Hospital beds are a lot of things - safe, convenient, and durable among them. Unfortunately, “cheap” is not a word you’ll hear used to describe hospital beds - the most popular models routinely cost more than $1,000, and that’s before the cost of a mattress and bedding is thrown in!
Luckily, Medicare and Medicaid - two government programs that exist to help people get the healthcare they need- may agree to cover the cost of your hospital bed for you! Learn how to get a hospital bed through Medicaid below!
Will Medicaid Pay for a Hospital Bed?
Before we go any further, it’s important to mention this: Medicaid is funded by both state and federal governments but run entirely by the states. This means that what applies to a senior living in Minnesota may not necessarily be true for a senior in Washington.
So, before you start to make plans based on the answers in this article, be sure to confirm your state’s Medicaid guidelines. Medicaid is notoriously confusing, and it always pays to double-check!
The short answer to this question is yes, Medicaid will pay for a hospital bed. There are many nuances to that answer, though - Medicaid only pays for certain beds, in certain situations, for certain patients.
Medicaid and Medicare both provide coverage for products categorized as Durable Medical Equipment (DME). These products must be made for a specific medical purpose, last more than 3 years in normal circumstances, and be used in the home. Hospital beds meet all of those requirements, which means that Medicaid will cover them in most cases.
If you are on Medicaid, you likely already know that the amount of money you pay out of pocket is directly related to your household income. If you make little to no money, you receive coverage at little to no cost.
When you are approved for a hospital bed through Medicaid, you will know how much you will pay (if anything) out of pocket, and how much Medicaid will cover. Depending on your state’s policies, you may receive this payment as a reimbursement, or Medicare may purchase the bed on your behalf.
If you qualify for a hospital bed through Medicaid, it can take up to 8 weeks to get your bed from start to finish. The application, approval, and purchasing process is slow, but the amount of money you save makes it more than worth it!
What Kind of Hospital Bed Does Medicaid Pay For?
Medicaid does not have a well-defined limit on the kinds of medical beds you can have covered, but they do have rules about where those beds come from - they must come from an approved and participating provider of medical products.
“Approved” means that the manufacturer or seller is accredited by a third-party organization. This ensures that both seniors and the government are not taken advantage of by providers that jack up prices or compromise on quality.
“Participating” means that the provider has done all the necessary paperwork to accept payments from Medicaid. It’s a lot like the “in-network/out of network” headaches you’re used to with doctor’s offices: if they aren’t in the network, you can’t get it covered.
If you are concerned about how you will find these providers, there is no need to worry. In most cases, your doctor or your local Medicaid office will know exactly who does and does not participate in Medicaid in your area.
What Do I Need in Order To Get a Hospital Bed on Medicaid?
We’ve mentioned what requirements a product needs to meet in order to be categorized as DME, but what do seniors need to be to be approved for a hospital bed on Medicaid?
First and foremost, you must be a Medicaid patient. If you are not already enrolled in Medicaid, head here to apply in your state.
Second, you must demonstrate a true medical need for the bed. For example, if you are bedridden and your condition requires a reclining/sleeping posture that a normal bed cannot replicate, and you are going to be in this condition for at least 30 days, you will most likely be approved.
How do you know you truly need a hospital bed? This can be determined while you fulfill the next requirement for getting a hospital bed: a doctor’s prescription.
You must obtain a prescription from a doctor who evaluates your condition and determines that you do in fact need the hospital bed. Sometimes, this happens as part of your normal treatment and discharge at a hospital. In other cases, however, you’ll have to schedule a doctor’s visit and make your case.
Once you get your prescription, you are qualified for a hospital bed and can begin the process of applying for and choosing your bed!
How to be Approved for a Hospital Bed on Medicaid - Pro Tips
Be Thorough at the Doctor
Your doctor is on your side - the only party in this process who stands to gain from denying your request is Medicaid (so they can save money). Be thorough with your doctor, explaining everything that is going on so that they have a full picture of your condition. The better they can understand what you are going through, the more likely it is that you’ll get the prescription you need!
Be Proactive When Applying
The sooner you act, the better your chances are. Think about it: you must demonstrate a need for a hospital bed for at least the next 30 days. If your health issues aren’t permanent, you need to get the ball rolling on this process as soon as you can so that you are still in need of the bed for more than 30 days.
Be Patient When Waiting
This is less of a tip on how to be approved and more advice on how to survive the waiting process. It can take weeks for this process to go from start to finish, frustrating some Medicaid patients and worrying others. That’s why it’s important to remain patient - oftentimes, nothing is wrong with your application other than the fact that it’s making its way through a large bureaucracy!
Consider Renting Short-Term
If you need a hospital bed both permanently and urgently, you might not want to wait around for your paperwork to make its way through the Medicaid system. If you are in that boat, and you have a bit of extra cash, you may want to rent a different hospital bed for a few weeks. That way, you have what you need right now, and you can swap it out when your request is finally approved!
Are you ready to start on your paperwork and schedule your doctor’s appointment to get a hospital bed through Medicaid? Why or why not? Leave your questions, comments, and concerns in the box below!