Senior Care – Medical Equipment And Supplies

Purchasing Senior Care Medical Equipment And Supplies

Seniors who require health supplies and medical equipment usually depend on their insurance plan to make such purchases. There are private plans and public plans.

Those that are fortunate enough to have private eldercare insurance will usually be provided with a complete listing of covered and non-covered items and you should refer to the specific guidelines in your insurance company coverage list.

Medicare

Medicare Part B covers durable medical equipment (DME) and medical supplies at 80%, although it’s possible that a Medicare Supplement (Medigap plan) will cover some or all of the additional 20%. In order to obtain these items, a doctor must order them for the senior and they must be deemed medically necessary for the senior to maintain his independence.

Medicare will only cover the items if they’re obtained from a medical equipment company that is a contracted provider – there is no mechanism for the items to be purchased from a big box store or from a private party. That’s unfortunate, because the program could save millions of dollars on the items if they were to expand their provider base. It’s possible to find wheelchairs and other equipment for sale in thrift stores and at garage sales for substantially less than the copayment Medicare requires.

Equipment On A Temporary Basis

For seniors who require the equipment on a temporary basis, Medicare will pay the rental cost. However, if it becomes cheaper for Medicare to purchase the items outright, Medicare buys the item for the senior. This is true for most equipment except for oxygen concentrators – Medicare pays a rental amount to the equipment company for 3 years, after which the company is required to support the customer for an additional two years for free.

Typical Types Of Durable Medical Equipment

Blood glucose monitors
Crutches
Canes
Wheelchairs
Front-wheel walkers
Four-wheel walkers
Bedside commodes
Home oxygen equipment and supplies
Suctioning Pumps
Wound Vac’s and supplies
Hospital beds
Infusion pumps and some medicines used in them
Lymphedema pumps
Patient lifts
Traction equipment
Prosthesis, including diabetic shoes

Types of Medical Supplies 

Pumps and supplies for feeding tubes
IV pumps and supplies
Arm braces, leg braces, neck & back braces
Splints and casts
Surgical dressings
Diabetic supplies, including glucose monitors, test strips, and lancets.

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