MedicAlert Bracelets


If you have a medical condition that first responders need to know about, consider getting a MedicAlert bracelet or dog-tag.

Canadian business owners do business all over the world. Most enjoy medical coverage from their respective province or territory and may carry additional travel and medical insurance when out of their province of residence.

Just as important as medical coverage, however, is the ability of emergency response teams or a foreign doctor, nurse or medical support worker to know immediately whether you have any special conditions that could determine how you need to be treated.

A MedicAlert bracelet or dog-tag lets first responders know that you have a specific medical condition or a specific allergy even if you are unconscious. (The bracelet/dog-tag can be easily identified by the symbol of a serpent-entwined rod known as the Staff of Asclepius, a Greek god associated with healing.) The MedicAlert Foundation is a non-profit, charitable, and membership-based organization founded in 1956 in Turlock, California, by Dr. Marion Collins. The Foundation’s mission is to protect and save lives by serving as the global information link between members and emergency responders during medical emergencies and other times of need.

The Bracelet/Dog-Tag

Each MedicAlert bracelet/dog-tag provides first responders with information regarding allergies, implants such as artificial heart valves, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and treatment wishes.

Each bracelet/dog-tag contains the wearer’s unique ID number, medical condition and an emergency toll free number that connects to a live operator 24 hours a day seven days a week. As well, the organization provides a wallet card with emergency contacts and health information.

Worldwide Information Network

In the event of a medical emergency, medical practitioners or first responders can call the emergency number and speak to a live operator who can reference your health records that may include your medical condition, types of medications and dosage, as well as past surgical history. If the emergency requires transfer to a medical facility, MedicAlert will transmit the information to that facility so the information will be available when you arrive. In the event your travel takes you out of country, the MedicAlert Foundation is present in more than 50 countries and translation service is available in over 140 languages.

Low Cost

Firstly, let it be known that it is not possible to obtain a MedicAlert bracelet/dog-tag without becoming a member. Because the bracelet/dog-tag cannot carry all your medical information, you must become a member before the bracelet/dog-tag will be issued.

MedicAlert protection starts at $39.

According to their Canadian website, the cost of the MedicAlert ID starts at $39. (For the fashion conscious, MedicAlert provides a catalogue of specialty wear that resembles jewellery with prices topping out at around $2,700.) On top of the cost of the bracelet/dog-tag, a $24 fee is required to set up your medical profile and ensure the ID bracelet/dog-tag is properly engraved. The coverage after that is $5 per month with small discounts provided for prepayments of 24 or 36 months.

Other services provided by the MedicAlert membership include:

  • online access to your medical information anywhere 24/7
  • notification of family members or other named individuals in the event of a mishap

MedicAlert offers an optional service plan that enhances the basic plan with additional personal information that includes for example DNR orders, X-rays, MRIs, or CAT scans. These documents are available to a designated proxy or medical practitioner as needed.

If you are a frequent flyer, an entrepreneur who has previous medical history or have employees who could benefit from wearing a MedicAlert bracelet/dog-tag, perhaps now is a good time to investigate membership. Unfortunately, the cost of membership is not a tax-deductible medical expense and thus, if management determined that membership should be paid by the business, that cost would possibly be considered a taxable benefit.

MedicAlert Reduces Risks

The MedicAlert program is relatively inexpensive when one considers that information provided to first responders or medical practitioners provides knowledge crucial to your well being. That knowledge could reduce the risk of incorrect medical treatment as a result of a wrong diagnosis, may prevent unnecessary medical care, and ultimately just might save your life.

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