Does Medicare Cover Hospital Beds?
Medicare will cover a home hospital bed as durable medical equipment so long as your doctor determines it is a medical necessity. You will still be responsible for your Medicare Part B deductible and coinsurance under Medicare.
Does Medicare Cover Home Hospital Beds?
Medicare Part B medical insurance will cover a home hospital bed if your doctor prescribes it as a medical necessity for you. You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B but will still be responsible for some out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare classifies home hospital beds as durable medical equipment (DME).
- Durable — must be able to withstand repeated use
- Not typically used by someone who is not sick or injured
- The equipment typically has a life expectancy of at least three years
- Used for a medical condition
- Used in your home
Be sure to check with your doctor, supplier and Medicare to make sure the bed you are buying or renting is covered and that your doctor and supplier are both enrolled in Medicare.
If they are not, Medicare will not pay any claims they submit, and you may have to pay all costs yourself.
Medicare may require you to buy the bed, rent it or give you a choice between buying or renting. You’ll have to follow Medicare’s direction before it will cover costs associated with the bed.
Your Costs Under Medicare
If you meet eligibility criteria for a home hospital bed, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the cost. You will have to pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost after you pay your Medicare Part B deductible.
A Medigap — Medicare Supplement insurance — policy may help pay for some of your out-of-pocket costs. Check with your Medigap plan’s administrator for complete details.
A Medicare Advantage plan is required to cover everything Original Medicare — Medicare Part A and Part B — covers. But it may cover more of the cost than Medicare Part B.
Coverage varies from plan to plan, so you should check with your Medicare Advantage plan administrator to determine your coverage. You should also make sure that your plan will cover a bed from your supplier.
Renting vs. Buying a Home Hospital Bed
A home hospital bed can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the type and its features. Depending on the cost, Medicare may opt to pay for renting a bed — or may give you the choice to rent it.
Medicare often applies this option for more expensive durable medical equipment.
If you rent a home hospital bed, you would rent it for 13 months. During this time, the supplier is required to perform all maintenance and repairs the bed may require.
After 13 months, you would own the bed outright.
Financial Assistance for Home Hospital Beds
There are several sources of financial assistance available for people who may have a difficult time paying their share of a needed home hospital bed under Medicare.
- Medicaid is a joint state and federal program with each state setting and administering its own programs. These have to operate within federal guidelines. You have to meet requirements of limited income and resources to be eligible for Medicaid, but you can be enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare at the same time — something called dual eligibility. You can contact your state Medicaid office for more information.
- Other state funded programs
- Other programs vary from state to state, but your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to tell you if there are programs available where you live.
- Tax deductions and credits
- You may be able to take a tax deduction for the purchase of a home hospital bed and other durable medical equipment. However, this is usually available only in the year you purchase the DME. You should talk with your tax advisor about whether this is an option for you.
- VA and other veterans’ benefits
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tricare for Life (TFL) will cover your 20 percent Medicare coinsurance if you have both TFL and Medicare Part B. There are also several other veterans programs available that may be able to provide assistance for hospital beds and other DME. CHAMPVA offers benefits to the surviving spouse or child of veterans who have died. Veteran-Directed Care and the Aid and Attendance program are other options through the VA.
You may also find local nonprofit organizations or charities that may help with financial assistance. Talk to your religious community leaders or contact your local United Way office about charities in your area that might help.
4 Cited Research Articles
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020, August). Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment and Other Devices. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11045-Medicare-Coverage-of-DME.PDF
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Coverage. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/durable-medical-equipment-dme-coverage
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Hospital Beds. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/hospital-beds
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). National Coverage Determination (NCD) Hospital Beds (280.7). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/ncd-details.aspx?NCDId=227