Are Medical Alert Systems More Affordable With AARP?

One of the most well-known organizations that provides resources for older adults, AARP often has discounts and promotions on products that can help people live healthier lives. If you’re looking to purchase a medical alert system for yourself or a loved one, AARP currently has partnerships with two popular medical alert system companies.

Considering that falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, the use of a medical alert system (MAS) provides peace of mind knowing that if and when a fall happens, quick help can be summoned. Through our research and a survey of 1,000 medical alert system users, we’ve learned that the fear of falling (or a history of falls) is the leading stimulus when it comes to purchasing a medical alert system. However, these systems are also an excellent safety measure in the event of other emergencies like fires, loss of power to medical devices, or health-related crises.

The companies partnered with AARP are just two among the many available that can help older adults feel more comfortable at home.

Mother and daughter feel more secure and comfortable because of medical alert system

What Is AARP?

AARP Logo

Founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, AARP began as an association to help retired teachers access health insurance. Since then, it has evolved into an organization that promotes the well-being of older and retired adults by offering access to products, services, and lifestyle advice that supports members who choose to age in place. AARP also uses funding to lobby for older adult-centric policies and programs, raising public awareness around the needs of the older-adult population. They connect older adults to affordable and safe housing, employment, social networks, and even food assistance.

AARP members enjoy exclusive access to products and services including (but not limited to):

  • Health, life, pet, vehicle, and property insurance
  • Travel planning, car rentals, and vacation packages
  • Restaurant and entertainment discounts
  • Financial and retirement planning
  • Real estate and moving services

Does AARP Cover Medical Alert Systems?

Senior signing document

AARP MAS Discounts

Benefits and discounts offered by AARP for medical alert systems are exclusive to members, so when considering overall cost it’s helpful to take the cost of membership into account. The standard annual rate for AARP membership is quite affordable at $16 per year, and considering the comprehensive list of discounts and promotions offered to members, it’s certainly worth the cost of membership if you plan to use any of the benefits. These discounts are subject to change at any time, so it’s wise to regularly check AARP’s discount listings.

AARP MAS Partnerships

AARP currently has long-running partnerships with only two medical alert companies, Lively and Philips Lifeline, which allows them to extend discounts to members. While AARP medical alert system discounts are limited to just two brands, the brands are two of the most well-known and trusted medical alert companies on the market. If you find that neither Philips Lifeline nor Lively are a good fit for your needs, there are many other medical alert systems available that can possibly fit your budget. Some companies offer discounts to AARP members directly (without going through AARP), and you might even belong to other organizations or qualify for other programs that offer medical alert system discounts.

Medical Alert Systems Covered by AARP

Unrecognizable senior man pushing panic button on emergency equipment for elderly people, cropped. Closeup of man's hand pressing alarm button for emergency hung on his chest

Philips Lifeline

AARP members can save 15% on their monthly subscription to Philips Lifeline. The company also waives the $50 activation fee for AARP members and offers member-exclusive free shipping. Users choose from both mobile and at-home options: the On the Go and the HomeSafe.

The Philips Lifeline in-home systems support independence for customers aging at home, especially those who are frequently alone. These systems operate as a standard pendant the user wears around their neck or wrist. Philips Lifeline’s AutoAlert feature is equipped with automatic fall detection, a technology that senses most falls and connects the wearer to the monitoring center, even when they can’t summon help on their own.

Lively

For AARP members who purchase the Lively Mobile Plus medical alert system, AARP offers a flat $60 discount on the annual fee for the Preferred and Ultimate levels of their Health and Safety Packages. The Mobile Plus system is offered as a clip-on or lanyard emergency button. Both the Preferred and Ultimate subscription packages include services that help older adults to feel safe as they age at home.

The Preferred package includes Urgent Response, Urgent Care, and Lively Link which respectively offer emergency response, access to medical professionals for questions and concerns, and keep loved ones connected and aware of your health and safety status. The Ultimate package includes all of the above plus the addition of fall detection.

Other Budget-Friendly Medical Alert Systems

While AARP’s discounts are limited to just two brands, there are many reputable and budget-friendly medical alert devices on the market. Depending on your individual needs, you may be able to find a system that works best for you and is equally or more affordable than Lively and Philips Lifeline.

“The device you select should be simple to operate, work in all parts of the home, and likely to actually be used by the loved one,”

said Max Mayblum, a certified senior advisor.

Mayblum added that customers should choose a product that enhances their current lifestyle, because a medical alert is only effective when worn reliably.

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian is one of the leading medical alert brands and includes three on-the-go devices and two at-home systems. It’s easy to shop this brand below the price point of Philips Lifeline products, even after the AARP monitoring fee 15% discount.

MobileHelp

MobileHelp offers multiple mobile and at-home systems, along with a line of hybrid models that includes both at-home and mobile components. The hybrid Duo devices are a good fit for those looking for protection while alone at the house—who also want peace of mind while out and about on errands. Budget shoppers can also save by bundling payments quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

Medical Alert

Medical Alert is a leading medical alert brand with a simple model. The company offers just one mobile device and one home device, with the option of added fall detection. Users can save between $55 and $75 per year by paying their monitoring fees upfront annually—comparable to the $60 discount off Lively’s monitoring fees with AARP.

Bay Alarm Medical

Bay Alarm Medical’s mobile devices include the lightweight SOS All-in-One, the SOS Smartwatch, and SOS Mobile. Bay Alarm Medical’s SOS Home is a personal help button that users wear around their neck or the wrist. Like MobileHelp, Bay Alarm Medical also offers a hybrid of the mobile and at-home systems, with bundle packages for users who want protection at home and away. The SOS Home starts at $24.95, and the Bundle package begins at $39.95—both less expensive than the AARP-discounted systems.

GetSafe

GetSafe stands out on this list as the only hands-free device. GetSafe customers are protected by voice-activated wall buttons. By saying “Call 911” twice, users activate the help feature and are put in contact with the monitoring center. GetSafe also provides a wearable pendant for those who want added protection.

Lifefone

Lifefone has a range of on-the-go and at-home devices, as well as packages that transition between home and mobile modes. The home device is impressive for its range from the base unit as it allows you to take your pendant up to 1,400 feet from the base—say to the garage or garden—and still be protected. While AARP does not offer any Lifefone discounts, the company does reduce fees for those who pay annually rather than monthly for monitoring.

Other Organizations Offering Discounts on Medical Alert Systems

VA: If you’re a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers full coverage for MedEquip Alert and Latitude emergency alert devices. These devices are less common than many of the names on the market, but work similarly. MedEquip Alert call button connects to their call center to assess your needs and contact emergency services when necessary, whereas the Latitude system connects only to programmed contacts to alert friends, family, or caregivers when you need help.

GEHA: Government Employees Health Association members can receive free activation plus a 10% discount on your monthly membership for Life Alert Emergency Response systems.

AAA: AAA members who choose Medical Guardian medical alert systems can receive a 10% discount on all Medical Guardian products, as well as one free month of service, a free lockbox, free device activation, and free ground shipping on an annual order.

This is by no means a complete list, and available options often change. If you have any memberships or affiliations through which you get discounts or deals, it can’t hurt to ask about coverage for medical alert systems. If you’ve found the right medical alert system for you and are still curious about any available discounts, it’s always good practice to ask the company or sales team directly if they offer any deals or promotions for which you may be eligible. Many companies do in fact offer savings through military discounts or discounts for AAA members but don’t publicly advertise these discounts.

Bottom Line

The two systems AARP provides coverage for may be viable options for some older adults. However, the discounts offered by AARP don’t necessarily overshadow the benefits of some alternative systems not partnered with the organization. To effectively protect yourself with a medical alert system, it’s important to find one that fits not just your budget, but your lifestyle and individual needs.

Hannah Sherk contributed to this report.

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WRITTEN BY

With over six years of clinical experience in long term care and rehabilitation, Ayla is passionate about helping people age safely and with dignity. She is an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), licensed with the State Board of Nursing in Massachusetts, and holds a B.A. in Psychology. Through her education and work she has focused on combining practical health knowledge with the individual needs and desires of older adults to bring the absolute best care and content to patients and readers.

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MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Jenny is an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner in NYC with a passion for working with aging adults and their family members. Prior to her clinical training at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, she worked in business and medical research at Harvard Business School and Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Caregiving Coach at Givers, Jenny helps family members manage the financial, emotional, and educational stresses of caring for their loved ones who are aging in place.

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