Bay Alarm Medical Review Summary
Bay Alarm Medical is currently considered a great choice by many for a home medical alert system. Through the benefit of a long company history and good operations management, the company is able to offer their system at a price that other best-rated companies find hard to match, while still offering a top quality system. There are no long term contract requirements either.
The large number of positive customer reviews for the Bay Alarm Medical alert systems is testament to their popularity and service standards.
Disclosure: We receive referrals commissions for purchases made (details).
Low Monthly Cost For Reliable Services – Bay Alarm Medical competes by offering low prices to consumers. Their price go as low as $25/month, which is a tad lower than their closest competitors. The best part is that they are able to do it while maintaining high quality standards and customer satisfaction.
No Long Term Contracts – There are no long term contracts to deal with. You can cancel at any time by calling the company and sending the equipment back.
Carbon Monoxide and Fire/Smoke Alarm Alert Options – These are good options to have for users who want the additional protection. These options will connect the CO and Fire/Smoke alarm signals directly to the monitoring center, offering users an additional layer of protection from these unforeseen emergencies.
No In-house Call Monitoring Center – Bay Alarm Medical works with a US-based partner company to provide monitoring services. Since they do not run their own in-house monitoring operations, critics point out that this could mean less direct control on managing call quality. To be fair, Bay Alarm Medical uses very high quality call centers that meet both CSAA Five Diamond certification and UL quality standards.
Overall, for its reliability, high quality standards, options and favorable pricing, it’s a great system. For comparisons, see the Medical Alert Systems Reviews section.
Bay Alarm Medical Detailed Review
Bay Alarm Medical is a top tier provider medical alert systems to seniors across the country. Besides continental US, their service also works in Hawaii and Alaska. They are the medical alert arm of Bay Alarm, a home security company founded in 1946 (7 decades ago). With the medical alert service, Bay Alarm’s goal is to provide the elderly with the protection they require for living independently and in good health. Bay Alarm Medical’s office is located in the east San Francisco bay area.
Amongst brand-name medical alert companies, Bay Alarm Medical has one of the lowest pricing for medical home alarm systems. This is made possible by their low overheads and cost structure. For example, due to their long operations history, they have cultivated relationships with trusted vendors who are willing to extend preferred pricing to them. The savings is then passed on to their customers in terms of a lower cost for their systems and services.
Unlike other competitors, they also are willing to skip doing expensive TV advertisements that could bloat up costs quickly. Instead, they rely on alternative and lower cost methods to get the word out to seniors needing medical alert systems. One such way they rely on is to provide excellent customer service to their current customers. If current customers are pleased with the system, they are likely to refer Bay Alarm Medical to their friends and family who may benefit from having a medical alert system at home.
How It Works
Disclosure: We receive referrals commissions for purchases made (details).
The Bay Alarm Medical alert system works through a base station and a wireless emergency button pendant. When an emergency occurs, the senior user can press the button to quickly connect with a trained operator. Two-way communication between the user and operator will then take place. The operator will contact the appropriate parties that can help the senior user, whether it is a family member, emergency medical technician (EMT) or other parties.
The monthly cost of the service is $29 a month. There are no activation and installation fees associated with getting the service started and working. Lower pricing is available for users who prepay quarterly ($27/month) or semi-annually ($25/month).
Keep in mind that while you enjoy greater discounts with the quarterly or semi-annual plans, there are no pro-rated refunds after the initial 14-day period (see Contracts section below). It makes sense to choose a service period that you are comfortable with.
Bay Alarm Medical offers discounts to members of the AARP, AAA and possibly other organizations. To learn more, please contact them directly at toll-free 1-855-397-9964 (click to call).
For a pricing comparison with top-rated systems, check out the Best Medical Alert Systems Comparison Chart.
There are no long term contracts associated with the service. Users can cancel at anytime by calling Bay Alarm Medical’s customer support and sending back their equipment.
The company also offers a 14-day money back guarantee.
Note that refunds are not extended after the initial 14-day period for any fees that have been prepaid ahead of time. The company does not offer pro-rated discounts on unused months. If you purchase an Semi-Annual or Quarterly plan, it will auto-renew at the end of the term; unless you cancel your subscription and make sure that the equipment is returned and received before the auto-renewal date.
Bay Alarm Medical Base Unit
The main parts of the in-home medical alert system are a base station unit that connects to a phone line and a wireless emergency help button. The base station unit includes a special highly sensitive microphone and loudspeaker. This facilitates extremely clear back and forth communications between the elderly user and the emergency center operator.
Besides their in-home medical alert base unit, Bay Alarm Medical also has a “no phone line needed” cellular system base unit that does not require a home phone line connection to operate. The “Phone Line Options” section below has more details on this.
Waterproof Emergency Help Button
The emergency help button can be worn either as a necklace pendant or a bracelet. It is lightweight and waterproof. This allows for the button to be worn in the bathroom and shower area, where the risk of falling down is a lot higher than normal. The button comes with a battery life of up to 5 years, which means the user does not need to worry about frequently recharging it.
The monitoring service can be extended to a spouse or second person living in the same household at no extra charge. However, you do need to purchase a second pendant at a cost of around $35. This is a one-time fee for buying that piece of equipment.
Bay Alarm further offers options for wall mounted help button units as well. These provide additional accessibility and convenience for issuing a medical alert call. These buttons can be conveniently placed in locations where falls may occur, or where the user frequent in the home.
Automatic Fall Detection System
Bay Alarm Medical also offers an automatic fall detection alert system. This consist of eith a land-line based console unit or a cellular based (no phone line needed) unit, and a fall alert button pendant instead of the standard SOS button.
With the regular non-auto-alert help or SOS button pendant, users need to press the button in order to issue an alarm call. With automatic fall alert detection, the pendant can sense if a fall has taken place and if it determines that it is the case, an alarm call is automatically made. Learn more about Bay Alarm Medical’s auto fall alert >>
This is a helpful feature especially for users with medical conditions that could render then unconscious or incapacitate them from physically pressing the help button upon a fall. Seniors or customers with conditions like diabetes, a weak heart, epilepsy or periodic dizzy spells may find this a great feature to have.
However, it is important to note that auto fall alert buttons are not 100% accurate and may fail to detect a fall at times. If an actual fall happens and does not trigger an alarm, the user will need to press the help button on the auto fall alert pendant to initiate an alarm call.
Maintenance & Testing
Bay Alarm Medical’s website recommends testing their system frequently, perhaps once a week. This can be done by pressing the emergency button, making sure an operator responds and communications established. This is a good point as the user can make sure the system is working well, ahead of any potential emergencies.
There is no need to be apprehensive about calling anytime. Going through customer reviews, it is apparent that the operators are friendly and helpful. Users report that even those they accidentally pressed the button multiple times, the operators were always understanding and easy to talk to.
Should there be any problems with the system equipment, they are covered by warranty from the company. They have a dedicated technical support toll-free number that customers can call in to report problems or ask for help.
Phone Line Options
The Bay Alarm Medical system will work with any phone line. This includes traditional residential phone lines, as well as phone lines through cable or VoIP services from Vonage, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Charter, Time Warner and other companies. It will also work if users have DSL internet connections.
That said, bear in mind that traditional land phone lines have been around the longest are likely the most reliable. VoIP services are dependent on the quality of one’s internet connection. In a worst case scenario, if the internet connection is down, it will not allow any emergency calls to go through.
Bay Alarm Medical also offers users without any land or compatible VoIP/digital phone lines the option of connecting to their monitoring center through a cellular network connection. Emergency calls will be routed through a cellular network connection that is built into the base unit. This feature is an optional upgrade available to users who need it.
For a look at the main Bay Alarm Medical systems and phone line options, check out our Bay Alarm Medical Alert Systems Guide For Seniors.
The in-home medical alert system can be set-up through a simple self-installation process. It’s a matter of connecting the base station to a power supply and a phone line. Instructions are included in the package mailed out. For the cellular base station unit, there is no phone line connection to be made. Medical alert systems are basically very simple to hook up.
Most users have no problems with this point. They think it’s worth saving the extra $80 to $100 for someone to come to the home to get it set-up.
The standard emergency help button has a range of up to 1,000 ft. This is a wide enough range for most homes, covering even peripheral areas like the patio or yard. Most users of the Bay Alarm System have no problems with the range. Keep in mind that home medical alert systems are meant for home use. Emergency responders are directed to the elderly user’s home, not to wherever they are clicking the SOS button.
The actual working range will vary depending on the floor plan of the home, build and construction of the home, as well as other environmental obstacles present. Users are advised to test out their buttons from various parts of the home periodically, such as areas they frequent at home, places they may be susceptible to falling (kitchen/bathroom/stairs), and the peripheral areas.
Just because a button has a good maximum open air range does not mean that it will automatically work through the same long distance with obstacles present. So be sure to test things out. As mentioned, most users are fine with the range offered by Bay Alarm Medical.
Mobile Medical Alert With GPS
If you want a long range system because you want something to work when you are out and about, the company offers a mobile medical alert option to complement their home alert system. The mobile system comes with a single piece of equipment – a necklace pendant device. This GPS mobile device combines the functionality of both the base station unit and the help button. The pendant houses its own speaker and mic for two-way communications. However, it is not waterproof and should not be worn in the shower.
Bay Alarm Medical’s monitoring service is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all through the year. They have partnered up with a carefully chosen US-based monitoring operations company. There are two full-service US-based centers running, so that in case anything happens to disrupt the activities in one center, the monitoring service will continue to work.
In addition, these monitored centers are certified and monitored by 3rd party quality assurance firms. They are CSAA Five Diamond Certified, a demanding certification that is recognized and respected in the industry. These centers are also randomly inspected by UL to make sure they are meeting with UL quality standards. UL is another well-recognized and respected industry standard.
According to Bay Alarm Medical’s website, it usually takes 45 seconds or less to receive a live response from the time the help button was pressed. With almost all test calls we made, this service standard was adhered to.
For users who cannot speak English, or feel much more comfortable speaking in other languages, especially in cases of emergencies, the Bay Alarm Medical service addresses that. It provides communications in more than 170 different languages such as Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin & many dialects), Hindi, Armenian, Russian and many others.
Power interruptions are hopefully rare where you live, but it does happen from time to time. When that happens, the Bay Alarm system can continue to run for up to another 32 hours using a backup battery. When power comes back up, the system will start working again, as well as get recharged for backup use.
The length of 32 hours compare well with other top tier systems. When we tested our Bay Alarm base console unit, the backup battery lasted beyond the specified 32 hours after we unhooked it from the power source.
Carbon Monoxide, Smoke/Fire Alerts
The Bay Alarm Medical alert system, through it Premier plan, includes additional protection through carbon monoxide (CO), smoke and fire detection. Seniors using the standard system can press the help button when the CO alarm or smoke/fire alarm rings, to ask for assistance. However, some seniors and their children or loved ones prefer the reliability and assurance that alarm signals are automatically transmitted to the emergency response center, and that someone will check in with the user and call emergency services like the fire department and 911 for help, as necessary.
With carbon monoxide (CO), smoke and fire detection alarm services, the detection devices will sound an audible alarm to warn anyone in the home. At the same time, a signal is automatically transmitted to the monitoring response center, and the operator will act on it to get the attention needed to attend to the emergency at hand.
The Center for Disease Control has released statistics indicating that the elderly is especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. CO can emanate from home appliances with no odor. After breathing it in for a while, the person may become fatigued and nauseous. Victims in such situations may be too disoriented to realize that they should be pressing the emergency button to get help. Likewise, if the home catches fire, the senior user could possibly lose consciousness due to the smoke, even before they have a chance to press their emergency alert button.
For these above reasons, getting CO, smoke and fire alert protection through the Bay Alarm Medical premier plan is preferred by some users. Bay Alarm Medical has a Premier plan package should include all of regular medical alert monitoring, plus the CO, smoke/fire detectors. It will cost more than the regular medical alert service plan.
Vial of Life
When emergency services personnel arrive at the senior user’s home, having an easy way for them to assess the medical history of the user can be very helpful. The Bay Alarm Medical system features a very simple but really useful solution to address this. Inside every package of the system sent out is a free Vial of Life kit ($8.95 value). This is a little kit where the user or a loved one can record the user’s medical history. It is designed to be placed on the user’s fridge door where it can be easily noticed and opened up to be read.
Bay Alarm Medical currently has a A+ grade BBB rating (Oct 2016). Their BBB record showed a total of 52 complaints in the last 3 years, of which 12 were resolved and closed to the customer’s satisfaction. For the rest of complaints, either the complainants did not explicitly indicate that they were satisfied, or that they were not satisfied with how their complaint was handled.
Reading through the complaints correspondence, a key area of dissatisfaction has been how the company handled billing and charges. They strictly follow-through with their stated policies of no refunds after 14 days and that the equipment must be received undamaged before the next billing date. One complainant asked for a reprieve because her father was hospitalized and unfortunately passed away before getting a chance to use the system. She did receive a partial refund after some difficulty (see 11/3/2014). If you do choose to go with Bay Alarm Medical, they tend to be less costly when you prepay ahead, but you just need to make sure to adhere to their strict rules on no refunds.
The company has since replaced their annual billing plan with a semi-annual billing plan. This is a step forward in limiting the amount of money that customers could be out on if they chose to cancel with numerous unused prepaid months ahead. Months prepaid but unused are not eligible for refunds once the 14-day initial period is over.
On the Consumer Affairs website, they received a high average rating of 4.5 out of 5, based on 1,500 customer reviews.
Previous Coupon Code Expired
Although the $1-off coupon code “medical” has expired, Bay Alarm Medical continues to offer discounts selectively to members of various organizations, such as AARP or AAA. To get informed on any special offers, please contact them directly at toll-free 1-855-397-9964.
Disclosure: We receive referrals commissions for purchases made (details).
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this review, the information is supplied without warranties of any kind. We advise all readers to do careful due diligence before purchasing. Take time to visit the company’s website or speak with their representatives.