Updated November 11, 2022 – The monthly costs for Life Alert’s basic plan is $49.95 if you are using a landline, $69.95 per month to use over a cellular network. The cost though can go up to $70.00 per month depending on extra features you choose. There is also a set up fee which ranges from $96.00 to $300.00.
Frankly speaking – Life Alert does not advertise their pricing on their website and when speaking with their sales representatives I found it difficult to get a straight answer on exact costs – so what you end up paying may be different from what I’ve discovered and published on this article.
There does not seem to be much doubt that the Life Alert name is very recognizable but is it one of the best medical alert systems available? Not according to an article on Health.com.
Life Alert requires a 3-year contract for service, charges installation and activation fees between $100 and $300, and costs upwards of $70 per month. Many customers also complain the company increases the monthly price without notice, and customers must pay when locked into a long-term contract. Despite charging the highest prices for its product, Life Alert doesn’t offer automatic fall detection.Health.com
There are many life alert reviews available online that you can search for and of course, I encourage you to ask your friends and family if any of them are using this medical alert system.
For years I I ignored those “Help – I fell and I can’t get up.” commercials I heard on television until my mom fell in the kitchen on Christmas Eve while my Dad was out. For almost two hours, she lay there with a broken shoulder and no way to get up or call for help.
A personal emergency response system would have helped her.
Here’s a warning about the older devices that run on 2G or 3G networks: Those are shutting down by the end of 2022. 2G and 3G networks will no longer function for anything after 2022. If your aging loved one has such a device, now is the time to upgrade or replace it.Forbes.com
How Does Life Alert Work?
A medical alert device is a lightweight, wearable mobile device that lets the user call emergency services if they fall or have some other type of medical emergency.
Life Alert emergency response system offers a home unit that works via a base station and a pendant that the senior wears around their neck. There is also a mobile system that works via a wristband option – a life alert bracelet.
In addition, the company offers a separate, waterproof HELP button for use in the shower or bathtub. This comes as part of a higher-priced monthly package.
Talking to their customer service can be time-consuming and somewhat high pressure. So, since they don’t publish their prices online, we did the calling for you to ensure that you have the most updated information.
But if you would like to call Life Alert Customer Service, their phone number is 800-920-3410. They can provide you with the latest information and details on how to get life alert.
As you might imagine, the Life Alert system doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all price or monthly fees.
There are separate charges for different components, depending on the type of system your loved one wants and whether they’ll need additional features like a HELP button or GPS capability.
A Vial of Life gives critical information to first responders in the event of an emergency. It’s free and all seniors should have one. Read more about Vial of Life here.
Does Life Alert Need Wi-fi?
The short answer is “No”. The Life Alert products work best with a landline BUT the products can work with Wi-fi.
Also, you should be aware that if the senior is leaving the house, they will need the GPS-enabled version of Life Alert – the in-home system will only track them for about 800 feet.
It’s generally recommended (by the Life Alert company) to use a landline with their product simply because it’s more reliable than a Wi-Fi connection.
Life Alert Equipment/Activation Fee
To begin with, there are upfront costs in the form of an activation and equipment fees.
Depending on the system options you want, Life Alert charges range from $96 to $300. This includes the system, installation, and programming of the equipment. To compare, most of the other medical alert companies charge anywhere between $0 and $95 to activate their system.
Next, to answer how much the monthly fee will be, you need to know how it will be used:
- If the person rarely leaves their home, they may be fine with an in-home system (it has a range of 800 feet). The pendant must be near Wi-Fi in order to track the senior if they go outside, so they likely wouldn’t be covered during a car ride or if they visited a friend who doesn’t have Wi-Fi.
- Is the person active and out of the home frequently? Then they would want the GPS-capable mobile unit, which Life Alert assures will provide coverage anywhere “GMS cellular phones operate”. This means they can use the system at home, but GPS can track them whenever they are out. If needed, emergency services would know where to find them, regardless if they are in a car or visiting a friend who doesn’t have cell phone service.
Life Alert Monthly Packages (2023)
Life Alert offers three monthly packages.
A 36-month contract (3 years) is required for their service. The contract can only be cancelled if the senior requires 24/7 care, goes into a nursing home, or passes away during the term of the contract.
Here are the packages and what you’ll get with each level:
|Monthly Cost||24/7 Monitoring||2 Way Communication||Equipment||GPS Tracking|
|$49.95||Yes – in USA only||Yes – covering 800 feet||1 indoor help button|
1 base station
|$69.95||Yes – in USA only||Yes – covering 800 feet||1 indoor help buttons|
1 base station
|$89.85||Yes – in USA only||Yes||1 indoor help button|
1 base station
1 GPS button
There is an additional cost of $10 per month to cover an additional person like a spouse.
All three packages have the option of adding the Life Alert app for cellular monitoring.
Life Alert does not offer a senior discount. That being said, you are dealing with a salesperson when you set up the service, so it doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount – you may get lucky.
Can You Cancel Life Alert?
One thing to know about Life Alert is that you will be locked into a 3 year, upfront contract if you opt for their services.
They will allow you to cancel your contract under certain, very stringent conditions – like moving into a skilled nursing facility or death. Their cancellation fee will vary depending on your situation.
For this reason, you may want to look for Life Alert alternatives, such as the ones we have listed in the FAQ section below.
Pros and Cons About Life Alert
Below are some details about the benefits and drawbacks of the Life Alert medical alert service.
Life Alert Benefits:
- They operate their own nationwide monitoring system.
- When a senior calls for help, a message goes to family members and to the call center.
- An operator at their emergency monitoring center will stay on the phone with the person until emergency responders arrive.
- The company will store and provide the senior’s medical history to paramedics.
- Life Alert will respond even if there isn’t an emergency, which helps seniors feel safer.
- They will refund 100 percent of all equipment and monitoring fees if the person passes away at home.
- The battery life is 10 years and the equipment is maintenance-free.
Life Alert Drawbacks:
- They do not provide fall detection devices – you must press the button on the device in order to alert them that you have fallen.
- They are expensive compared to other medical alert systems and have many additional fees.
- No trial period is available so if a senior starts the monitoring service, they are locked into it for three years even they aren’t happy with it.
Here’s a warning about the older devices that run on 2G or 3G networks: Those are shutting down by the end of 2022. 2G and 3G networks will no longer function for anything after 2022. If your aging loved one has such a device, now is the time to upgrade or replace it. Manufacturers likely make this easy by offering newer versions, but don’t count on your aging parent to follow up on any letters sent to them about this.forbes.com
Is Life Alert Covered By Insurance?
One thing everyone wants to know is if Life Alert is covered by insurance. The short answer is “probably not.”
Although the majority of insurance companies will not pay for them, we recommend checking with the senior’s insurance company to be sure.
There are some circumstances in which they may be able to get a reimbursement if a doctor has recommended a medical alert system and will put that recommendation in writing.
Long-term care insurance may also reimburse seniors for a portion of their medical alert system if it qualifies as durable medical equipment (DME) under their policy.
If you aren’t sure that the Life Alert system is for you and you want to consider other options for a mobile medical alert system, take a look at our article Is Life Alert Worth It? There we list a few other alternatives that may work better for you.
Can You Get Life Alert For Free?
In general, a low-income senior cannot get a Life Alert or other medical alert system for free.
However, they may be able to get a free phone through the federal government’s Lifeline program if they qualify. They would have this phone to call 911 in an emergency.
The Lifeline program allows one discount per household and may reduce or pay for the senior’s monthly phone bill. A qualifying senior could get either a wireless phone or a landline, but not both.
To qualify, the senior must be on a government assistance program, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Social Security, or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. If they aren’t on an assistance program, they must show a pay stub or tax return that proves their income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines.
For more information, visit LifelineSupport.org.
Frequently Asked Questions About Life Alert Systems
Can You Wear Life Alert In The Shower?
Yes, the pendant that everyone is familiar with is wireless and waterproof so it can be worn in the shower.
The wireless system in the pendant is connected to a base console unit that is physically connected to your home’s landline. It can also be connected via Wi-Fi to your home’s Internet service.
They also offer an emergency button that can be attached to the shower / bathtub wall. With the push of a button you can call Life Alert for help.
Does Medicare Pay For Medical Alert Systems?
Since Medicare covers so many necessities for older adults, you would think something as beneficial as a medical alert system would be covered, right?
Sadly, Medicare Part A (the part that a senior is automatically enrolled in) does not cover Life Alert or any other product from a medical alert company. Medicare Part B, which is the optional additional coverage that helps pay for medical equipment also doesn’t cover them.
Depending on the insurance company you choose, if you have coverage under Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), AARP says you may get some coverage for Life Alert or a similar system.
Coverage varies, though, so check with your individual insurance company to see if you have that benefit. NOTE: they may refer to these systems as a Personal Emergency Response Service (PERS). The insurance code is usually: S5161.
If you don’t have coverage through Medicare, you may want to try contacting your state’s Department of Aging Services or the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Ask what benefits they offer and see if they have a program that will help pay the cost of a medical alert system.
Also, a senior may be able to get some of the cost of a medical alert system covered through Medicaid. For more information, visit PayingForSeniorCare.com.
Does The VA Pay For Medical Alert Systems?
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) does not pay for medical alert systems, per se. Instead, they will provide veterans with a free phone dialer.
There are several types on the market, such as the LiveLife Mobile Alarm.
These devices are wearable alert buttons like Life Alert’s. The device gets programmed with 3 to 5 phone numbers of the senior’s choice. It will send a text or dial these numbers if the user pushes the button in an emergency.
It’s important to understand that the dialer system is not monitored. It simply sends a call or text to the people the senior designates and alerts them that there is an emergency. It’s up to those contacts to figure out what the issue is and call emergency services.
The VA will pay for the device, but there may still be other costs associated with a phone dialer. For example, LiveLife uses a prepaid SIM card and works off a mobile phone network, so the senior must have a mobile phone which has a monthly cost.
Also, a LiveLife user will be charged $9 per quarter to recharge the SIM card (this pays for any calls or texts the device makes).
Contact the Veteran’s Administration for more information.
What Is The Cheapest Life Alert System?
As we mentioned above – the least expensive Life Alert system is the package for $49.95 per month which can be difficult for seniors on a fixed income.
But if you are looking for a medical alert system with more affordable prices your options could be any of the following:
1) The Belle+ Medical Alert Device from Family1st is $29.95 per month.
2) The Life Fone Medical Alarm is $30.95 per month.
3) The Medical Guardian medical alert device ONLY works with AT&T’s cellular service but it runs $29.95 per month.
4) Bay Alarm Medical starts at $19.95 per month.
5) Walmart medical alert systems have no monthly cost.
6) For in home systems you may consider using Alexa devices as a medical alert system.
Did We Answer Your Questions About The Life Alert System?
Hopefully we were able to give you enough information to make a decision as to whether or not you should choose Life Alert as your medical alert system providers.
But whether you choose this product or another – if you are living alone – we would highly recommend that you use some type of medical or personal alert device – no matter what age you are.
It’s just one of the best ways to keep yourself as safe as possible and can provide you and your family members some peace of mind.