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GreatCall has a Big Name Vice Chairman, but are They a Big Name Product?

At the top of the list of necessities for a medical alert pendant is convenience. These devices are made so that older adults or people with disabilities will retain their independence. No one wants clunky hardware that might get in the way of everyday life. So how did GreatCall find a solution for this? They added medical alert technology to cell phones.


With this all in one technology, users get the best of both worlds. Their independence is restored, along with the ability to take these devices wherever they go. GreatCall devices are also waterproof. GreatCall has a big name backer, John Walsh, a famous safety advocate as their Vice Chairman. Walsh has focused much of his life’s work on making life-saving health and medical alarm devices readily available and cost-effective for the masses.


Seeing that a device is connected to cell phones will immediately turn heads. But before you decide that GreatCall is the company for you, let’s take a look at how they perform.

What are the Product Details?

One of the appeals of GreatCall is that though they’re selling point is connecting medical alert technology with cell phones, they also sell stand alone pendant devices. Customers can choose from either, and a few different packages will give them flexibility in their choices.


Customers choose from a flip phone or Android, available in different colors, which work as the medical alert pendant. The phones and service plans are available at Sears, Best Buy, Rite Aid, and Walmart. An important thing to note is that though these phones and GreatCall service are sold in brick and mortar stores, many of these store representatives aren’t trained by GreatCall. They may give wrong information or not know the ins and outs of the product. To get the full scope of GreatCall, speak with a customer service representative directly.


GreatCall is a good option for customers who want to replace their cellular plan with a system that has both cellular and medical monitoring. If working your phone plan around the need for a medical alert isn’t something you’re willing to do, GreatCall won’t be an appealing option. If you’re trading a system that has an unlimited plan for this device, you’ll probably be disappointed. The Android phone that you get as a user with GreatCall is pre-loaded with medical monitoring apps, so protection, help, and tips are all one tap away.


If your network does not cover medical monitoring or you don’t want medical alerts and cell service to be on joint devices, the traditional medical monitoring tool is the option for you. This device is waterproof and no landline is needed to receive alerts.

How About Pricing?

Pricing depends on the service that you choose. With cell and medical alerts bundled, pricing is competitive. GreatCall has monitoring service benefits, a caregiver app, and premium plans that give customers direct access to medical professionals for advice.


Here’s how pricing breaks down:


So, What are the Problems?

If you’ve read our reviews, you’ve noticed that most of the medical alert companies aren’t on contracts, and don’t charge activation or equipment fees, but with GreatCall you get all three of these charges. Even the basic medical alert system has fees. Oh, and you’ll get a telecommunications fee that comes due to federal law.


GreatCall can’t control the telecommunications fee, but customers who don’t know why it’s there will frustratingly think that it’s just an additional fee. GreatCall devices have not disclosed their range, so you can’t compare how well the devices perform against competitors using one of the key parameters. While data plans are an option, they are rather pricey. And if you’re switching phones to Android, you might struggle making the change.


None of these details are very encouraging. You don’t want to be loaded with fees, no matter what device you’re buying.

Should You Choose Them?

At first glance GreatCall seems like a viable option. They combine what’s likely your most used device—your cell phone—with the medical alert technology you need to retain independence and be safe. But despite the promise of their technology and capabilities, GreatCall falls short of being worth choosing as your medical pendant company.


It’s discouraging and unsettling that GreatCall has not disclosed the range of their equipment. This is one of the most useful metrics for how to gauge pendant equipment. If you opt for the phone instead, then you dodge this concern, but shouldn’t the company still tell you what range they’re working with?


Fees also abound with GreatCall. Protecting yourself or a loved one in the home might already be a subject with sensitivities that causes stress. Extra fees and prices do not help this at all. GreatCall isn’t the worst option, but you shouldn’t settle on them too soon in your search. Look around and speak to a GreatCall representative before you make a final decision.