Similar to most medical alert services, our Medical Care Alert review focuses on the company's three package of medical alert systems for seniors. The only significant difference is the mid-range package, the Home & Yard. This medical alert system features a pendant with a speaker, allowing you to speak with emergency operators if you have an emergency directly rather than from rooms away over the loudspeaker of a base station. This is why it has the name, Home & Yard, because you can still communicate with emergency responders even if you fall out in your garden.
Aside from the unique Home & Yard package, there is little to differentiate Medical Care Alert from other medical alert services. The company uses the MyTrex system, like many other services and the pricing is average. The one bright spot is the quality of the emergency response operators.
Medical alert systems
Medical Care Alert features the MyTrex MXD medical alert system, which is widely used in the industry. While it lacks an LCD display and the audio quality is not as good as the system offered by MobileHelp, it is the loudest system on the market, which is necessary if your senior loved one falls in the basement and needs to hear the operator from the base station upstairs. That said, the volume of the MyTrex has its drawbacks. Some of the systems we tested sounded good, but some sounded downright terrible, which is to be expected when such a small speaker is pushed to its limits. We recommend testing the speaker as soon as you get it and returning it if the audio quality makes it difficult to understand the emergency operators.
Our favorite package is the Home & Yard. This is a unique medical alert system that bridges the gap between an in-home and mobile system. This system features an in-home system but includes a wireless pendant with a speaker, not unlike a mobile medical alert system. It allows you to speak to the emergency operator from the pendant rather than the base station, providing better communication overall, especially if you’re out in the yard and unlikely to hear the base station speaker. That said, it is not a mobile medic alert device and only works when it’s in range of the base station.
We don’t recommend the fall detection add-on, which costs an additional $10 per month. In our tests, it failed to detect a single fall, making it just a very expensive pendant.
Emergency response center
Every second matters in an emergency, which is why the biggest disappointment with Medical Care Alert was the slow response time. In our first round of three-week daily tests, it averaged about 99 seconds per call. This was one of the slowest call response times in the tests. By comparison, GreatCall averaged just 20 seconds per call. In the second round of three-week daily tests, it posted similar call response times while most services we tested got faster. GreatCall, for example, improved to 15 seconds per call. Overall, the speed at which your emergency is answered lacks the promptness required to compete with better medical alert services.
On a positive note, the quality of the calls was excellent. We rarely had any bad calls where operators were difficult to understand or rushed the call. In nearly every call, the operator was calm and reassuring. They confirmed our identity (a security measure) and asked us several times if we were alright. The operators certainly went out of their way to make sure they alleviated the anxiety of calling an emergency call center, an aspect that shouldn’t go without recognition.
Medical alert service
Medical Care Alert makes it simple to understand the products and services they offer. While they don’t have many options, the features are listed clearly and the information is transparent. It’s unfortunate, however, that they don’t offer a month-to-month option for payments. You have to pay quarterly, semi-annual, or annually. That said, if you cancel your subscription, you will receive a prorated refund, which is not always the case with other services.
The payments are autobilled by default, so you need to make sure you’re careful about budgeting and that you recognize the payments will be processed automatically if you don’t cancel. This is a sticking point that many seniors have with medical alert companies. Fortunately, the cancellation process was not a headache. Medical Care Alert makes sure it doesn’t become an arduous chore like many services.
As with most aspects of Medical Care Alert, the pricing is also average. All things considered, the slow performance and average audio quality can be overlooked if the price is right. Unfortunately, it isn’t. The in-home system costs $27 per month and the Home & Yard costs $32. By comparison, Medical Alert offers the same in-home system for roughly $23 per month, though Medical Guardian offers it for $30 per month.
The mobile system is $40 per month, which is average. Again, GreatCall’s Lively Mobile is $25 per month and a much better speaker and call response time.
The fall detection pendant costs an additional $10 per month, but considering it never worked in our tests, we recommend skipping it.
Medical Care Alert is a middle of the pack type medical alert service. It doesn’t offer anything exciting and the performance is either average or below average. While we like that they use the very loud MyTrex in-home system, the audio quality can be suspect and their call response times are disappointing.
When you combine the overall performance with the pricing, there simply isn’t enough to separate Medical Care Alert from the rest, despite excellent emergency call operators. That said, if you want an in-home system with excellent range and communication, the Home & Yard is a unique system worth checking out.