Durable Medical Equipment Covered by Medicare Part B

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Top Takeaways 

  1. Medicare Part B coversDurable Medical Equipment (DME), such as glucose meters, crutches, hospital beds, and walkers, as long as they meet certain criteria
  2. In order for Medicare to pay for DME:
    • Make sure your DME supplier is enrolled in Medicare and has a supplier number
    • Ensure the suppliers agree to "accept assignment"
  3. In most cases, Medicare pays for DME on a rental basis

 

Intro

 

If your doctor has prescribed assistive equipment such as a walker, cane, wheelchair, or crutches, you may be wondering whether Medicare will cover the cost. You’ll be happy to know the answer is yes, Medicare Part B (the medical insurance part of Medicare) covers what is known as durable medical equipment (DME) as long as it fits these criteria:

  • Durable (able to withstand repeated use)
  • Used for a medical reason
  • Not usually useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured
  • Used in your home or a long-term care facility
  • Generally has an expected lifetime of at least three years

 

Some DME That Medicare Covers 

 

Paying for Durable Medical Equipment

  1. Make sure your DME supplier is enrolled in Medicare and has a supplier number

    In order to enroll and remain enrolled in Medicare, suppliers must meet strict standards.

    • If your supplier is not enrolled, Medicare will not pay your DME claim. 
    • Those who do not participate can charge you as much as they want because they’re not subject to Medicare’s cost limitations. 

  2. Participating suppliers agree to “accept assignment”

    • This means participating suppliers can charge you only the coinsurance and Part B deductible for the Medicare‑approved amount. 
    • If your supplier accepts assignment, you pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after you pay the Part B deductible for the year. 

  3. In most cases, Medicare pays for DME on a rental basis

    • Medicare only buys inexpensive or routinely purchased items such as canes, walkers, and blood sugar monitors, or complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs
    • For some more expensive equipment, like wheelchairs and hospital beds, Medicare pays to rent the item for 13 months of continuous use.
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