Medical emergencies can happen to anyone, but elderly and disabled adults who live alone are in greater danger of suffering from catastrophic health problems or accidents. Medical alert systems provide peace of mind for older and disabled adults by allowing them to call for emergency medical help, even when they're unable to speak or reach their telephones. The top three medical alert services are Alert 1 Medical Alert Systems, ADT Medical Alert, and Phillips Lifeline, all of which offer products and monitoring services designed to provide elderly and disabled adults peace of mind at affordable prices. Each service offers several different pricing plans to accommodate almost any budget. You don't have to break the bank for this type of security. Alert 1 has premium mobile medical alert devices starting as low as $35.95 monthly, and your rate won't increase for a year!  ADT has a similar deal costing $39.99 monthly, and Phillips Lifeline has the "Homesafe Mobile" option that compares well and costs $41.95 monthly.Not sure which medical alert system is right for you or your loved one? Ask the following questions to find the medical alarm company that best fits your needs:

What is the monthly monitoring fee for my medical alarm system?

The monthly fees for monitoring services are usually $20 to $40. Keep in mind that services with more expensive monthly fees tend to offer additional features, as well. These fees add up over time, though, so make sure you're not paying for services you don't need if you're considering a medical alarm system with monthly fees on the high end of the spectrum.

Does this medical alert service require a long-term contract?

Similar to most cell phone services, some medical alert companies require customers to sign long-term contracts for services. Ask about contracts up front if you're concerned about retaining financial flexibility. Keep in mind, though, that some of the lowest monthly rates are from plans that require long-term contracts.

Does this medical alert system also serve as a smoke or CO2 detector?

Some medical alarm systems also serve as smoke, fire and Co2 detectors, and alarm monitoring companies can summon fire departments in the same way they call for emergency medical help. Bay Alarm Medical, Life Alert and ADT Companion Service are three nationwide medical alarm companies that offer these additional services. Be sure to ask whether monitoring for smoke fire and Co2 adds to the monthly fee.

Will my medical alarm pendant or bracelet have a microphone in it?

If your pendant or bracelet has a built-in mic, you'll be able to communicate with emergency responders from anywhere within the range of your alarm system. This is a great benefit for elderly adults who have trouble getting around even when they're healthy. This benefit may come with an added price, but the ability to talk with your alarm company during times of crisis could be invaluable.

Does this medical alert provider require activation or cancellation fees?

Most companies will waive activation fees in order to gain your business. However, cancellation fees aren't so easily waived. If you're at all concerned about eventually cancelling your service, then you may want to ask around and find providers that don't have cancellation fees. Examples of providers without cancellation fees are LifeFone, LifeStation and Alert 1 Medical.

Are first responders provided with access to my home?

Some medical alert companies will install a lock-box outside your home that can be accessed by first responders or paramedics in the event of medical emergencies. Many services don't provide this feature, so ask about this option if you're interested.

What happens to my medical alert system if my power goes out?

Quality medical alert systems come with a backup battery that should keep your device running for several hours, even during a power outage. When shopping around for medical alert systems, always ask whether or not a backup battery is included, and whether or not you'll be required to replace the batteries regularly. ADT medical alert systems come with a maintenance-free backup battery, for example, which means you'll never need to change the batteries on your device. 

What if I have an emergency and I'm using the phone connected to the unit?

In most cases, your medical alert company can automatically disconnect your call in order to send out the emergency signal. Before signing up with a medical alert company, ask what the protocol is if you happen to be using the phone connected to the unit during an emergency situation. In some cases, you may be encouraged to use a dedicated phone line for your alert system, which can add to the cost of your service. 

What if I am not satisfied with my service?

When comparing medical alert services, you should always ask what happens if you aren't satisfied with your service for any reason. This is especially true for services that require you to sign a contract. Make sure you won't be stuck in a contract for a service you aren't satisfied with! 

What are the best medical alert necklaces?

Alert 1 offers a medical alert necklace that light, waterproof and contains a long-lasting battery (up to 5 years). Life Alert has been making medical alert necklaces for years and claims to save lives every 10 minutes. Philips's medical alert system, Lifeline offers effective detection of falls, with a comfortable and easy-to-operate necklace.

Does the medical alert necklace include fall detection?

Individuals likely to experience crippling falls may benefit from a necklace with fall detection. When a fall incapacitates an individual or cripples them in such a way that prevents them from pushing a button, fall detection includes sensors that can detect a fall and alerts emergency services, calling for help automatically.

Is GPS tracking an available feature on all medical alert systems?

GPS tracking on a medical alert necklace or bracelet allows you to keep track of your family or let's your family keep track of you in the event of an emergency. GPS tracking can allow emergency services to find victims quickly and more efficiently.