Today in the United States, more seniors are staying at home and taking advantage of home health care services. Staying in the home with outside care coming in, helps them feel more comfortable, independent, and emotionally well.
Studies show that when surgery patients receive home health care instead of a hospital or skilled nursing care, they recover faster. This is probably because they are in a familiar environment and surrounded by family members and friends. These studies also show that recovery at home helps prevent exposure to germs commonly found in hospitals and nursing facilities.
If you plan to stay at home to recover from injury, illness, or surgery; or if you’re caring for a senior who is aging at home, you may need suitable equipment like a hospital bed to make caregiving easier.
Hospital beds that are designed for home care have special features that a regular bed doesn’t have. You can adjust the head, back, and leg areas for the patient’s comfort, and you can move it around easily. Hospital beds also have special mattresses that are comfortable and protected, and they are easier to get in and out of.
If you need a hospital bed at home, Medicare Part B durable medical equipment benefits can help you cover the cost, here’s a look at how.
Do your Medicare benefits cover hospital beds?
Medicare classifies hospital beds and their mattresses as durable medical equipment, which is covered by Part B – outpatient medical insurance.
To qualify for this benefit, your health care provider (who accepts Medicare assignment) must certify that the equipment is medically necessary to treat a condition or to make the condition easier to manage. You must also purchase or rent the hospital bed and mattress from a medical supplier who also accepts Medicare assignment, and the bed (plus mattress) must qualify as durable medical equipment.
To qualify as durable medical equipment (DME), the hospital bed and mattress must be certified as being essential for the patient’s care. For example, to relieve pressure, pain, or to make home care easier. Furthermore, the bed and mattress must meet the following Medicare criteria:
- It is strictly for medical use
- It can withstand repeated use
- It is useful to an ill or injured patient
- It is used in the patient’s residence
- It has a life expectancy of at least three years
If the qualifications are met, Original Medicare Part B pays 80 percent of the final approved cost to rent or purchase the hospital bed and mattress. You are responsible for the remaining 20 percent after meeting your Part B annual deductible.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, you are guaranteed to have, at minimum, the same coverage as you’d have from Original Medicare Parts A and B. This means that if you meet Medicare’s qualification requirements for durable medical equipment coverage, your Part C plan must cover it.
However, depending on the type of Part C plan you have, you may be required to rent or purchase your hospital bed and mattress from a medical supplier that is within your plan’s network of providers.
Your out-of-pocket charges for rental or purchase vary according to how much your plan charges as coinsurance. You can find this information on your printed policy, your provider’s website, or by calling and asking a representative.