Hospital beds are very beneficial for seniors and often necessary. The only problem? They aren’t cheap- not by a long shot! The average hospital bed and mattress costs about $1,400, and some models cost more than twice that amount.
Many seniors cannot afford to spend that amount on one item, which leads them to wonder if they might get one for free. Free hospital beds for elderly people can be gotten from a few different methods, from simply searching around, to going through the Medicare/Medicaid system.
In this article, you’ll learn the best ways to get a hospital bed for free, and find helpful links to help you in your search!
How to Get a Free Hospital Bed for Home Use
How to Get Used Hospital Beds For Free
The biggest trouble of finding a used hospital bed for free is knowing where to look. Because hospital beds are heavy, hard to move, and don’t have a lot of resale value, lots of people are willing to give theirs away for free. If you have the means to pick one up, the easiest way to find a used hospital bed is by checking places like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to see if someone in your area has a bed they’re looking to part with.
Another simple method, albeit one with no guarantees, is by asking around your local community. Many people use hospital beds, and there is a decent chance you could track one down by asking a local church, sportsman’s lodge, or senior citizen’s group. Of course, there is an equal chance that you’ll have no luck at all!
There is a better way to get a used hospital bed for free: local charities. There are charities in every state that provide free hospital beds to seniors and other people who need them. Some of these charities are listed below:
Free Used Hospital Beds Near Me
Triumph Foundation exchange is designed to pair people who are in need of adapted equipment & supplies with people who have unneeded durable medical goods to donate. The items are completely FREE and have been donated in hopes they find a much needed home!
REEP Online Classifieds is free and available to people with disabilities, their families, friends, service providers, and others who want to find, buy, sell, or donate previously owned AT. Sellers can post listings, including photos, and buyers can review the listings and request the seller’s contact information.
Used Home Medical Equipment is a website that offers a free listing service for those with disabilities who want to buy, sell, or donate new and used home medical equipment. Mobility scooters, hospital beds, powerchair lifts, portable lifts, living aids, and other items are among those featured. Everyone can use the website because it is zip code-driven.
The José Blakely Memorial Grant focuses on one individual a year. Anyone that is looking to increase their independence is eligible. This grant will not be limited to just one device that can increase independence but whatever is necessary to have a sustained impact on the recipient's life.
Goodwill home medical equipment (NJ, PA) - Their inventory changes daily and includes wheelchairs (both power and manual), pediatric wheelchairs, walkers, portable ramps, lift chairs, hospital beds, bariatric hospital beds, canes, crutches and bath and shower items and MUCH more. They also offer new affordable medical items including incontinence, wound care and ostomy products. All items are sold at drastically reduced costs—translating into huge savings on items that are often not fully covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
The Independent Living Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that provides essential medical equipment cost-free through its Medical Equipment Recycling Network. (MERN) program.
The Easterseals Central Alabama organization, under the C.A.R.E project, helps you acquire medical equipment at no cost. This equipment, upon donation, is refurbished, repaired and sanitized, then made available to the public. You can submit requests for medical equipment here.
Good Health Will is a medical outfitting & recycling store that serves the communities of Northern Colorado with stores in Loveland, CO, and Greeley. The organization receives donations of durable medical equipment and offers them to the public at low costs or for free.
Any Oklahoman who is in need of Durable Medical Equipment (DME), regardless of income can contact Oklahoma Able Tech.
Chive Charities is committed to championing those most in need. rom therapy equipment like adaptive tricycles and robotic walkers to service dogs, wheelchair-accessible vans, and a wide range of mobility items, Chive Charities fills the gaps where insurance and other resources cannot.
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation has an assistive technology program that helps locate, partially fund, or provide full funding for one of a wide range of devices. These allow those with MS to function more independently in their daily lives, as well as more easily participate in recreational, educational, and vocational activities. These include Aids for daily living, Communication devices, Computer aids, Environmental control systems, Home and vehicle modifications, Orthotics, Seating, positioning, and mobility devices, Aids for vision and hearing, Cooling aids, and more.
Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation grants are reviewed quarterly in January, March, June, and September. Funds are limited and we generally can not support charitable grants over $10,000. The request should be for a specific item. Requests from Wisconsin residents are given precedence but are not limited to the state. To apply for funding please fill out the application here.
National Assistive Technology Act Tech Assistance & Training Center has created a directory of State Assistive Technology Programs that provide adaptive equipment in all 50 states. Adaptive equipment is any tool, device, or machine that is used to help with any task associated with daily living. As hospital beds help people with disabilities and seniors to be more independent, these programs can also offer them. Check your state’s AT program here.
Kansas Equipment Exchange (Kansas) - Accepts wheelchair donations, hospital beds, lifts, and other medical equipment, which is then refurbished and given to Kansas residents in need.
Team members from the Muscular Dystrophy Association are ready to recommend and prescribe various types of medical devices that can improve independence and quality of life. When such equipment is required, MDA assists in locating prescribed items by referring to community resources.
The Lions Clubs provides assistance to people with disabilities including the donations of eyeglasses, guide dogs and white canes for the blind, wheelchair lifts for vans, hearing aids, and recycled AT equipment such as hospital beds. Not every chapter provides all of these services. Contact your local chapter with any requests.
Disability Action Center (California) - Disability Action Centers' durable medical equipment recycling program serves consumers of all ages and disabilities that live in Shasta, Modoc, Siskiyou, Lassen, Butte, Tehama, Glenn, and Plumas County. They take donations of used AT/DME and then clean, repair, and distribute the devices to people in our communities who need them free. Their inventory may include; wheelchairs, walkers, beds, canes, crutches, shower chairs, commode chairs, Hoyer lifts, and many other items.
Ashland Christian Health Center (Ohio) accepts a wide range of durable medical equipment. They do not accept hospital beds, however, they will put your name on a list of BEDS AVAILABLE TO DONATE, so that when they get a call of a need for a hospital bed, they can make the referral.
We Care of Lake County (Central Florida) provides free used medical equipment including hospital beds to adults and children who are recovering from hospitalization or living with chronic conditions. Receive the medical equipment you need for your condition when you reach out to We Share of Central Florida.
ECNV (VA) maintains a database of items that members of our community wish to donate, then connects those items to individuals that need those items for free.
Clinics Can Help is a nonprofit agency based in Palm Beach County, Florida that collects used durable medical equipment so that it can be distributed to those who need it most. They collect, clean, repair, and store used medical equipment that is still in good condition so that it is ready to help someone who cannot afford it. This equipment includes wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, patient lifts, crutches, canes, and nebulizers.
For over 29 years, Project MEND has donated properly reconditioned and disinfected medical equipment and other assistive technology devices to people of all ages in South Texas who have a handicap or sickness.
FODAC (Georgia) - FODAC gives adults and children with disabilities in need the home medical equipment (HME) necessary for an enhanced quality of life.
Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization (North Dakota, Minnesota) - Here maintains a healthcare accessory store to provide donated medical items for those in need. Equipment includes Bedside commodes, Canes, Crutches, CPAP & BIPAP machines, Electric hospital beds, Electric scooters, Gait belts, Hospital beds, Hoyer lifts, Lift chairs, and more.
Barnesville Area Helpers (Minnesota) - The use of equipment and safety items are available at NO cost to their clients. They gladly accept gently used equipment including Walkers, Wheelchairs, Canes, Commodes, Shower chairs, Grab bars, Grab bars, Lift chairs, Scooters, Bed grab bar and more.
St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program (Missouri) - St. Louis HELP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which provides anyone in need access to free home medical equipment through their recycle and reuse program, enabling them to live as independently as possible and remain contributing members of the community.
The Foundation Assisting Seniors (Nevada) - The Foundation Assisting Seniors maintains and delivers an inventory of durable medical equipment for a short-term loan to seniors throughout the Southern Nevada Community. All equipment is cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized with Microshield 360.
NCA Community Services (Oklahoma) NCA is a Community Action Agency serving Atoka, Johnston, Marshall, and Murray Counties in Southern Oklahoma with unique programs and services that promote self sufficiency and open the opportunity for all to live in dignity and decency. INCA Community Services, Inc. has an assortment of medical equipment, including wheelchairs, hospital beds, shower chairs, lift chairs, walkers, crutches, canes, etc. Other items in the lending closet are an assortment blood pressure cuffs, adult briefs, bedding, leg and arm braces, and many other items. The large assortment is housed in the Atoka Office.
Free Hospital Beds for Veterans
In addition to above-mentioned charities, there are many organizations and groups that look out for veterans, no matter how many years it has been since they’ve left the service. First, the Veteran-Directed Care Program provides cash to veterans who have a demonstrable medical need and can be used to pay for a hospital bed. Contacting your local VA is the best way to find out if this program applies to you, and get the paperwork started!
Though it may not be completely free, Tricare has a supplemental health insurance program available to veterans. Tricare is managed by the Defense Health System, a government organization responsible for making sure military personnel and their families have access to healthcare.
Tricare itself offers health insurance of all types to active and former service members of their families, but we will focus on the benefits for retired veterans for now. If you are an individual, retired from military service, and enrolled in Medicare, Tricare costs only $12.50 each month.
The plan will cover almost any healthcare costs leftover by Medicare, including hospital beds. So, if Medicare pays for 80% of your hospital bed (more on that below), Tricare will cover the remaining 20%, making your bed free! Well, not technically free, but $12.50 is about 1% of the overall cost of a hospital bed!
Free Hospital Beds Through Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of a hospital bed for seniors who need one. If you are approved for a hospital bed, your supplemental private insurance, personal money, or Medicaid (if applicable) will cover the final 20%.
How to Get Approved
How do you get approved for a free hospital bed through Medicare? It all boils down to need- that means getting a prescription from a doctor. If you are in the hospital for a sickness, injury, or surgery, your doctor might determine that you will continue to need the benefits of a hospital bed even while receiving outpatient care. If that is the case, they will write you a prescription before you are discharged, and you may even be able to have your new hospital bed waiting for you when you get home!
If you are not prescribed a hospital bed during your stay, or realize you need one but aren’t currently in a hospital, you should make an appointment at a physician’s office immediately. Share with your doctor your medical concerns and needs, and they will write you the prescription if they determine you need it!
Free Hospital Beds Through Medicaid
Medicaid is a bit of a different story. Whereas Medicare is open to all seniors 65 or over, Medicaid is reserved for seniors and younger people who have disabilities and can demonstrate financial need. Furthermore, Medicare is a federal program, while Medicaid is run at the state level. So, while Medicaid does pay for hospital beds, the rules and guidelines for eligibility vary from state to state.
People who are approved for a hospital bed through Medicaid will receive it completely for free, but getting approved is a different process from state to state. You can check your state’s guidelines here, but the general rule of Medicaid is that you’ll be approved if you have a serious medical need and cannot afford to pay for it yourself.
Medicaid is notorious for being difficult to deal with; state Medicaid offices tend to be underfunded and understaffed. This could lead to you waiting several weeks for paperwork to go through, applications to be reviewed, and funding to be approved. But, for seniors and people with disabilities who live in low-income situations, there is no better option than getting a hospital bed completely for free through Medicare!
How Hard is it to Get Approved?
It depends on the doctor, but most of the time it isn’t very hard to get approved for a free hospital bed through Medicare and Medicaid. If you meet the criteria, it’s a breeze. If not, you’ll have to figure something else out.
The good news is, though, that your doctor gets paid when they prescribe you a hospital bed (and they don’t get paid as much when they decline to write it). That doesn’t mean they’ll give you a prescription for no reason- they could lose their medical license. But, it does mean they have an incentive to decide in your favor on “close calls”!
That means that the odds are on your side for getting a free hospital bed through Medicare and Medicaid!
The Downside of Medicare/Medicaid
You may already have some experience getting medical devices through Medicare. In that case, you’ll be familiar with your options being limited to what providers are in Medicare’s network, and how much they allow you to spend on each item. Often, the options Medicare gives you are on the lower end of price and therefore quality.
Some people who are approved for a free hospital bed through Medicare are disappointed to find out that they have a pretty limited selection of hospital beds. Often, seniors are only able to choose beds that are semi-electric and generally less expensive. This leads some seniors to seek out a hospital bed elsewhere, even if it isn’t free.
Of course, getting a free hospital bed that is of “just okay” quality is better than nothing at all. But, for seniors who might have other options, Medicare isn’t the best way to obtain a hospital bed. If you have the money, it’s worth it to buy a top-quality hospital bed out-of-pocket. If you don’t have the money, you can still trust that your Medicare-provided hospital bed will be functional- it just won’t be luxurious.
Free Hospital Beds Craigslist
Looking for free hospital beds on Craigslist? While Craigslist is one of the largest websites on the internet dedicated to classifieds, it is also a hotbed for scammers. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid scammers and get the free hospital bed you need.
7 Tips To Avoid Getting Scammed On Craigslist
- 1Verify the URL
This might sound ridiculous to emphasize, but always confirm that the URL of the site you are on is Craigslist. Scammers tend to add only a single letter to the official Craigslist URL and direct you to a different page that mimics the actual site. So pay attention and ensure you are on the official Craigslist website before proceeding.
- 2Go for ads with images as opposed to those with texts only
Ads with an image of the item on sale command more credibility than those described with text only. Photographic evidence of the item on sale comes with a lesser probability of being scammed.
- 3Verify the images are not downloaded from the internet
While ads with photographic evidence of the item on sale are less likely to be scammers, you still have to verify the images are legitimate. Scammers can download images available on the internet to lure you into believing that the item on sale is valid.
To verify the images on a Craigslist ad, you can paste the image’s URL on images.google.com and search for it. An original image should not appear on any other website other than the sites the seller has listed for sale. If the same item appears on sale on other websites in distant locations like Mali or India, you are probably looking at a scam.
- 4Opt to purchase from local sellers
The Craigslist site itself recommends purchasing from local sellers to avoid being scammed. With a local seller, you can finalize the sale in person, hence reducing the chances of being scammed. It is more reliable than dealing with overstate or overseas sellers where you will have to rely solely on their word to ship the item to you.
No matter how good a non-local sale appears, it’s safer to purchase from a seller you can physically meet with.
- 5Do not share personal information
As always, when engaging online, it is paramount to keep your personal information private. Should a seller become very interested in information such as your date of birth, your place of residence, or work, please back out of the deal. They could be setting up to scam you.
- 6Use a disposable phone number
Sharing your actual phone number over the internet can make you a target for scammers. Therefore, when transacting on Craigslist, you should create a disposable working phone number. To create one, visit Google Voice and set up a disposable phone number that is untraceable and will expire within 30 days of no usage.
- 7View the item in person before purchasing
Before finalizing the sale, always ask to see the item in person. When applicable, give the item a test to ensure it is working as it should. Never rely on pictures solely to purchase on Craigslist.
Top 3 Alternative Websites to Craigslist
There are hundreds of other classified sites developed to offer services similar to Craigslist. Below are our top 3 alternatives to Craigslist.
- 1Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is the no.1 most popular alternative to Craigslist. With over 800 million people on Facebook, each of these account owners can sell and buy items on Facebook Marketplace. Ads are posted in the form of photos and details — you can also search for items based on the city, ZIP code, price, etc.
- 2eBay Classifieds
For most people, the mention of eBay brings up thoughts of items on auction. However, the site is also home to classified ads that you can search for from the homepage. While the site is not as popular as it used to be, it still receives traffic from millions of buyers and sellers, making it a great alternative to Craigslist.
Offerup is a mobile app dedicated to classifieds. With slightly over 50 million downloads and having merged with Letgo, a similar classifieds app, Offerup is fast rising as the go-to app to sell and buy. The user-friendly app promptly displays images, prices and location proximity to you, allowing you to easily visually browse through items on sale quickly.
The app also provides ratings on buyers and sellers, making it easier to vet the buyers you engage.
Conclusion: Getting a Free Hospital Bed
Getting a free hospital bed isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Medicare and Medicaid should be the first option for most seniors, but veterans should take advantage of veteran-specific programs that may be better than Medicare alone. Finally, for people who cannot get a hospital bed in these ways, many charities will help you get a new or used hospital bed for free!
Have you had much luck finding a hospital bed for free? Do you have anything to share with other readers that might help them out? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below! And, as always, thanks for reading!