North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

Health

September 30, 2010

Medical equipment can be a necessity

(Continued)

COMMENTARY — Costs of durable

medical equipment


Many items of durable medical equipment are inexpensive, and can be purchased easily from specialty stores and online providers.  They can provide useful items that enable a patient to carry out everyday functions around the home. For example, grab rails can be fitted to steps, bathrooms and bedsides to provide additional assistance when moving around and getting up and down from a sitting or lying position. These are easy to purchase and can be installed by a professional fitter or someone who is good at installation. Such products can even be found at home improvement stores like Lowes. Just don’t try to use your Blue Cross Blue Shield card at the register.

More specialized forms of durable medical equipment such as hearing aids and prosthetics will need to be obtained through your healthcare provider in most cases, and will require a number of fittings and adjustments, and also ongoing maintenance and servicing. These specialty items can be very expensive, but the benefits they can bring to the patient are vast and they can significantly improve quality of life in assisting the patient to become more independent in the home and when traveling.

Because durable medical equipment can be so beneficial and useful, it is important to check your health insurance and see if you are covered for any of the costs.  It can get expensive, especially if you need it on a long term basis. Medicare does provide some financial support for durable medical equipment that has been recommended or prescribed by your healthcare advisor, but you may be restricted in using one of the authorized suppliers and this can mean long delays in sourcing and ordering the equipment you need. Also Medicare, like many insurance companies, may not pay the full cost of the items you need and instead only cover part of the cost, particularly for very expensive equipment or that which needs regular replacements or servicing.  

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