Medic Alert

36 replies [Last post]
By on Fri, 06-11-04, 17:19

Last year I got a medic-alert bracelet for my son. I was not told that it is an annual $50 fee. Today I received a letter that his membership has expired.

A few months ago my older son got a new membership with them as well. He was not told that it's annual.

We can't afford $50 a year per person.

Any suggestions on other bracelets I can get for a 6 year old boy, and me. (Mine is scratched up and needs to be replaced.)

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By momma2boys on Fri, 06-11-04, 17:27

AnnaMarie, this is a question I have wondered about with the renewal....My son is pa and asthmatic, which is all on his bracelet. So if the ambulance comes for him, and for some reason I am not with him, they look at his bracelet, hopefully give him epi. What reason do they have to call Medic-Alert? What other info are they going to get other than contact info for us? And most likely we would be with him or he would be with someone else who knew how to contact us.

So do we really need to pay to renew it, or just let him keep wearing it without renewing?

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By KayMarks on Fri, 06-11-04, 17:39

Annamarie, have you mentioned to a Medic Alert rep that you cannot afford 2 bracelets? I ask because every year when I update info or pay my membership, they ask me to contribute some extra money to help people who cannot afford their bracelets. I bet you could work something out- maybe a lower yearly fee or maybe it could be waived. I hope it works out. Kelly

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By Mama on Fri, 06-18-04, 00:54

We have been members now for 5 years . I have only payed a one time $50 fee. I understood it was one time. I have received letters in the mail, but I always thought it was just for a donation. Our membership has never been cancelled, by them and we have purchased 3 braclets in the past 5 years each time only paying for the braclett.

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By srujed on Fri, 06-25-04, 12:51

I just ordered ds a medicalert braclet and they said the first time for enrollment and the braclet is $35 then its $20 a year after that to keep up the membership and have the updated info on file. I am in the US, not sure it that matters....

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By Yonit on Fri, 06-25-04, 15:12

i also just called a few days ago to order new bracelet and was told that our membership had lapsed a few months ago - I don't remember getting a letter about it, but I suppose it could have been put in a drawer . . . . Anyway, they said the renewal was 50.00 for three-years. I can't rmember the yearly fee, but this was a bettr deal. I still feel it's important to have it, so they can access contact information for us and his doctors. We also added dosage info. (i.e. 2 tsp Benadryl) for their file, since that is obviously not on the bracelet.

I'm going to search the thread on medic alert wording, but while I'm on this topic --do any of you put "carries epi-pen" or "treat with epi-pen" on the bracelet so that somebody treats before calling medic alert??

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By Yonit on Fri, 06-25-04, 16:36

Okay -- new info I just got from Medic Alert. The first rep I spoke to just told me that my membership had lapsed and do I want to renew? Of course!

BUT, I asked today what would have happened if they'd received an emergency call in the interim. Well, they would still provide any info they have on file. Basic membership is FREE when you order a bracelet from them. Then, it is $12.00 each time you need to update/change ANY information in the file.

The "advantage" of the "MedicAlert Advantage Service" which is $35.00 to enroll, renewal at $20 per year or $50 for three years, is that you can update the information any time with no additional charge. So . . . I figured that we would probably not have to update information more than four times in the next three years . . . so it's not worth it. She cancelled my $50.00 fee, and simply charged the price of the new bracelet, which needed to be updated for size and wording($14.95). If we need to update again, it will be a 12.00 charge. Hope this doesn't confuse you even more! The bottom line is that the basic service is free with bracelet.

By the way, the wording I settled on is "Severely Allergic to Peanuts, Nuts, Latex. Carries Epi-Pen. Asthma." I changed to "severely allergic" from "anaphylaxis" in order to fit in the "carries epi-pen", which was not on his emblem before, and becasue I wanted lay people to be sure to understand the problem. Emergency folks will know that it means anaphlylaxis.

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By ElleMo on Sat, 09-11-04, 04:54

Just an FYI:

We had an EMT speak to our allergy group several months ago. He said having a medic alert or similar jewelry is vital; they always look for it on any patient who is unable to communicate. But he didn't even know that you could call Medic alert to get more information. He said all he needs to know is what medical condition the person has and he will treat it as he has been trained. Perhaps the ER docs may call Medic Alert but the EMTs do not.

__________________

Elle
Allergic to Shellfish
Mom to Jesse 2001, allergic to peanuts, legumes, chickpeas

Sometimes I just want to say "blah blah blah blah blah."

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By on Sat, 09-11-04, 15:43

Anna Marie, did you get this sorted? This is something relatively new in Canada. When I bought Jesse's first MedicAlert bracelet when he was 3-3/4 years old (so, what, 5 years ago?) it was a LIFE-TIME membership fee. I knew that MedicAlert in the U.S. was different with an annual fee.

Then, in just picking up literature I saw that we had gone the same route here in Canada as well.

I need to order both a new bracelet for Jess and also a new Epi-belt, but bloody he**, I can't find the Epi-belt shown anywhere. When I go to the website, [url="http://www.medicalert.ca"]www.medicalert.ca[/url] it doesn't show the Epi-belt by itself.

At any rate, as far as membership fees, if you didn't get this sorted, could you contact me off-the-board?

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Sun, 09-12-04, 16:11

Cindy, here's the page:

[url="http://www.medicalert.ca/english/member/vao/index.html"]http://www.medicalert.ca/english/member/vao/index.html[/url]

It's listed on their products page under "Joys of Life Merchandise"

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By on Mon, 09-13-04, 01:32

Anna Marie, thank-you for the link. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I've found that before, but when I click on the Joys of Life, I can't get an actual Epi-belt picture and price. Am I doing something wrong or do I have to call them?

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Mon, 09-13-04, 13:28

Cindy try this one:

[url="http://www.medicalert.ca/english/member/vao/medical.html"]http://www.medicalert.ca/english/member/vao/medical.html[/url]

From the link above, I clicked on *medical* (on the right hand side of page). It took me to this link, which has pictures and prices.

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By darthcleo on Mon, 09-13-04, 13:37

20 odd years ago I had a medic-alert bracelet. I don't remember the cost but I have a feeling it was around 35$ annually.
So the annual fee is not something new. I stopped paying and even stopped wearing the bracelet..

__________________

*** ENRICHED ***
GO TEAM CANADA

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By on Mon, 09-13-04, 15:12

Anna Marie, thank-you. I would like to get Jesse a new Epi-belt. His is certainly still holding up, but it's starting to get a bit worn, it's three years old and he does need a new bracelet.

darthcleo, in Ontario, the annual membership fee is a new thing. When Jesse became a member five years ago, it was a one time life-time membership fee of $50.00.

It's only in recent literature that I've received and picked up along the way in drug stores that I've seen the change to an annual membership fee.

Could it be because you're in Quebec?

I'm also fairly sure that when I received the latest up-date from them, there was a portion of the membership form where you could check if you were experiencing financial hardship and couldn't afford the annual fee. But I'd have to see some paperwork again (I'll try to check the drug store later, at least some time this week).

I do know that they are also charging now if you want to up-date the medical record, and for us, it's always that bloody change-of-address thing. I have to check to see if that's one of the things that you have to pay $15.00 to have changed.

At any rate, when you add these things up, it can become quite costly IMHO.

Now, of course, they are considered tax deductions for medical purposes, but as we've discussed on this board before, basically in filing income tax for however many years (nearly 30), it was only ONE year that my medical expenses even lowered my taxable income by a bit. One year.

I'll try to pick up the literature this week and post it.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Thu, 10-21-04, 15:11

Simply re-raising. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By skocsis on Thu, 10-21-04, 16:28

I just got off the phone with medic-alert. I am joining for the first time. They said the cost is $35.00 which includes my ds bracelet and $20.00 each year after.

Just thought I'd share since I just got off the phone with them.

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By on Fri, 10-22-04, 15:22

Okay, Canadian specific. Just finished speaking with MedicAlert because I had to get pricing information for the MedicAlert bracelet and MedicAlert Epi-belt for Jess.

I asked about the annual fee. The annual fee was introduced two years ago. She has to send me an order form so that I can place my order so it required a change of address also, which is now supposed to cost money every time you up-date your file.

However, because my son became a life-time member BEFORE the introduction of the annual fee and the new charges for changing any information to your file, it is only a "request" on the part of MedicAlert that we pay the annual membership fee.

Basically what she told me is that if you were a life-time member before this was introduced, they consider the annual membership fee from life-time members only (not new members) as a donation - not something that is mandatory.

Now, if anyone is placing an order, I would call and speak with someone to re-confirm what I just confirmed. I needed to know if we needed to have the annual fee because I haven't ordered for a bit, but no, if you were a life-time member before the new annual fee was tacked on, you're okay, unless you can afford to give them the annual membership fee and consider it a donation.

I have to say that I was quite pleased with the conversation because yesterday, when I was trying to navigate their website (thank-you Anna Marie for providing the link right to the Epi-belt), I was horrified to see how much it would cost a new member to simply get a MedicAlert bracelet with the life-time membership fee, annual fee, and price of the bracelet.

However, as I also posted, if anyone does need information, Canadian specific again, if you cannot afford the life-time membership fee even, please contact me off-the-board as I do have some information and don't feel comfortable posting it here.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By tcperrine on Sat, 10-23-04, 03:06

Quote:Originally posted by Alternative to Mainstream:
[b]I was horrified to see how much it would cost a new member to simply get a MedicAlert bracelet with the life-time membership fee, annual fee, and price of the bracelet.
[/b]

Since you mentioned how expensive it now is, I had to go see for myself. I was horrified to see this quote from the mother of a peanut allergic child:

"I have told the school -- in an emergency, if Catherine goes into anaphylactic shock or has an asthma attack, you have to administer the Epi-pen or inhaler, call MedicAlert and then call 911."

MEDIC-ALERT and THEN 911?! What the heck is THAT!?!

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By on Mon, 10-25-04, 18:05

tcperrine, is that on the web-site? What page?

That is a waste of precious moments, and I honestly think we should inform medic-alert that NO - YOU ARE NOT ON THE PRIORITY LIST AT THE SCHOOL.

Past personal experience, when I called 911 for a neighbour (not allergy related, but was breathing difficulties) the person that I spoke to stayed on the phone with me, and gave me instruction of what to do to help the person while waiting for the ambulance. Is medic-alert saying they are capable of giving such directions?

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By on Mon, 10-25-04, 21:40

Pardon the pun, but is the woman nuts? I don't even know how many people who are wearing MedicAlert bracelets actually have MedicAlert called by ambulance personnel or hospital personnel. Perhaps it's a question to ask MedicAlert.

I do know that on the back of my son's bracelet certainly their hotline number is there, but I honestly don't know if medical personnel call MedicAlert once they've read the information on the bracelet or heard what someone else is telling them has happened. My son's bracelet clearly says, "severely allergic to peanuts, carries Epi-pen, has asthma".

And in instances where an ambulance would be being called for him, although I'm sure there are thousands more circumstances than PA, wouldn't someone be saying why the ambulance was being called? Or suspect why it was being called?

I can't say for sure because I have never transported my son to hospital in an ambulance when he has had a reaction, but I honestly don't think they call MedicAlert.

My instructions to the school are:-
Administer Epi-pen
Dial 911
Administer 2 Puffs Ventolin
Administer Epi-pen 15 minutes after first one if ambulance has not arrived.

I don't want the school calling MedicAlert first. For what? To get basically the same information that is on the back of his bracelet to begin with? That's ludicrous.

However, I have had a really bad day, once inch away from a nervous breakdown, so perhaps I should go do some dishes and take a deep breath.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Fri, 11-19-04, 02:29

Simply re-raising. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By leers on Fri, 11-19-04, 04:18

I guess I am not one of the lucky ones because I have to pay an annual fee. Fine. Well, I called them the other day because I need a new bracelet. It is only two years old and the chain is broken and the engraving on the back is worn off. The lady told me on the phone I was responsible and had to pay and that there was only a two year waranntee on the bracelet. (I am two months over 2 years). I explain that I have no problems paying for the chain but refuse to pay for the emblem to get reengraved and that that should be covered under my yearly fee. She argued with me and said send it in the mail and she could see what she can do. I am debating whether to renew his membership next year. I am very disappointed in Medic Alert.

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By on Fri, 11-19-04, 14:26

leers, I also don't think the bracelets are as good a quality as they used to be.

I have always been a very strong supporter of the *real* medic-alert. But, when my son needs a new one - I think I will be looking elsewhere.

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By leers on Fri, 11-19-04, 15:03

Well, just finished emailing Medic Alert in my response to my complaint about paying for the emblem to be engraved again. I feel really guilty for having to complain to a company that I know have done alot but I work hard for my money and shouldn't be expected to fork out more money each and every time. I will keep you posted on their response.

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By on Fri, 11-19-04, 16:18

I'm just sending in my order to-day for my son's new MedicAlert Epi-belt and a new MedicAlert bracelet.

His MedicAlert Epi-belt is three years and nearly three months old and it does need replaced - it is wearing through so that you can see the Epi-pen exposing. However, I still think that it is excellent quality, especially since it is made by zoni (or the one he has now was/is) and it's been on him daily for three years.

The bracelets are a whole other matter. In with my order to-day, I am enclosing his old bracelet. It is broken again. I wrote them a letter explaining that this was at least the third time that the link had broken and that it's quite obvious when you get a bracelet you have to get the links soldered by a jeweler. I don't think that's right.

leers, did you contact anyone in particular at MedicAlert re your concern and upset? I have the name of a woman I dealt with a few years ago when she wanted a MedicAlert "testimonial" from me - not sure if she's still even with them, but if you want to try e-mailing her personally with your complaint (very valid one), perhaps it would help? I don't know. Anyway, please let me know and I'll give you her name and e-mail address.

No, I think their bracelets are crappy. Last night we were looking at both the velcro and also the clip-in (almost like the Epi-belt) versions of the bracelet for my son rather than the regular one. What we did do was choose one with the clasp at the back rather than pulling on the one link that seems to keep going on us, mostly because we couldn't figure out what size to order or if his wrist was big enough for the clip-in one (we didn't want the Velcro - weren't sure how long it lasted).

I am extremely pleased with the MedicAlert Epi-belt. The bracelets are a whole other story though and I did say in my letter that a LOT of people are not pleased and now sourcing out bracelets that are of better quality. We'll see what happens.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By Naturemom on Fri, 11-19-04, 16:30

We received in the mail a flyer with the new medic alert dogtags. DS has always had the bracelet. Just wondering what everyone thought about them. They look sturdy and DS thinks that they look "cool". I seem to remember that there was a previous conversation about which the ems were most likely to recognize in an emergency.

So, my questions are:
1) Do you think that a necklace is safe for a very active 8 year old (as far as getting it caught on something)?

2) Will the emergency folk see it and know that it is a medic alert jewelry?

Thanks

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By leers on Fri, 11-19-04, 16:31

Yes, I would love a contact name because if this email doesn't work I need a next step. If you need my email address it is my profile. Thanks for helping me. I think it is so unfair that I AM paying a yearly fee and not everyone is and since I am paying then perhaps the service should be better. What the heck is the annual fee for then?? (I guess to pay for those that are excempt from paying).

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By on Fri, 11-19-04, 20:19

leers, I'll e-mail you later to-day.

No, your annual membership fee isn't to cover those who are exempt from paying the annual membership fee.

The annual membership fee only came into effect in Canada two years ago. If you purchased a membership to MedicAlert Canada previous to two years ago, it was considered a life-time membership (in the amount of $50.00).

It was my understanding in speaking with the rep when I wanted to clarify what I wanted to order for my son, that the annual membership fee was added on top of the lifetime membership fee because MedicAlert Canada, is, in fact, hurting for money. I don't know if that is true or not.

I do know that at the same time I was getting a lifetime membership fee for my son, my American friends were already paying an annual membership fee. Not clear about other countries.

If you do have a lifetime membership (and have paid the fee), like I have for my son, MedicAlert Canada would still *like* you to pay the annual membership fee on top of this.
However, because you had purchased a lifetime membership, they consider it a "donation" or something that you do from the goodness of your heart, if you can afford to.

No, everyone that became a member as a two years ago and up (if that makes sense) has to pay the annual membership fee and it is not because you are paying for people that are exempt.

Now, there are ways to become *exempt*, but that is a totally different story, which if you are interested I can tell you about off-the-board as well.

For example, my daughter *should* have a MedicAlert bracelet for her amoxicillin allergy and she would have to pay the annual membership fee because she is a new member (meaning from two years ago on).

I'm not saying that I agree with what I see as their change in policy. When I purchased my son's bracelet and membership 6 or 7 years ago, I didn't expect there to be an annual membership fee attached to it (at the time there wasn't), and really one does have to question what service they are providing that would warrant paying for an annual membership (but then again, my son hasn't required medical attention based solely on the information on his MedicAlert bracelet - if that makes sense).

I understand your frustration and anger, believe me.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Sun, 11-21-04, 03:08

leers, all he** broke loose in my house, which is wont to do on a Friday night. I just sent you an e-mail now. Hope it helps. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By leers on Sun, 11-21-04, 04:54

Thanks, got the email. I am going to wait until I get I response from my first email and see what happens. If I don't like the response I definitely will try your contact. Thank you so much again for your help...

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By leers on Tue, 11-23-04, 00:10

Yipee!!!! Got a response back from Medic Alert and all I have to pay for is the replacement for the chain ($21.95) and they will replace the emblem. I am glad. She told me that when I had the chain resized a couple of years ago they "tumble" the bracelet after being made and that, that process wears down the writing on the emblem. Sounds like they have to rethink their processing of their bracelets. All I know is that I am very pleased. Thank you too Cindy for helping me...

Pam

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By on Fri, 11-26-04, 04:57

Last Friday, I sent an order into MedicAlert for a new MedicAlert bracelet for Jess (we're trying one with the clasp at the back hoping it won't pull on the side links as much) and a MedicAlert Epi-belt.

I also sent them his broken MedicAlert bracelet with a letter indicating my displeasure at how easily they break and how I would like it replaced.

Well, to-day, less than a week later, we have the replacement bracelet.

I think it takes 4 - 6 weeks for me to get the other order, but I was quite pleased with how quickly they fixed the old bracelet.

Because Jess has had his MedicAlert Epi-belt on every day since time began, when his bracelet broke last year, and it would be probably a year ago at least, I hadn't sent it in for repair, so he hadn't been wearing one. I know that's a big no no and I'm just hoping that he won't have any difficulty getting used to wearing it again.

I am hoping the back clasp one is better at standing up link wise though.

So, some *good* things about MedicAlert. They didn't write me a letter or anything in response to mine. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Tue, 11-30-04, 20:21

Still thumbs up. MedicAlert Epi-belt arrived to-day, less than two weeks after I ordered it. Dammit, will check when I get back from the school and see if it is still made by zoni, sorry.

The new MedicAlert bracelet came yesterday and even though I had sent the old one in for repair and for them to use for sizing, it is too large and has to be sent back.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By on Tue, 11-30-04, 21:16

Yes, just checked as I strapped Jess' new Epi-belt on. They are still made by zoni for MedicAlert Canada.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By leers on Thu, 12-09-04, 21:51

Got my bracelet today. I am so excited. Fits perfectly....

Pam

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By on Mon, 11-21-05, 18:17

Simply re-raising. I need a link that Anna Marie posted and this will jog my memory.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------
"That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."

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By on Mon, 11-21-05, 18:30

Just re-read the whole thread for some strange reason. From my post dates, this means that the last Epi-Belt I purchased for my guy only lasted a year, compared to the previous one lasting just over three years. Hmmmmm.....

This one is cracked near the cover for the EpiPen, with the crack running along the tube of the belt (if that makes sense).

It is also quite worn.

I don't think my guy has really changed his moving around habits in the last year.

So, have to order a new one, but kinda not pleased that it's only been a year, if that. Although recognizing that yes, we are dealing with children. But if anything, he would have *settled* more in the last year.

I don't know if I'm making any sense or not. I'm simply surprised.

I guess I should make it an annual note that we replace the Epi-Belt.

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------
"That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."

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