How Do I Buy a Medical Alert System?

Many seniors understand the benefits of using a medical alert system, but they aren’t sure how to buy one. Some elderly adults mistakenly assume they can request medical alert systems from Medicare Part A or Part B and are surprised to learn the insurance provider doesn’t cover these devices, and other seniors believe they need a recommendation from a doctor before visiting a retailer to access medical alert systems.

Despite these common misconceptions, you don’t need consent from a health care professional or insurance company before buying a medical alert system. You can buy one for yourself or shop for a person who’s in need whenever you’re ready. Keep scrolling to learn the different ways you can purchase a medical alert system as well as a few essential factors to consider before you invest in a device.

Shop Online

Browsing medical alert systems online is a convenient way to find one that meets your needs. Start by checking the websites of trusted retailers, such as Costco and Walgreens, for devices that fit your budget. Even if you don’t buy one from these retailers, you can read online reviews for medical alert systems and learn more about reputable companies.

You can also visit websites for medical alert systems for products and plans. Here are some medical alert system providers you can explore:

  • LifeFone
  • Life Alert
  • QMedic
  • Medical Guardian
  • MobileHelp
  • Bay Alarm Medical
  • BoomerAlert
  • Medical Care Alert

These companies often have photographs and detailed descriptions for each product. Read the product specs for important information about battery life, range and special features. You may also want to check whether a medical alert system requires a landline connection, although, many companies now offer cellular-friendly products.

Make sure you also pay attention to fees, as you may have shipping and handling expenses tacked on to your device cost.

Visit Local Retailers

Online shopping doesn’t work well for everyone since some seniors prefer to view products in person. When you shop at a brick-and-mortar store, you get a clear idea of the size and weight for each medical alert system. You can also avoid shipping costs, and you may even find a device that’s on sale or has a special promotion for new subscribers.

Finding a medical alert system isn’t always easy, but they’re often located near the pharmacy. If you don’t see any near the first-aid supplies or vitamins, ask the pharmacist for assistance. Some stores keep medical alert systems in the back along with blood-pressure cuffs and heart-rate monitors. This gives you a chance to discuss the product with a pharmacy worker or other employee before you make a purchase.

Call Medical Alert System Providers

Some medical alert system providers sell devices over the phone, but this isn’t ideal if you want to see a product before you commit. However, you may find it helpful to speak with a customer service representative about features, add-ons, protection plans and cancellation fees. Life Alert, for example, has a line for potential customers, and you can request a brochure with detailed information about devices.

Things to Consider Before Selecting a Medical Alert System

After deciding where you should purchase a medical alert system, you may wonder which system is right for your lifestyle. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by options, especially when you consider all the different features and plans devices have.

Before you buy a medical alert system, consider the following factors:

  • How much will this cost per month when you include add-ons and taxes?
  • Is the device waterproof?
  • Is there a compatible subscriber app or caregiver portal for this medical alert system?
  • Does this device offer automatic fall detection?
  • What special features are available?
  • Will I be locked into a long-term contract?
  • Is the price based on a limited-time promotion or will it remain the same over time?
  • Who installs the medical alert system?
  • Where is the call center located?
  • What is the average response time for calls?
  • Does the system require a landline or cellular connection?
  • Will it work when I travel or only at home?
  • Is the device easy to use?
  • Is the device comfortable?

You may also want to ask whether the device has a return policy or trial period, especially if the company requires long-term contracts.

Many retailers and websites sell medical alert systems, but remember, you may also need a subscription plan for your product. Take some time to compare different devices and plans before making a selection, and make sure you’re comfortable with your choice, as it might save your life.