If you are new to purchasing mobility products or other medical supplies for yourself or someone you are taking care of, you may run into this term, durable medical equipment. It is a term often used in referring to medical supplies. Yet what is it, what does it mean, and how does that term effect you? We are here to explain and help you understand what durable medical equipment is and many of the questions that go along with that term.
The Term Durable Medical Equipment Explained
Durable Medical Equipment (or DME) is a term used to describe non-disposable devices in the home that assist someone living with a medical condition. These pieces of medical equipment are the ones you use in your home in order to improve your quality of life. There is also disposable medical equipment. The difference between the two is whether the piece of medical equipment is to be used and disposed of or used long term. If you are, or your loved one is, on Medicare, it is important to note the two different classifications and understand which category the medical equipment falls under so you can understand Medicare’s role in coverage.
Why the classifications between Durable Medical Equipment and Disposable Medical Equipment.
The two terms are mainly used in regard to insurance companies and Medicare to help classify the types of medical equipment used and whether they should be covered.
Mobility Products and Durable Medical Equipment.
One of the most common Durable Medical Equipment suggested and prescribed by doctors is wheelchairs. If your doctor has determined that you need a wheelchair, then your insurance should cover part of the cost. Here at Bayshore Medical Supply in Pasadena, TX, we carry Medline wheelchairs in all sizes from 16″ through 24″ models and transport chairs that can be easily folded.
If you are looking at upgrading to a powerchair or mobility scooter, getting the cost covered by insurance may be a bit more difficult, as coverage depends on the individual’s needs and the intended use of the medical equipment. In many cases, they can only be covered if the device is going to be used in place of a wheelchair, and your doctor has deemed it medically necessary for you to have a powered mobility aid, based on your condition.
Other mobility products that are considered durable medical equipment include walkers, crutches, canes, and knee scooters. One thing to note about knee walkers and knee scooters, although Medicare benefits through Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) can cover the costs of renting or purchasing durable medical equipment (DME), a knee scooter does not meet the program’s requirements for Medicare Part B coverage. Medicare Advantage plan or dual-eligibility with Medicaid may offer additional coverage options that help with the cost of a knee-walker, but that depends on the individual insurance.
Other Medical Equipment Deemed as Durable Medical Equipment
- Traction Equipment
- Suction Pumps
- Sleep Apnea Devices (i.e., Continuous Positive Airway Pressure [CPAP] machines)
- Patient Lifts
- Oxygen tanks and accessories
- Infusion pumps and medical supplies to administer medications
- Hospital Beds
- Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machines
- Commode Chairs
- Glucose Monitors and Test Strips
- Support Surfaces (i.e., air-fluidized beds)
As you can see from the list, durable medical equipment covers a wide range of medical conditions and needs. For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the equipment necessary to monitor your condition—namely, blood glucose monitors and testing strips—would be considered DME. Nebulizers and CPAP machines are other examples that cover people with sleep apnea or asthma.
Durable Medical Equipment and Insurance.
For aging seniors and those with chronic conditions, Medicare or other private health insurance covers the majority of spending on durable and home medical equipment. According to medicare.gov, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers medically necessary DME if your doctor prescribes it for use in your home. In many cases it helps to get a prescription for your durable medical equipment though most can be purchased without a prescription with the exception of medical oxygen. The best way to know if the DME you are considering is covered is to check with your insurance.
If you have any further questions about the durable medical equipment or disposable medical equipment we carry, feel free to stop by at 4205 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77504, or call (713) 472-8585. Bayshore Medical Supply in Pasadena TX has a large supply of both durable medical equipment or disposable medical equipment and will be happy to answer any questions on the medical supplies we carry!