If you or a loved one need a bedside commode, your first thought may be whether you can afford one. How expensive are they? Does insurance cover medical commodes?
In this article, we’ll answer those questions and discuss whether Medicare or Medicaid covers all or part of a bedside commode.
What Are Bedside Commodes, and Who Needs One?
Bedside commodes are portable toilets that are usually placed next to a person’s bed. They resemble a small chair with a toilet seat and a bowl underneath that can be removed and cleaned after the commode is used.
Medical commodes are ideal for the elderly or those with disabilities who are confined to their bedroom or have difficulty making it to the bathroom in another part of the home. They may struggle to make a longer walk because they have a higher risk of falling due to a medical injury or age. People with limited mobility because of a recent injury can also benefit from a bedside commode.
What Is Medicaid?
Many people often get confused about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is health insurance that is managed by the federal government and is generally available for people who are 65 and older.
Medicaid, meanwhile, is based on income and managed at the local or state level, although the federal government administers guidelines. Medicaid is offered to people with a low income or very low income. People of any age can qualify for coverage.
Medicaid typically pays for all medical services, although some coverage requires small copayments depending on the state you live in.
Depending on income and assets, some people may qualify for Medicare Part A and/or Part B, as well as Medicaid. People who are covered by both Medicare and Medicare are called “dual eligibles.” If this is the case, almost all of your healthcare costs are likely covered.
If you are covered by both, Medicare pays the cost of medical equipment, including bedside commodes, first. If the commode is covered by Medicaid, money is sent directly to the health care practitioner.
Does Medicaid Pay for Bedside Commodes?
Medicaid typically covers the costs of bedside commodes as well as other personal care items including dressing aids and bath chairs.
Bedside commodes are typically covered by Medicare Part B or Medicaid as durable medical equipment (DME). You usually need a doctor’s note stating that you need a medical commode because you’re confined to a bedroom.
Medicaid also typically covers orthopedic footwear, prosthetic devices, oxygen concentrators, monitors, and ventilators, as well as mobility aids including wheelchairs, crutches, canes, and walkers.
How Much Do Bedside Commodes Cost?
Bedside commodes range in price from about $40 for a basic model up to $200 for more luxury models. There are even bedside commodes advertised online for as much as $1,500 that come with stainless steel and wheels.
Other Options for Buying a Bedside Commode
If you’re struggling to have Medicaid cover the cost of a bedside commode or the process is taking too long, there are other options to consider. Charitable organizations can often provide medical commodes for free or at a reduced price. Some of them include:
Goodwill Industries is a great place to shop for gently used medical equipment, including bedside commodes, crutches, canes, and much more. There are thousands of Goodwill stores across the country. Click here to find a Goodwill store near you.
Salvation Army, another non-profit with stores nationwide, accepts medical equipment as donations. If you have a Salvation Army store in your area, consider contacting them first to see if they have any bedside commodes available.
Easterseals offers services to children, adults, and their families with special needs and disabilities. They accept medical equipment donations and provide them for free or for a nominal fee for those in need.
Local Healthcare of Assisted Living Facility
You may also find luck obtaining a gently used bedside commode by contacting local healthcare facilities or senior living facilities that may be buying new commodes and are willing to give away their older, gently used ones for free or at a reduced cost.
A Local Lending Program
Local lending programs allow people to borrow assistive devices and medical equipment for short-term, long-term, or indefinite timeframes. These items are often donated to the program by people who no longer need them. They are cleaned and lent out to people in need.
Check your area’s agency on aging to find out if there are any organizations in your area that lend out medical equipment, including bedside commodes.
Where to Buy a Bedside Commode?
If you prefer to bypass insurance and buy a bedside commode yourself, they’re available at pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, as well as big-box stores such as Target, Home Depot, and Walmart. Most of the models sold at these stores are advertised online for about $40 to $100.
You can also buy a medical commode on Amazon, which lists more than 300 types of units available when you search the site for “bedside commode.”
If you or a loved one needs a bedside commode, either temporarily or permanently, there are several options available. If you’re covered by Medicare or Medicaid and receive a doctor’s note stating you need a medical commode, insurance should cover part or all of the price of your medical commode.