Medical treatment often involves a number of approaches. For some people, a healthcare concern may require nothing more than lifestyle adjustments in order to resolve health issues. Other cases, however, may require the use of prescription medications, treatment, or even surgical intervention in order to resolve. Still, others may necessitate the use of durable medical equipment that is either purchased for permanent use or rented for temporary use.
What is considered durable medical equipment?
Durable medical equipment is typically considered to be healthcare equipment that has been prescribed by a physician to aid in improving health. Some examples of durable medical equipment may include wheelchairs, motorized scooters and continuous blood glucose monitors.
Does Medicare cover durable medical equipment and supplies?
Medicare covers durable medical equipment through Medicare Part B in most cases. This is the outpatient portion of Original Medicare, and most coverage is provided at 80%. This means that Medicare recipients are left to cover the remaining 20% on most items. There are exceptions, however, where Medicare covers durable medical equipment completely, but for most items, you can expect to pay 20% of the cost.
If a piece of durable medical equipment is supplied to a Medicare recipient while admitted to an inpatient facility, Medicare Part A will cover it instead. This is because Medicare Part A is inpatient coverage that provides benefits for services and treatment rendered during an inpatient stay.
If you are prescribed the use of durable medical equipment while admitted to a Medicare-participating facility and are instructed to use the equipment at home upon being released, Medicare Part B would once again go into effect to cover your outpatient usage of the equipment.
Does Medicare cover canes?
Although canes are not used as much these days to aid people with mobility concerns given that there are more effective methods available to correct trouble walking, canes are still prescribed by doctors and specialists. Original Medicare does cover canes as durable medical equipment under Medicare Part B, but there are some exceptions Medicare recipients should be aware of.
First, in order for a cane to be considered eligible for Medicare coverage, the use of a cane will need to be prescribed by a Medicare-participating physician. Next, the cane must come from a Medicare-approved supplier. This means that purchasing a cane on your own from the local department store or pharmacy will result in you being responsible for all costs. Finally, Original Medicare does not cover white walking canes for the blind as durable medical equipment.
Medicare Advantage and coverage for canes
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have some additional flexibility when acquiring a cane. In most cases, you will still need to be prescribed the use of a cane in order to receive coverage for the equipment purchase or rental, but a Medicare Advantage plan may provide more flexibility in your choice of supplier. Medicare coverage still comes from Part B if you are using a cane outside of an inpatient setting and Medicare Part A if you are prescribed the use of a cane while admitted to a hospital.
Additionally, your Medicare Advantage plan may supply additional benefits related to physical therapy to address your mobility concerns. These additional benefits may include exercise class memberships or nutritional counseling designed to address lifestyle matters that may affect mobility. To learn more about the additional benefits of a Medicare Advantage plan, contact your plan provider or work with an independent Medicare insurance broker.