Selecting a Medical Alert System: Contract or Monthly Payments?

Couple looking at computer
April 14th, 2014

Today, seniors are staying healthy and active — and living longer — than ever before. It’s no wonder that as many as 90 percent are hoping to remain independent and in their own homes, according to a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the AARP.

The risk of illness or an accident such as a fall increases as you age, though. In fact, seniors in the United States have more than 13.2 million hospital stays each year, according to the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This is why investing in a medical alert system is so vital to your independence.

But knowing how to select the device that is right for you isn’t always easy. One question that many seniors struggle with is whether they should sign a contract for a medical alert service or pay a monthly fee. Each method has its pros and cons, so your unique situation will determine which option is right for you.

Deciding Whether to Sign a Contract for a Medical Alert Service or Pay a Monthly Fee


No one likes to be tied into a long-term contract, but this is exactly what some medical alert services require. Going this route can save you money, and it isn’t as much of an issue if you’re fairly certain you’ll remain in your home for the length of the contract.

The good news is that most of the contracts are only for one year, and they can reduce your service fees. You can even pay them in monthly installments with most providers. It may seem like more of a commitment, but it may be a good choice for some seniors.

Monthly Payments

Medical alert devices and services that are based on a monthly payment don’t require a contract and can be canceled at any time. You’re only paying for your medical alert system during the months it’s needed, and you aren’t required to pay if you no longer need it. This means that as your life situation changes, you can cancel the service at any time.

If you’re injured or become ill, you won’t need the medical alert system while you’re in the hospital or a rehabilitation facility. You may also find that you no longer need it if you move into a situation where you’re not home alone, such as if you move in with relatives or into an assisted living community.

For many seniors, the monthly payment option is the best option. You’ll never have to pay for a service that no longer meets your needs. It’s especially fitting for seniors who have impaired mobility, are at an increased risk for falls, or have medical issues that could limit their independence in the near future.

There are many factors that go into choosing a medical alert system that fits your needs. Deciding how you prefer to pay for the service is just the beginning. It pays to do your research on each service provider and learn what’s out there.