As you age, certain medical equipment may be necessary. If you use durable medical equipment (DME) and/or medical supplies which assist you in your daily functions, those items may be covered by Medicare Part B. Be aware that Medicare covers the basic model of that equipment. If you want to add on expensive upgrades, you typically will have to pay for any extra charges. What Medical Equipment is Covered by Medicare?
Some DME items must be purchased and other items can be rented. Generally, after 13 months of renting equipment, you will be able to own it. However, although oxygen equipment is always rented, you cannot purchase it. See below for a list of DME equipment and supplies that are covered when medically necessary:
There are special rules for items that are more expensive, some examples are below:
Wheelchairs: Your healthcare provider’s order should indicate the following:
Please note that some states have additional rules and required forms for wheelchairs and scooters. Check with your doctor to be sure you follow those rules.
You must get your DME from a Medicare-approved supplier. Both Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans have approved lists of suppliers. To find them in your area, go to the supplier directory at www.medicare.gov/supplierdirectory/search.html. You will need to use suppliers that are “approved” by your plan – either original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
Medigap plans will also cover DME if Medicare approves it. It will be covered as a normal Part B charge – the Medicare Part B deductible will apply if you have a Medigap plan that does not cover the deductible. But after that Medicare and the Medigap plan should cover your costs in full for covered equipment.
After suppliers submit their bids to provide certain DME and supplies in competitive bidding areas, an amount is agreed upon by Medicare for payment of each item. Medicare contract suppliers are selected from the suppliers with winning bids.
If you have questions about what Medicare will or will not cover, it is best to contact Medicare directly before agreeing to pursue purchasing or renting any equipment. You can find some information on Medicare’s website or by calling them at 1-800-MEDICARE.
Senior.com does not accept Medicare. However, our customers regularly get prior approval from Medicare for DME products and then submit the receipt with proper paperwork for reimbursement to Medicare.
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Garrett is the founder/President of Secure Medicare Solutions, a leading, independent Medicare insurance agency. Since 2007, Garrett has worked with tens of thousands of people turning 65 or already on Medicare to understand, compare and choose Medicare insurance that fits their specific needs and situation.
His latest project is 65Medicare.org, an online hub for people just starting with Medicare, which is focused on distilling difficult Medicare questions into easy-to-understand resources.
Garrett resides in North Carolina with his lovely wife, Celeste, and three spirited children.View All Articles