something that Medical Care Alert gets right. As mentioned, they have won several service awards. So we think this is definitely one of the company’s biggest strengths.
Quick Tip: Each system has a 24-72 hour back-up battery in the event of a power outage (depending on system type). In the event of power loss or low batteries, the monitoring center is immediately notified.
Anything that makes life easier for seniors and their families is a win in our book. While most companies offer a lockbox for easy access to a user’s home, not many offer it for free like Medical Care Alert. In the event of an emergency, first responders or family members may need to get inside the home. A lockbox makes it easy to access a key, get inside, and take care of the person in need instead of worrying about door repairs.
We’ve researched and tested lots of medical alert systems over the years, and some of them blend into the background. While Medical Care Alert isn’t our favorite brand, they did stand out for their customer service and personalized attention. They’re also not the most affordable brand on the market (if you are looking for that see our best affordable medical alert systems page). In fact, they are one of the most expensive! But in our experience, they take care of their customers and treat them with the care and respect they deserve. What more could you ask for?
Well, the least expensive plans start in the mid $20-range and go up to almost $50 per month for fall-detecting GPS devices. So they are by no means cheap. And if you have two parents that need to be monitored on the go? You’re looking at a $100 monthly tab—something that should be noted for those shopping for two or more people. We’ve found less expensive (and just as reliable) options available from other brands.
Also, bonus features like GPS tracking and automatic fall detection can really add up with Medical Care Alert. So while they have reliable devices and stellar customer service, it’s important to keep these additional costs in mind. We wish these features were built into all of their systems; but unfortunately, it’s just not the case. All in all, we liked Medical Care Alert, but as they say, there are more affordable fish in the sea.
The Senior List. (2020). Medical Care Alert Review.
Medical Care Alert: Better Business Bureau® Profile. (2020, May 21). BBB.
Medical Care Alert. (2020). Medical Care Alert Emergency Response Systems.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Home and Recreational Safety.
National Council on Aging. (2020). 6 Steps for Preventing Falls Among Your Older Loved Ones.