Whether you are managing a health condition or recovering from an operation, you might need durable medical equipment. Furthermore, Durable Medical Equipment, or DME, is a health care device that helps the elderly and/or disabled person do daily activities easily, and includes items like wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds among others. Just like medication, your doctor will write a prescription for the equipment you need. You can usually choose to rent or purchase it. However, before you pay, it’s a good idea to make sure your Medicare plan covers it.
What does durable medical equipment have to do with Medicare?
Durable medical equipment is a term that is used by Medicare to describe medical items that the government program will pay for. Furthermore, this includes equipment that is primarily used to serve some sort of medical purpose and that is to be used in the home. The word durable is used in the phrase because the medical supplies also need to be suitable for repeated use. So, while the quality of the product may not be a primary consideration, the medical equipment cannot be a consumable if you want Medicare to pay for the equipment.
What type of durable medical equipment does Medicare cover?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance) covers durable medical equipment, as long as it is medically necessary and for use in your home. Furthermore, only your doctor can prescribe durable medical equipment for you. Listed below are the types of durable medical equipment covered by Medicare.
2. Hospital beds
5. Commode chairs
6. Power scooters
Medicare Part B also covers other types of durable medical equipment under Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) category. Some of these include.
1. Prosthetics, like artificial legs, arms and eyes
2. Prosthetic devices that replace all or part of an internal bodily organ
3. Orthotics, like rigid or semi-rigid leg, arm, back and neck braces
In addition, Medicare also covers certain prescription medications and supplies that you use with your DME, even if they are disposable or can be only used once. For instance, Medicare covers medication used with nebulizers. Furthermore, Medicare also covers lancets as well as test strips used with diabetes self-testing equipment.
How to know if the medical equipment qualifies for Medicare coverage?
While Medicare covers different types of durable medical equipment, to qualify for the coverage the equipment must meet certain requirements. To qualify for the Medicare coverage, the equipment must be.
1. Prescribed by a doctor, a nurse practitioner or another primary care professional
2. Medically necessary for you- not just convenient
3. Reusable and likely to last for at least 3 years or more
4. Provided by suppliers that Medicare has approved
5. Appropriate for use within the house
For those who can receive Medicare, it can be an important tool for getting medical equipment. Many would not be able to afford it otherwise and Medicare can help in getting many types of durable medical equipment without spending a fortune.