Friday, November 25, 2011

Paying for Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies

During the holiday season, we often think about families being together in their homes. Helping our aging loved ones remain in their homes often means that purchasing special medical equipment. Funds for the purchase of durable medical equipment and supplies come from a variety of sources, including Medicare, Medicaid and other private insurance companies. The Veterans Administration and non-governmental organizations such as non-profits and foundations also provide assistance to many.

There are lesser known programs that can help as well. For example, many items of durable medical equipment can also be considered to be "assistive technology". All 50 states have Assistive Technology Programs that provide various types of assistance with the purchase, fitting and lending of assistive technology devices. There is also a nationwide network of approximately 500 Independent Living Centers that offer expertise and experience, if not financial assistance, to persons seeking to remain living in their homes instead of in skilled nursing facilities.

To minimize out-of-pocket costs, it is important to know the benefits and processes for purchasing home medical equipment using insurance and the limitations of insurance coverage. Often, an individual or their caregivers desire an item of medical equipment that provides comfort but is considered beyond what is "medically necessary". Since these items are not considered medically necessary, often insurance such as Medicare will decline to pay for the item. Knowing Medicare's upgraded durable medical equipment process will enable individuals to receive partial assistance for the purchase of these items instead of receiving an outright denial for the claim.

Finally, should it be necessary for an individual to pay out-of-pocket the full cost of an item of durable medical equipment, there are ways to save money. We explore the pros and cons and cost savings associated with purchasing used home medical equipment, renting home medical equipment and using online marketplaces for medical equipment.

One can explore all these topics and learn other ways to pay for or reduce the cost of medical equipment and caring for the elderly on our website.