There are certain kinds of durable medical equipment (DME) and supplies that Medicare does not cover, including the following:
- Equipment mainly intended to help you outside the home. For example, if you can walk on your own for short distances–enough to get around your house–Medicare does not cover a motorized scooter that you only need outside the home.
- Most items intended only to make things more convenient or comfortable. This includes stairway elevators, grab bars, air conditioners, and bathtub and toilet seats.
- Items that get thrown away after use or that are not used with equipment. For example, Medicare does not cover incontinence pads, catheters, surgical facemasks, or compression leggings. However, if you receive home health care, Medicare pays for some disposable supplies–including intravenous supplies, gauze, and catheters–as part of your home health care benefit.
- Note: Catheters may be covered as prosthetics if you have a permanent condition.
- Modifications to your home, such as ramps or widened doors for improving wheelchair access.
- Equipment that is not suitable for use in the home. This includes some types of DME used in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), like paraffin bath units and oscillating beds.
Keep in mind that Medicaid may cover some forms of equipment that Medicare will not cover.
To find out if Medicare covers the equipment or supplies you need, or to find a DME supplier in your area, call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov. You can also learn about Medicare coverage of DME by contacting your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).