If you have Original Medicare and need DME, it is important to know that Medicare will either pay for you to rent or to buy your DME from a supplier.

Whether or not Medicare requires you to rent or buy equipment, or allows you a choice of doing either, depends on the kind of equipment you need.

For example, Medicare requires that you rent certain types of equipment, including power and manual wheelchairs. On the other hand, Medicare requires you to buy certain items that are made to fit you. Finally, Medicare allows you a choice to rent or buy certain items, such as certain power wheelchairs, items costing less than $150 and parenteral/enteral infusion pumps.

Keep in mind that most equipment Medicare covers is rented. If you rent your DME, it is important to know Medicare will help you pay a monthly rental fee for the item, for up to 13 months. After 13 months, you will automatically own the equipment. Oxygen equipment has different rules for rental.

If you live in a competitive bidding area and the item you need is included in the demonstration, you must use a contract supplier to rent the equipment. If you started renting your equipment before the program started in your area, you may be able to stay with your current supplier under certain conditions. If you do not live in a competitive bidding area, make sure you are aware of the best practices for keeping costs down.