About half of Americans over age 65 struggle with incontinence. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for adult diapers, pads, or most other incontinence supplies. These supplies are also not covered by Medicare Supplement plans.
Medicare Coverage for Incontinence Supplies
There are a few exceptions:
- Medicare will pay for incontinence supplies needed while you are an inpatient at a hospital. It will also pay for supplies if you are in a skilled nursing facility and your stay is covered by Medicare – such as if you are in a rehabilitation center after surgery.
- Medicare does not usually pay for catheters used at home, but if you are having home health care, they may be paid for as part of your home health care benefit.
- Some Medicare Advantage plans may have coverage for incontinence supplies. Medicare Advantage is a private insurance alternative to traditional Medicare, and some plans offer extra benefits not found in traditional Medicare.
Incontinence supplies are not covered because Medicare views them the same way as other disposable supplies you use at home, such as band-aids and gauze.
Options for Paying for Incontinence Supplies
Incontinence isn’t just common – it’s expensive. Depending on the brand you buy and how many you need, you can expect to spend anywhere from $50 to $250 a month on adult diapers. If you’re on a fixed income, that can really stretch your budget. There are a few ways to bring the cost down or get help paying.
- Medicaid, the government health insurance program for low-income individuals, will pay for incontinence supplies. If your income and assets qualify you for Medicaid as well as Medicare, your diaper costs will be covered.
- Watch for sales at local stores and online and stock up when you find a bargain. Wholesale clubs may also have low prices on large quantities of incontinence supplies.
- Keep your receipts. You may be able to deduct the cost of incontinence supplies as a medical expense on your tax return.
Types and Causes of Incontinence
There are several types of urinary incontinence.
- Stress incontinence means you leak urine because your pelvic floor muscles are weak. In women, this often occurs because of childbirth. In men, stress incontinence often happens after prostate surgery. Medications and obesity can also cause stress incontinence.
- An overactive bladder gives you an urgent need to go to the bathroom – and sometimes you don’t make it in time. An overactive bladder is caused by muscle and/or nerve damage, and can be a side effect of many conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, stroke and multiple sclerosis.
- Overflow incontinence means you dribble urine because you are unable to empty your bladder. Several conditions can cause overflow incontinence, including an enlarged prostate, tumors, medication, weak bladder muscles, nerve damage and constipation.
- Functional incontinence means you have trouble getting to the bathroom in time. It can be a result of conditions that affect thinking or mobility, such as arthritis or dementia.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of any two types of incontinence.
If you are suffering from incontinence, it is important to get evaluated by a doctor. There are effective treatments for many cases of incontinence, and a doctor can identify other health conditions that may be causing or contributing to your incontinence. As long as your doctor takes Medicare, your visits to treat incontinence are covered under Medicare Part B.
Get Help Finding Medicare Coverage
Having the right Medicare coverage can save you thousands of dollars each year. MedicareFAQ helps you understand your options and find the best value on Medicare Supplement Plans. Call us or fill out our form to get started with a free quote.