GreatCall Medical Alert System

24/7 Emergency Monitoring
3 Phone Choices
Overall Rating:
3.5 of 5
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14 Additional Options
$19.99/mo. Starting Price
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Today, one-in-five American seniors report feeling lonely or socially isolated.1 GreatCall strives to change these statistics by offering affordable phones and medical alert devices that allow seniors to stay connected and safe without breaking the bank. As one of the only providers offering cell phones tailored to the needs of older adults with built-in medical alert capabilities, GreatCall is an innovator in the industry.

The company’s product lineup features two cell phones and two medical alert devices, so you’re sure to find the right package for your needs. GreatCall’s devices operate on the highly reliable Verizon network, while most other companies look to AT&T or T-Mobile. With upfront device costs as low as $49.99 and basic health and safety packages starting at just $19.99 per month, GreatCall’s devices and comprehensive monthly subscriptions, which can include 24/7 monitoring and fall detection, are very affordable compared to other providers.

Our biggest gripe with the company was that it took some detective work to figure out the exact monthly rate with its health and safety packages—Basic, Preferred and Ultimate—and various mobile plans, which differs from product to product. But no need to worry, when it comes to the breakdown of available options, pricing, and features, we’re here to do the heavy lifting for you! Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about GreatCall.

At A Glance: What You Need to Know About GreatCall

  • Mobile/cellular options only
  • Cellular coverage through Verizon network
  • Every device has a built-in GPS
  • U.S.-based monitoring centers
  • Suite of health and safety services is available at extra cost
  • Waterproof, wearable pendants
  • Month-to-month contracts (no long-term contracts)
  • Customized, unique mobile apps automatically come with cell phones
  • 1-year equipment warranty

The History of GreatCall

Designed specifically with seniors in mind, GreatCall launched in 2005 under female entrepreneur and investor Arelene Harris. Soon after, Harris helped invent the very first cell phone for actively aging individuals. A few years later, she teamed up with resources like FONOMED to provide the same demographic with a variety of additional health and safety services for even greater accessibility and affordability. The outcome was, and has since been, an ecosystem of unrivaled equipment and resources for seniors who still travel, errand and strive to live independently.

A Pricing Breakdown of GreatCall’s Systems & Packages

To help you see the big picture of your exact monthly rate, below is a pricing breakdown of the monthly rates for the available Health & Safety Packages and mobile plans for each GreatCall product. To learn more about our testing process, check out this year’s GreatCall review.

Money Saver Alert: For cell phones only, you can opt-out of 5Star Urgent Response to drop your monthly package fee to just $14.99 a month.

In order to access your GreatCall device’s medical alert capabilities, you’ll need to add one of their optional Health and Safety Packages. There are three types of monthly packages to choose from based on the level of service you want. These start at a very reasonable $19.99 per month and include 5Star Urgent Response, which is GreatCall’s 24/7 monitoring service. For those who want more advanced, concierge-like services, GreatCall’s ultimate packages include add-on features that competitors like MobileHelp and Philips Lifeline simply don’t offer. We’ll explain the functionalities of each health and safety feature in detail towards the end of this page.

Product (one-time fee) Functionality Monthly Rates for Health & Safety Packages Mobile Plans
Jitterbug Smart 2 ($149.99) Smartphone Basic Package: $19.99
Preferred Package: $24.99
Ultimate Package: $34.99
Pricing With Health & Safety Packages: $3 to $40 per month

Just Talk & Text Plans: $2.49 to $59.99 per month

Jitterbug Flip ($99.99) Basic Cell Phone Basic Package: $19.99
Preferred Package: $24.99
Ultimate Package: $34.99
Pricing With Health & Safety Packages: $3 to $20 per month

Just Talk & Text Plans: $3 to $39.99 per month

Lively Mobile Plus ($49.99) On-the-Go Medical Alert System Basic Package: $24.99
Preferred Package: $29.99
Ultimate Package: $39.99
N/A
Lively Wearable 2 ($49.99) On-the-Go Medical Alert Watch Basic Package: $24.99
Preferred Package: $29.99
Ultimate Package: $39.99
N/A

What’s Included in Health and Safety Packages?

GreatCall’s cell phones (Jitterbug Smart2 and Jitterbug Flip) and medical alert devices (Lively Mobile Plus and Lively Wearable2) include most of the same features in their health and safety packages; however, there are a few differences. Below is a breakdown of which features are included in each package for both cell phones and medical alert devices.

Health and Safety Packages Basic Preferred Ultimate
Medical Alert Phones 5Star Urgent Response

Brain Games

5Star Urgent Response

Brain Games

Urgent Care

GreatCall Link

5Star Urgent Response

Brain Games

Urgent Care

GreatCall Link

Personal Operator

Medical Alert Devices 5Star Urgent Response 5Star Urgent Response

Urgent Care

GreatCall Link

5Star Urgent Response

Urgent Care

GreatCall Link

Fall Detection

Jitterbug Smart2

GreatCall Jitterbug 2

GreatCall Jitterbug 2

With an upfront cost of $149.99, this smartphone is GreatCall’s most advanced option. With improvements like a larger screen, intuitive menu, loudspeaker, and voice typing, the Jitterbug Smart2 caters well to the needs of those in their golden years. The phone offers a 24-hour battery life and a 13-megapixel camera with video and flash, perfect for taking all those pictures of grandbabies and your latest vacation. Talk, text, and data plans start at only $2.49 per month, making it an affordable option for staying connected.

If you choose to activate the 5Star Urgent Response button, you have access to an emergency operator who already has all of your information and can send the right help during an emergency. Speedy internet access, Google navigation, and pre-installed apps round out why this model can be of great help to seniors looking for the latest in smartphone technology. Plus, it’s more affordable than smartphones on the market from other powerhouse brands. For instance, one of Apple’s least expensive models, the iPhone SE, starts at around $400, which is more than twice the price of the Jitterbug Smart2.

A Gentle Reminder: If you’re looking for a senior-friendly cell phone and you don’t care about medical alert capabilities, you can skip adding a Health and Safety Package to save on your monthly bill. You’ll just need to pay for the one-time device fee and the monthly fee for your select mobile plan.

Jitterbug Flip

GreatCall Jitterbug Flip

GreatCall Jitterbug Flip

With a product fee of $99 and talk and text plans beginning at $3 per month, the basic Jitterbug Flip cell phone is a great option for those who want a more simple way to stay connected. It features a super-bright screen, strong speaker, large textured buttons, simple menu and hearing aid compatibility, all designed specifically for the needs of older adults. It has everything the Jitterbug Smart2 does, except for internet access, a touch screen and voice typing. For those who don’t need or want too many frills, this gadget–which can also be turned into a medical alert device with the simple addition of 5Star Urgent Response–can do it all for the senior customer who prefers to stay away from too many bells and whistles. The Jitterbug Flip is on the pricier side when compared to the upfront cost of other basic flip phones like the Doro 7050 from Consumer Cellular; however, with GreatCall’s top-of-the-line health and safety features and reliable service, it’s worth the cost.

Buyer's Tip: Give GreatCall’s customer service line a call and inquire about new customer deals or current promotional rates. Depending on the current deal, word on the street is that you can save about 25% of the original product fee.

Lively Mobile Plus

GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus

GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus

This cellular standalone medical alert device is perfect for seniors who want a simple way to stay protected on the go. The Lively Mobile Plus has a device fee of $49.99 and uses GPS technology, 24/7 monitoring, and 80 hours of battery life to keep users safe, whether they’re at the grocery store or out at dinner with friends. Weighing in at under 2 oz., the sleek waterproof product is perfect for active seniors who still drive, travel or want to forget they’re wearing a medical device. During an emergency, the user just needs to press the device’s button and they’ll be connected to help straight away. It can also be upgraded to include automatic fall detection. On top of the one-time device fee, GreatCall requires all Lively Mobile Plus users to sign up for their Basic Health and Safety Package for $24.99 per month, which comes out to under $1 a day. This is around $5 to $10 less expensive per month than standalone mobile options from companies like Medical Guardian, so it offers solid value.

FYI: If you don’t love the device you sign up for, you have 30 days to return it for a full refund, minus a slight restocking fee of $10.

Lively Wearable 2

GreatCall Lively Wearable 2

GreatCall Lively Wearable 2

The Lively Wearable2 is a good substitute to the Lively Mobile Plus for those who want a sportier, wearable option. It’s the same price as Lively Mobile, with a device fee of $49.99 and monthly monitoring fees starting at $24.99. This minimalist, watch-like device connects to most smartphones (you can always go to GreatCall’s website to see if yours works), and has health-conscious features like a step tracker and health tips to keep you active and in shape. It can be worn two ways: as a watch or as a necklace with the lanyard option, and can also be equipped with optional, automatic fall detection.

Understanding GreatCall’s Health and Safety Features

Health & Safety Feature Description
5 Star Urgent Response 24/7 access to a special pool of emergency agents already familiar with your personal health info

All agents certified by The National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED),2 the same company that certifies 911 operators

Urgent Care In partnership with Fonomed

Immediate access to registered nurses and board-certified doctors for prescriptions and advice

Assistance with navigating the ins-and-outs of your insurance

GreatCall Link Sends instant, detailed medical updates and alerts to all parties connected via patient’s account for streamlined communication with loved ones
Personal Operator Concierge-like program to set up non-emergency services like arranging special Lyft rides, contacting a caregiver, and more
Fall Detection Automatically detects a fall and tracks your location

Alerts a 5Star Urgent Response agent to provide you with immediate assistance

Brain Games Pre-loaded app on cell phones for cognitive stimulation to improve memory

How to Get the Best Deal with GreatCall

There are several ways to ensure that you get the absolute best deal with GreatCall. First, be sure to ask customer service about any seasonal promotions they are running at the time of purchase. As mentioned earlier, there is usually a deal that can save you up to 25% on the one-time product fee. If you’re an AARP member,3 you can also save up to $60 every year on select Health and Safety Packages, so make sure to let a representative know when you sign up. You’ll also have the option to be billed automatically on a registered debit or credit card for a monthly discount. Finally, free shipping for all devices and a 30-day return policy make it pretty enticing to try out one of GreatCall’s products. If you don’t like it, you have up to 30 days to return it and move on.

How Do I Know if GreatCall is for Me?

With 80 percent of seniors in America owning a cell phone and nearly 70 percent of older adults using the internet,4 it’s clear that seniors are embracing new technology to stay connected with their loved ones. If you’re looking for a phone or device that not only lets you stay connected but also offers 24/7 protection, we’d recommend looking into GreatCall. Their devices are small and sleek, so you won’t feel like you’re carrying around a bulky, flashy medical alert device. Compared to other flip phones and smartphones, GreatCall’s options are very affordable, and they’re designed specifically for seniors, so you’re really getting the best of both worlds. Plus, GreatCall leads all other medical alert suppliers in revenue, generating about $300 million per year,5 which shows just how popular this trusted brand is.

Our Final Thoughts

When it comes to a medical alert product, nothing beats the promise of safety and reliability. With a variety of advanced medical alert capabilities from their Health & Safety Packages and their partnership with Verizon that offers stable connection, GreatCall has our vote! Despite some extra upfront equipment fees that other medical alert companies like Medical Guardian don’t impose, the company excels in delivering some of the best-equipped, most intuitive senior cell phones on the market. However, if you are searching for a more traditional alert system or a landline device, then you might want to look at some of our favorite medical alert systems.

All in all, GreatCall provides affordable, senior-friendly cell phones and devices with advanced health and safety features for older adults who want to stay protected and connected with one simple device.

Questions to Consider When Shopping GreatCall

  • How does the price of a GreatCall smartphone compare to others like it?

    The Jitterbug Smart2 is affordable, especially when measured against its main competitors. For instance, the Jitterbug Smart2 costs $150 for its product, and then unlimited talk, text and data through GreatCall is about $60 per month. For a similar Samsung phone from AT&T, it will cost you upward of about $500 for just the phone and then about the same (or slightly more) as the Jitterbug for unlimited plans.

  • Who are GreatCall’s alert systems best for?

    For those who still travel, garden or exercise regularly, GreatCall is a great option. The company has designed all of their products for active seniors who want to embrace technology and stay protected. If you spend a lot of time on the go or you’re just looking for a senior-friendly cell phone, we’d recommend GreatCall.

  • Does GreatCall ever team up with AARP for any additional discounts?

    Yes, AARP6 members can currently save about $60 per year on GreatCall’s Preferred and Ultimate Packages with the purchase of a Lively Mobile Plus or Lively Wearable2.

  • Does GreatCall have a product warranty?

    GreatCall’s products come with a one-year warranty, which is pretty standard in the phone industry. Plus, you have a 30-day trial period to test out your equipment and decide if it’s right for you. If it’s not, you can return it for a full refund minus a $10 restocking fee.

  • What cellular network does GreatCall use?

    All of GreatCall’s products rely on Verizon’s cellular network. This provider has solid nationwide coverage, but you’ll still want to make sure that they offer reliable service in your area.7

Citations
  1. HRSA. (2019). The “Loneliness Epidemic”.

  2. Emergency Dispatch. (2020). Homepage.

  3. AARP. (2020). Homepage.

  4. Pew Research. (2017). Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults.

  5. San Diego Union Tribune. (2018). Best Buy acquiring San Diego’s GreatCall for $800 million, boosting its technology lineup for seniors.

  6. AARP. (2020). GreatCall.

  7. Verizon. (2020). Homepage.