Supplies that do not qualify as durable medical equiptment (DME)
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Last Update: February 24, 2012
Medicare does not pay for all medical equipment. An item does not qualify as DME if it
- Must be thrown away after use (not durable) or it is expected to last less than 3 years, such as incontinence pads, catheters, surgical face masks and compression leggings.
- Medicare may cover some nondurable items such as lancets and test strips if you have diabetes. Medicare may cover some nondurable items as part of your treatment if you are receiving home health benefits.
- Is not appropriate for home use, like paraffin bath units and oscillating beds. These items are generally used under supervision in an institutional setting.
- Is to be used primarily outside of the home. For example, if you can walk on your own for short distances, enough to get around your house, Medicare will not cover a motorized scooter to get around outside.
- Is for convenience rather than medical use. This includes stairway elevators, grab bars, and bathtub and toilet seats. Anything that can technically be used by people who have no medical condition is not covered. Also, Medicare will not cover modifications to your home, such as those for improving wheelchair access, like installing ramps or widening doors.
- There are many products available to help people with physical limitations continue to live independently. While assistive devices and home modifications are generally not covered by Medicare, there are organizations that can point you to low-cost products and services.