If you or a loved one is vulnerable to being injured at home, a medical alert system is a proven life-saver. However, choosing the right device can be overwhelming. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best medical alert systems in Waco to explain your options and simplify the purchasing process.
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For seniors, the risk of at-home injury is high. One in four Americans age 65 or older falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of fatal injury in older adults, according to the National Council on Aging. Waco has a lower percentage of residents 65 years or older than the national average, but an article in Where to Retire magazine named Waco a top retirement destination because of its low cost of living, entertainment and scenery.
Seniors are not the only demographic who can benefit from a medical alert system. Anyone susceptible to falls can use this life-saving device that also provides a sense of comfort and reassurance.
Two types of medical alert systems
Medical alert systems come in different forms, including necklaces, bracelets and watches, and are either monitored or non-monitored. Here is the difference:
A monitored medical alert system has a two-way intercom through a base unit in your home or through a portable cellular service. With a landline connection, you must be within range for two-way help. When triggered, a monitored system connects you to a call center employee to assess the situation and send for help if necessary. This help could be a neighbor, family member or emergency personnel, depending on the situation and your designated contacts.
A non-monitored medical alert system typically uses an in-home base that, when activated, calls a series of contacts until it connects with someone in your pre-programmed contact list, such as your neighbor or 911.
Depending on the system, you may be able to talk or it may play a pre-recorded message alerting the person who answers of an emergency. However, help may not arrive if your contacts do not answer and automatically calling 911 can be costly if an ambulance is dispatched when not medically necessary.
Assists during emergency
Contacts the wearer before dispatching help (saves on costly ambulance charges)
24/7 dispatching center
Monthly monitoring fee
Requires landline connection
Can include fall detection
Includes service contract
As these systems continue to develop, more companies are designing fashionable devices that fit into seniors’ everyday lives. Depending on the device, it can:
Include waterproof technology
Have a long battery life
Include GPS detection
Have the option to add a spouse for coverage
The cost of medical alert systems in Waco
Most of the time, Waco residents lease their medical alert systems from the company, giving them to freedom to return the product when it’s no longer needed. This is a good deal for those who only need the product for a short while—like after surgery—but it can end up being costlier if rented for a long period. In case of damage, unit replacement can run up to $1,000.
If you choose a monitored system, you will pay an additional monthly monitoring fee. Sometimes these units come with activation or shipping fees, or yearly contracts with hefty cancellation fees. Base models start around $20 per month while more advanced options can run up to $80.
Luckily, most companies offer a risk-free trial. When testing the product, check that its range fits your lifestyle and the device is comfortable to wear.
Does insurance cover medical alert systems?
Medicare and Medicaid do not cover medical alert systems and neither do most insurance companies. In some cases though, having a physician document your need for a medical alert system may change that. Ask your insurance provider if it will help cover some of the costs.
For those in long-term care, insurance may cover costs under the “in-home care service” provision. Finally, seniors who are AARP members may have access to additional discounts.
MedicalGuardian has both cellular and landline options with up to a 1,300-foot in-home range—one of the market’s highest. MedicalGuardian customizes its medical alert systems to be the best package for each Waco customer. All monitoring centers are in the United States and staffed 24/7.
Since 1976, LifeFone has been providing Americans security and peace of mind. Systems come with no installation or activation fees, locked-in service prices and a 100% lifetime warranty. Customers can also cover a second person in the home for no additional cost. Reviews state LifeFone’s customer service goes above and beyond.
MobileHelp offers the only 2-in-1 system that includes both an in-home and cellular system. MobileHelp’s devices include a 24+ hour battery life, 600-foot range, and a water-resistant button. With a variety of additional features like medication reminders and vital monitoring, plus top-of-the-line equipment, MobileHelp has an option for every need.
When you call LifeStation, you are connected to highly trained and certified specialists ready to help. Each system is checked automatically every week and has up to 32 hours of standby power in case of electricity loss. LifeStation equipment also includes a 30-day money-back guarantee and a month-to-month agreement, meaning no long-term contract is required.
Medical Alert promises a straightforward monthly price with no hidden fees or activation charges—plus no long-term commitment required. Installation is as simple as plugging into an outlet and help is available 24/7. Medical Alert has at-home and on-the-go options, plus different payment structures and plans to fit the varied needs of Waco residents.
Active seniors love the customized response plans, automatic fall detection and two-way voice communication available with the GoSafe and HomeSafe devices by Philips Lifeline. With devices built to meet a variety of needs, even medication dispensing, the company makes sure you're covered at all times. Founded in 1974, Philips was the first company to provide medical alert devices to consumers.
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