A medical alert necklace (or medic alert necklace) is a wearable device that can provide information about you to first responders or call for help in the event of an emergency.
Medical alert necklaces come in 2 different forms. The first is similar to a traditional necklace—it’s a piece of jewelry that you wear around your neck. What makes it an alert necklace is that it is engraved with your ID and important medical information. So it can communicate key health details to first responders in the event that you’re unable to.
The second type of medical alert necklace is an electronic signalling device that you wear around your neck, rather than a piece of engraved metal. This type of medical alert necklace has a button that you can push to call for help, even when you don’t have a phone nearby. Some emergency alert necklace models can even detect a fall and call for help automatically.
Medical alert necklaces can be used by anyone with a medical condition that might affect how they’re treated during an emergency. That includes people with:
Many seniors and people with mobility impairments also wear medical alert necklaces. Using a medical alert necklace for seniors can enable you to call for help in the event that you fall and can’t get up.
Some healthy young people also use medical alert necklaces to identify themselves in case of an accident. For example, many athletes wear a medalert necklace so that their close contacts can be notified of their condition and whereabouts in case they suffer an unexpected medical emergency.
How an emergency necklace works depends on whether it’s simply an engraved piece of jewelry or an electronic signalling device.
Engraved medical alert necklaces are designed to share information with medical responders when you’re unable to. They can include all your medical details right on the necklace, or they can provide your ID number on an online medical database. By wearing a health alert necklace, you can enable first responders to quickly identify what’s happening to you. That means getting not only faster treatment but also treatment that’s specific to your medical needs.
Emergency alert necklaces that can call for help on your behalf work differently. These necklaces may be GPS-enabled and typically have a button that you can press to connect to a 24/7 monitoring center. This type of alert necklace is most useful in the event that you suffer a fall and can’t get up, or have a medical emergency and can’t reach a phone. The monitoring center can dispatch a medical team to your location and provide details about your health history to medics before they arrive.
The first thing to consider when buying a medical alert necklace is what type of necklace you need. If your primary goal is to communicate an underlying condition to medical personnel in the event of an emergency, an engraved alert necklace might make the most sense for you. On the other hand, seniors concerned about falling may need an emergency alert necklace that’s connected to a 24/7 monitoring center.
Another thing to think about is how comfortable a particular medical alert necklace will be to wear. After all, for a medical alert necklace to do its job properly, you need to wear it all the time. Most necklace chains can be changed over time, but consider whether the necklace you’re choosing will be suitable to wear in a wide variety of situations.
Check out our chart above to compare the best medical alert necklaces. We cover a wide variety of different options so you can find the alert necklace that best suits your needs.
Medical alert necklaces can range widely in price depending on the type of alert necklace you need. Engraved necklaces have a one-time cost that can be less than $20 for basic models, or more than $100 for highly stylized necklaces that double as upscale jewelry. You may also pay extra—around $25 to $75 per year—if you host your medical records online to make them accessible to first responders.
And emergency necklace for seniors that includes 24/7 monitoring typically has an initial cost for the alert necklace itself, plus an ongoing subscription cost. The subscription cost can be $20 to $60 per month depending on which service you use.
Unfortunately, Medicare will not cover a medical alert necklace for seniors. However, you may be able to offset part of the subscription cost for a medical alert necklace for seniors with a Medicare Advantage plan.