The monthly costs for Life Alert’s basic plan is $49.95 if you are using a landline, $98.85 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 one time activation fee of $198.00.
The question then becomes, is it worth it?
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.
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 is just one brand of medical alert system. There are several others on the market today.
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 Monthly Packages (2024)
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:
|*Only System: $49.95 per month*
*One Add-on Device: $69.95 per month
*Two Add-on Devices: $89.95 per month
|*1 waterproof pendant
*3 day backup battery
*2 way speaker
*Covers 800 feet
*1 base station
|Mobile + GPS
|Add on: On-the-go monitoring device
|$20 per month
|*Small, compact, and waterproof
*10-year battery life
*Built-in two-way speaker
|Add on: Emergency
|$20 per month
*Waterproof with two-way-speaker
*10-year battery life
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.