How to choose a medical alert provider

Imagine this scenario:

Medical alert bracelets do not have to be ugly!You are rushed to the emergency room, unable to give the triage nurse your medical history. You are unconscious and/or have been found alone and unaccompanied by anyone who knows the details of your medical history.  Emergency response personnel has to make decisions to save you.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they could access your medical allergies and history from a simple and practical device you can wear all the time?

Adverse drug reactions and misdiagnosis are a serious risk when the pressure is on.  There are many medical alert devices and companies on the market, but Medic Alert is probably the most popular- plus it has been around for quite awhile.

Emergency responders and clinicians need a simple way to get more information about you, that’s why they check for the famous, body worn MedicAlert Emblem.
They know your vital information comes directly from your doctor so they can trust it and act on it immediately.

Dr Marion Collins founded this popular company in 1956 and it has been saving lives for over 50 years. Now MedicAlert® is leading the way with Electronic Health Records that ensure your most up to date health information is always accessible in an emergency.  MedicAlert® alerts first responders and emergency health care providers to your vital medical information through your custom emblem and electronically through your MedicAlert® Patient Vitals – Electronic Health Record.

The following information will help you make the right decision when choosing the best medical alert provider. We hope that you will find this information useful in your search for the right medical alert provider. Obtaining the right medical alert system is crucial for your security and peace of mind.

  • Be wary of advance pre-payment requirements (3 – 24 months).

You will notice that there are providers who advertise that no long-term contract is required, yet will require a 3 month minimum service period. Before agreeing to anything, always ask what your obligation will be.

  • Low pricing should not be your only criteria for a medical alert system.
  • Reputable providers cannot offer you proper medical alert service below market rates.

This being said, don’t pay $50 a month just because a company has a name you think you recognize or some celebrity endorses their product. (Remember, these endorsers are paid with your money).

  • Understand the cancellation policy.

You never know when you may no longer need your medical alert service. Find out what your obligations are and if there are any fees that you need to pay if you cancel early, including return shipping on your medical alarm console.

  • Use a provider that operates its own monitoring center…most outsource this process.

The outsourcing of medical alert monitoring is quite common because most providers cannot afford the expense of having their own facility. You want management staff to oversee the quality of service, which is nearly impossible to do when you outsource to a third party. Only companies that have their own monitoring center can perform these critical self-evaluations.

  • Find out what people are saying about the company. Check for customer testimonials and read them.
  • Ask about the training process for operators.

It’s all about the service. In the case of an emergency, you will want qualified Care Specialists to assist you when every second counts. Always ask what type of staff training is provided.

  • Will there be 24/7 customer & technical support? Most medical alert providers have limited customer service hours.

What happens if you are having difficulty using the system? Or perhaps you have questions about your service? Make sure to ask if the medical alert company has a 24/7-customer support line available in addition to monitoring service.

  • Ask them how long they have been in business.

Experience is extremely important. Dealing with someone who has been in the life safety monitoring business a short time is ill advised.

  • Make sure your system includes repair & replacement service.
  • Is the monitoring center UL listed?

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) listed is the recognized standard for all monitoring centers. The UL listing is a sign that the facility continues to meet the high standards of UL. If the monitoring center that you are considering is not UL listed, you would be well advised to not consider them as an option.

  • Does the system automatically test itself every week?

This is one of the most important functions you have to check. The console should send a silent signal to the monitoring facility on a weekly basis, reporting that your medical alert system is connected and functioning.

For a comparison of medical alert companies click here


About Elder Care Advice blog

Get professional elder care giving advice, advocacy, education and tips for those who care for and about the frail elderly at the ElderCareAdvice blog. We are generously sponsored by Most posts are written by Cathleen V. Carr, unless attributed otherwise. We welcome relevant submissions. Submit your article and by-line for publishing consideration (no promises!) to Havi at, our own editor who will ensure submissions are given the best possible treatment and polish before publication, ensuring a professional level of publication. There is a nominal service fee involved ($45). Allow up to 30 days for publishing.
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