How Does Medicare Cover Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?

Durable medical equipment (DME) is a type of medical equipment or supplies that can be used daily or for an extended period—typically longer than disposable products.

It’s designed to help those who need assistance with daily activities, such as getting dressed and bathing or protecting against falls. In addition to helping people with disabilities, DME may also be used by individuals recovering from an illness or injury.

Original Medicare and private health insurance plans typically cover DME. In some cases, the equipment may be provided at no cost to those who qualify for Medicaid or other government programs.

It’s important to check with your healthcare provider or insurance company before purchasing any DME to ensure it will be covered.

How Do You Qualify for DME?

You must have a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional to obtain DME. The prescription must state the type of equipment needed, the reason for the equipment, and the intended duration of use.

Once you have the prescription, you can contact your insurance provider to verify coverage and obtain the equipment or device.

Types of DME Medicare Covers

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers various Durable Medical Equipment.

Here are some examples of the equipment that falls under Medicare coverage:

  • Air-Fluidized Bed: An adjustable hospital bed for use at home if you have certain conditions.
  • Blood Sugar Monitors and Diabetes Supplies: Equipment and supplies for people with diabetes.
  • Crutches: Devices to assist in movement if you have a mobility issue.
  • Home Oxygen Equipment & Supplies: Necessary equipment for people who need additional oxygen.
  • Hospital Beds: Beds specially designed for people with certain medical conditions.
  • Wheelchairs and Scooters: Equipment for people who need assistance moving around.

This list is not exhaustive, and coverage can vary widely. Always check with Medicare or your insurance provider for specific coverage information.

Types Of DME Medicare Does Not Cover

While Medicare does cover a wide range of DME, certain items are typically not covered.

Here are some examples:

  • Hearing Aids: Equipment used to amplify sound for individuals with hearing impairment.
  • Fitness/Exercise Equipment: Items such as treadmills or stationary bicycles.
  • Over-the-counter Devices: Devices that can be purchased without a prescription, such as over-the-counter back braces.
  • Personal Comfort Items: Items for personal comfort, including stair lifts and home elevators.
  • Toiletry Items: Items like toilet seats, commodes, or bath chairs.
  • Cosmetic Devices: Items such as cosmetic prostheses.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and coverage can vary. Always check with Medicare or your insurance provider for specific coverage information.

Benefits of DME

DME offers numerous benefits to seniors and individuals with disabilities. It helps them maintain their independence, promotes better health, and enhances their overall quality of life.

With the right equipment, individuals can efficiently perform daily activities, go about their jobs, and participate in social gatherings without relying on anyone else.

How Much Does Medicare Pay For DME?

The cost of DME can vary depending on the type of equipment needed and the coverage from Medicare or private insurance.

Generally, Medicare pays 80% of the approved cost after you’ve met your deductible. Check with your provider to determine what coverage is available for the specific item you need.

Bottom Line

DME plays a crucial role in the quality of life for seniors and individuals with disabilities. Whether it’s walking aids, respiratory equipment, or mobility scooters, this equipment helps individuals maintain their independence and live life on their terms.

If you or a loved one requires DME, have a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider and choose the equipment that best fits your needs. With the right DME, leading a healthy and active life is possible.



  • Who can get DME?

    Anyone with a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider can get DME. It is important to consult with the doctor or specialist first before getting any equipment.

Mark Prip

Since 2003, Mark Prip has been leading  Policy Guide, Inc., providing knowledgeable information about Medicare, life insurance, and dental coverage to clients in over forty states. With his unparalleled hands-on experience aiding countless Medicare beneficiaries in selecting an appropriate health plan, he is a prime example amongst other competitors for expertise and assistance. Mark has held his Florida Health & Life Insurance License (E051889) since 2003. View his license profile on the Florida Department of Insurance website.