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
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.
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
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.
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
1. online access to your medical information anywhere
2. 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
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
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.
The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.