Durable Medical Equipment for the Elderly

Most people think of medical supplies that provide some type of therapeutic benefit when they hear the words durable medical equipment. The term started with the federal government when determining Medicare benefits but has now become a generic term used by all insurances and medical providers for items that provide a therapeutic benefit.

Durable medical equipment or DME can consist of equipment that is primarily used to serve some sort of purpose and can be reused such as CPAP or BiPAP machines for treating sleep apnea, wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, lifts, crutches, and much more.

Basically, anything that is medically necessary which can be reused in order to help a person with an illness, disorder, or injury. Consumable items such as bandages or gloves are not considered durable medical equipment.

Some durable medical equipment such as a CPAP or BiPAP machine requires a written prescription from your doctor for insurance to cover the expense. Other equipment such as crutches does not require a prescription to purchase, but it may require a prescription for insurance to cover the cost.

Each insurance company has their own rules concerning coverage for durable medical equipment. Some insurance companies may pay 100% of the cost while others pay only 80%. It is important to look at your insurance policy to determine how much your portion of the cost will be.

In some instances, patients may be able to rent DME. In fact, some equipment is rented initially, and then after a period of time, the equipment belongs to you.

The majority of durable medical equipment is purchased by seniors age 65 and over through their Medicare insurance or supplemental insurance.

Durable medical equipment is important in the health and management of the elderly. If you think you need medical equipment, talk to your doctor. Your doctor can provide you with the necessary prescription or paper for your insurance to pay the majority of the cost.

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