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Personal emergency response systems (PERS) are devices that you use to get immediate emergency medical help when you need it. They are designed primarily for seniors, but people who live with disabilities or chronic conditions also use them.

Most medical alert systems work similarly: In a medical emergency, like a fall or respiratory difficulty, you press the help button on the device. It may be an in-home console or a wearable device, such as a pendant, pocket mobile device, or smartwatch.

This connects you with a live operator at a call center who speaks with you over the device’s speaker system and assesses your situation. They then summon the type of help you need — either one of your listed contacts or local emergency services.

Most systems operate via a cellular connection, but some use landline phones or Wi-Fi. You usually pay for these services on a subscription basis, sometimes with additional equipment purchase costs and activation fees.

Here’s a look at MobileHelp, one of the top medical alert systems on the market.

MobileHelp is a personal medical alert system with a unique interactive touchscreen tablet as the base station for two of its packages. The 8-inch tabletop device, called the MobileHelp Touch, mimics a mainstream tablet with photo sharing, video chat, messages, activity monitor, and games.

MobileHelp was founded in 2006 and is based in Boca Raton, Florida. It offers nationwide cellular coverage and partners with Rapid Response Monitoring to provide its emergency response call center. Rapid Response uses LanguageLine to offer interpretation services in 240 languages.

MobileHelp works similarly to most personal medical alert systems. In an emergency, you press a button on the wearable device or in-home console to connect 24/7 with a live operator in a call center via cellular service or your landline phone connection.

You speak to the operator in the device’s two-way speaker system and describe your situation. The trained operator assesses your situation and arranges appropriate emergency response. The device provides your stored personal information and exact location.

If you are unable to respond after making the call, the operator sends local emergency help. If you have automatic fall detection coverage, the operator will arrange emergency services after the fall pendant indicates a fall, even if you are unable to press the button.

MobileHelp offers eight subscription packages including in-home and on-the-go packages. One package, the Mobile Duo, offers a bundle designed especially for couples. It covers two people both inside and outside the home.

Both in-home and mobile units offer wearable devices with push buttons that connect you with a live operator at a U.S.-based emergency monitoring center. The cellular units have GPS location tracking to pinpoint your precise location.

All MobileHelp plans require an AT&T cellular connection, except the landline Wired Home unit. The cellular service is included in your monthly subscription cost, but AT&T coverage must be reliable in your area.

Pros

  • both landline and cellular devices
  • nationwide cellular connection on all units except Wired Home, which uses a landline
  • touchscreen device base unit on two plans
  • waterproof help buttons that can be worn in the shower
  • precise location and stored personal information automatically transmitted during emergency call
  • GPS location tracking offered on Duo and Solo mobile alert systems
  • optional biometric monitoring called MobileVitals available with any plan (uses accessories including a blood pressure monitor, digital scale, and pulse oximeter)
  • free lockbox with all subscriptions
  • activity tracking available to record your movement on an hourly basis
  • optional online tracking for families and caregivers via MobileHelp Connect app
  • optional medication reminders
  • Connect Premium protection plan for equipment coverage and discounts on add-on services
  • optional telehealth services via MDLive platform for $10 per month without insurance or co-payments
  • micro wearable option that weighs less than 2 ounces
  • no long-term contracts or hidden fees

Cons

  • no included warranty
  • no smartwatch option (MobileHelp Smart, a smartwatch MobileHelp device that launched in 2019, is no longer available)
  • no wellness checks
  • no fall detection available with in-home landline unit
  • no false alarm function (but you may tell operator once they answer the alert was a mistake)
  • subscription price is not locked in unless you buy the Connect Premium protection plan, which guarantees it for 2 years

For this review of MobileHelp, we used a combination of third-party reviews, user input and research regarding personal alert medical systems.

Learn more about our vetting protocol.

You can purchase plans online at the MobileHelp website or by calling customer service at 1-800-992-0616.

MobileHelp monthly subscription prices vary from $20 to $65 dollars per month, depending on the plan and devices you choose.

MobileHelp offers one of the best plans for the bargain hunter like The Classic, a cellular in-home unit for a promotional rate of $20 a month. It provides a wearable help button that can cover a 1,400-foot range from the base station to other points in and around your home.

There is also a $50 activation fee if you choose the monthly payment plan.

A unique feature of MobileHelp is its integration with the MDLive telehealth system for an extra $10 per month. It also offers MobileVitals, an add-on service where you track your health markers like:

  • blood pressure
  • weight
  • blood oxygen levels over time

MobileVitals is tracked using the MobileHelp Touch device and conveys the readings to your health team.

There are no upfront equipment costs, but there are activation fees in some packages. Shipping is usually free, and the online order form lists all charges before you pay.

Here’s a summary of their eight plans and monthly subscription costs:

PlanSubscription
cost per month
Equipment
In-home plans
Classic
• designed for in-home use
• uses cellular signal, no landline required
• 1,400-ft in-home range
$20 (promotional price, usually $35)• cellular in-home base unit
• 1 help button
Wired Home
• landline unit, no cellular signal required
• amplified 2-way speaker in base unit
• 600-ft in-home range
$25• landline in-home base unit
• 1 help button
Touch Classic
• touchscreen tablet base unit
• photo scrolling and games on tablet
• optional activity tracking and medication reminders
$55• touchscreen tablet base unit
• 1 mobile unit
• 1 help button
Complete Plans
Duo
• can be used in home or on the go
$42• base unit
• 1 mobile unit
• 1 help button
Mobile Duo
• designed for active couples
• 2-way communication in your home or on the go

$45• no in-home base unit
• 2 mobile units
• 2 help buttons
• 2 chargers
Touch Duo
• customizable plan
• can create an in-home communications hub for you and your caregivers
$65• touchscreen tablet in-home base unit
• 1 mobile unit
• 1 help button
On-the-Go Plans
Solo
• designed for active singles
• can be used in home or on the go

$38• 1 mobile unit
• 1 help button
Micro
• weighs under 2 oz
• smallest and lightest MobileHelp device
• can be used in home or on the go
$34• micro device, water-resistant, can be worn in the shower
• detachable lanyard
• charger
• integrated optional automatic fall detection

Does MobileHelp offer payment plans?

Though not a payment plan, MobileHelp payment includes options that are monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual.

Longer payment periods cost a little less and sometimes waive activation fees.

Is there a set-up fee?

Activation fees for monthly payment plans range from $50 to $100 for Classic, Touch Duo, and Touch Classic.

Does MobileHelp accept insurance?

No. You may consider calling your benefits provider to see if they offer coverage. Standard Medicare doesn’t cover medical alert systems, but some Medicare Advantage plans may.

If you have benefits that include a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) you may be able to use them to purchase the medical alert device. You can check with your plan administrator.

Can you change or cancel your MobileHelp subscription?

You can cancel a subscription at any time or add on features if your needs change. You will receive a prorated refund for any months not used after you return all equipment in working order.

If you need help during an emergency, just press the help button on your pendant, wristband, or wall device. In-home base consoles also have an emergency button.

The MobileHelp system then connects you to a monitoring center to speak with a live operator. At the same time, the device transmits your stored personal information and precise location based on GPS and cellular signals for mobile devices, or your physical address registered on your in-home device.

A live operator then communicates with you through two-way speakers on the devices, such as the base unit, mobile device, or pendant. The operator assesses your situation and then contacts either emergency services or someone on your provided contact list.

MobileHelp’s Google rating is 4.5 out of 5, with 273 reviews. Amazon reviews are also 4.5 out of 5 stars but they only have 10-11 reviews per product.

Yelp reviews are mixed, ranging from 5 stars to 1 star, although there are also currently under 10 reviews. Most Yelp complaints focus on disappointing treatment by salespeople. The 5-star reviews generally relate to the service itself.

Returns and service cancellations

Returns and service cancellations are accepted, but you must always return all equipment in working order first.

Warranty

MobileHelp offers its protection plan, Connect Premium, for $6 a month. It offers:

  • equipment replacement at a fraction of the usual cost, sometimes for just a small deductible
  • locked-in price guarantee for 2 years (promotional rates not included)
  • 25% off accessories and MobileVitals service
  • 50% off medication reminders and activity tracking (with purchase of Fall Button)
  • 30 extra pings per month for Location Detection on MobileHelp Connect portal

MobileHelp offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all plans or equipment purchased.

MobileHelp offers many features that you can add to your subscription plan to customize it to fit your needs. Each feature costs a bit extra each month. Here are some of their add-on features:

Fall detection

Research shows that falls can be among the most damaging events to a senior’s health. This may be the reason why one of the first questions people often ask about a medical alert system is: Does it have automatic fall detection?

Yes, MobileHelp does. The MobileHelp Fall Button is a separate button that you wear as a pendant. The Fall Button automatically sends an alarm if you fall and are unable to push your button.

The button’s light will flash red and beep for 20 seconds. The base station or mobile device will announce: “Fall detected. Press and hold button to cancel.” You can then cancel or wait to speak with an operator.

An operator will answer and talk with you if you are able, or send emergency help if you are not. It costs $11 per month. It’s compatible with all systems except the Wired Classic. The Micro has integrated optional automatic fall detection.

If you are unresponsive, the operator will send local emergency services to your residence. MobileHelp warns that the Fall Button does not detect 100% of falls and should not be used to replace a caregiver for someone with health issues that may put them more at risk of falling.

MobileVitals monitoring

MobileVitals is a remote patient monitoring service you can add to your MobileHelp subscription. Using Bluetooth-enabled accessories, you can track health markers over time such as blood pressure, weight, and blood oxygen levels. You have your choice of monitoring accessories, including a blood pressure monitor, digital weight scale, and pulse oximeter.

Using these devices, when you take your measurements, they are automatically transmitted to the MobileHelp Connect portal and securely stored. You can view your record by logging onto your Connect customer account. You can also share your record with healthcare professionals.

Cost depends on the subscription plan you have and the devices and accessories you use. For example, the Duo plan with MobileVital (called MobileVital Duo), subscription cost begins at $44 a month, or $520 a year.

MDLive

For an extra $10 a month, you can subscribe to MDLive, a telehealth service offered by MobileHelp. It allows you to “see” a doctor without leaving your home using your smartphone, computer or other smart device.

Doctors with MDLive are board certified and will give you medical advice at any time, without an appointment.

Extra help buttons

You can add a help button in a standard pendant or wrist device for $2 more per month. Another help button that you can mount on your wall costs an extra $3 per month.

Activity tracking

MobileHelp’s activity tracking service monitors and charts your activity through the MobileHelp Connect portal. It also emails updates to authorized caregivers. You need to buy the fall detection subscription to have activity tracking. It costs $6 a month.

Connect Premium

This is a protection plan you can add to your subscription for $6 per month that gives you:

  • 1 free help button
  • 2-year price lock guarantee for your subscription plan
  • device replacement with deductibles up to $100
  • discounts on other add-on features

Yes, it’s called MobileHelp Connect, available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Once you subscribe to MobileHelp, you receive a login to the app and to the Connect web portal. There, you can access your account and use add-ons you’ve purchased like activity tracking and medication reminders.

Seniors and people who live with disabilities often worry about falls and other incapacitating events. Medical alerts can give peace of mind to both you and your family. For a deeper dive, see our summary of how seniors can live independently longer.

Medical alert monitoring devices can provide a significant health benefit to older adults. One study showed that personal alert systems are most helpful in medical emergencies, like:

  • breathing difficulty
  • heart problems
  • falls

Those who care for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease often find medical alert systems especially useful. Get the larger picture in our article about the Alzheimer’s caregiver situation.

A medical alert system isn’t right for everyone. First, the person must be willing to use one, and not everyone is. They must also be able to understand and use the technology.

Also, some people may be in a stage where assisted living or around-the-clock home care is needed. Personal medical alerts may still be useful in these situations, but with careful supervision.

Always check whether your loved one needs more help than just a medical alert can provide.

  • Be sure you or your loved one is comfortable with the technology and understands how to use the device.
  • Ensure that AT&T cellular coverage in the area is reliable if you are using a cellular unit.
  • Regularly test the system.
  • If you have any body implants like a pacemaker, check with your doctor about any precautions you may need to take when using a cellular system.

MobileHelp offers affordable and technically advanced personal medical alert options. A medical professional and your caregiving support team can help you decide if MobileHelp is right for you or your loved one. You might also ask for advice from a care consultant at MobileHelp who can explain how the various products might work for you.

Keep in mind

MobileHelp is not a substitute for emergency services.

In the event of a physical or mental health emergency call 911.

SpecificationsMobileHelpBay Alarm Medical
Coststarts at $20 per monthstarts at $25 per month
Upfront costs• no equipment fees
• $50 for the Classic device activation
• $100 for the Touch Classic or the Touch Duo device activation
• no activation fees
• $89–$159 for mobile and smartwatch devices
Shipping costfree ground shippingyou pay shipping unless you pay your subscription annually
Free trial period30 days30 days
AppConnect appAccount Manager app
Size• 8-in. cellular base station: about the size of an answering machine
• mobile device: about the size of a deck of cards
• micro device: not much bigger than a key fob
product size varies from buttons or smartwatches to in-home console
Weight• lightweight design, weight varies by product
• mobile Solo device weighs about 3 oz and the Micro device weighs under 2 oz
• lightweight design, weight varies by product
• lightest product is smartwatch
Wireless?• cellular coverage required for all units except Wired Home landline unit
• AT&T cellular service provided, but coverage must be reliable in your area
• cellular required for all units except landline unit
• Verizon or AT&T cellular service provided, but coverage must be reliable in your area
In-home range1,400 ft 1,000 ft
Battery life• base station: 30 hours backup battery
• mobile device battery: 24 hours
• neck pendant and wrist button: 5 years
• 6–72 hours
• 32-hour backup battery for in-home unit
• varies per product and use pattern
Response timeoperator response time between 15–20 seconds, according to users
• usually 1–15 seconds, according to users
• operator response time in 45 seconds or less (company guarantee)
Subscription• monthly
• quarterly
• annually
• monthly
• quarterly
• annually
Wearableall devices are either wearable or have wearable buttonsall devices are either wearable or have wearable buttons
Fall detection monthly price$11 per month (available in all plans except Wired Home landline)$10 per month, plus $30 device fee (available with SOS Home and SOS Mobile units)
Warranty (wear and tear)• no warranty
• Connect Premium protection plan partially covers equipment damage/loss, plus discounts on add-on services for $6 per month
• no warranty
• Premier Protection Plan partially covers equipment damage/loss for $3–$5 per month

Go to the website, or call customer service at 1-800-992-0616. The plans and add-ons can be challenging to differentiate on the website, so at least one call to the company may help you decide on a plan and clarify your options.

Can MobileHelp let my family know where I am?

Yes, if you first provide them access to your MobileHelp Connect account online. They can then log in and locate your device.

You can also configure your settings so that the system will email people you select as “responders” if you press the help button. They will also receive a map of where you are at that time.

Does MobileHelp offer medication reminders?

Yes, the Medication Reminders service is available as an add-on service for $6 per month through the MobileHelp Connect web portal. You schedule the reminders online and then receive them through your cellular base station. This can help you avoid missed doses or accidental overdoses.

Do I have to sign up for a wireless account?

No, MobileHelp provides AT&T cellular service as part of your subscription plan.

What if there is a power outage in my area?

During a power outage, your base station unit will continue to work for approximately 30 hours on its backup battery. Mobile units will continue to work as long as their batteries are charged and there is AT&T cellular signal.

Are the MobileHelp devices waterproof?

The neck pendant, wrist button, and Fall Button are all waterproof. They can be worn in the shower and bath. However, they should not be submerged or exposed to water for a long time. The mobile device, cellular base station, and wall button are not waterproof.

Can I accidentally set it off?

Yes, the units are not especially sensitive to accidental calls, but anyone can press a button by mistake. Wait for the operator to answer, and let them know you made the call in error. MobileHelp warns that they may cancel or suspend your service if there are too many false alarms.

Is MobileHelp private and secure?

In its privacy policy, MobileHelp acknowledges that it collects and shares your personal information with participating third parties, but only for business purposes such as:

  • fulfilling and tracking orders
  • providing information to emergency operations
  • improving your experience on the online platform

Is MobileHelp better than Life Alert? How?

Life Alert was one of the first providers of personal medical alert systems. As such, it has the brand recognition of a longtime leader.

However, its systems are among the most expensive, and subscriptions require a 3-year contract. Also, it does not offer fall protection at this time, and its plans are all bundles that can be difficult to customize.

You may be able to pick and choose plans and equipment more easily with MobileHelp. But that is a decision you will probably want to make for yourself, with advice from a doctor, family, and/or caregivers.

Is a medical alert system really worth it if it’s unmonitored?

Though personal medical alert systems are sometimes called “unmonitored,” there are in fact live operators available 24/7 to answer an emergency help button call. You do generally need to press a button to activate the call, but this is usually possible using the MobileHelp wearable buttons.

If you are unable to press a button or speak, your automatic MobileHelp Fall Button pendant will usually activate the system for you (if you subscribe to the fall detection add-on service).

MobileHelp is an affordable personal alert system with a variety of customizable plans and a reputation for reliability. They also provide unique technical tools such as their interactive touchscreen tablet and GPS-enabled lightweight mobile units.

There are add-on options for activity tracking via the MobileHelp Connect app or web portal, along with medication reminders and an optional automatic fall detection pendant.

Perhaps its most groundbreaking offering is its foray into health management. Optional add-ons include access to MDLive telehealth services and MobileVitals remote patient monitoring service where you can track and share the record with your healthcare team. Trackable markers include blood pressure, weight, and blood oxygen levels over time.

The most commonly mentioned downsides across user reviews are the persistent sales pushes, as well as the challenges of canceling service if a distant loved one has difficulty returning equipment.

Generally, customers are satisfied with the medical alert system itself, and they find customer service responsive and helpful.

If you’re interested in trying MobileHelp, you can get started below.