Does Medicare Cover Catheters?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Does Medicare cover catheters and incontinence supplies? Learn what you need to know about your Medicare coverage, copayments, and how to pay for your supplies.

Medicare Part B can cover catheters if your doctor documents a medical need for steady catheter usage for a period lasting three months or longer. If you require the use of additional supplies for the treatment of urinary incontinence, these supplies are also covered.

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What Part of Medicare Covers Catheters? 

If you require catheters during a hospital stay, Medicare Part A may cover the cost of a medically necessary catheter. Medicare Part A also covers catheters if you’re staying in a nursing facility or receiving home health care.

If you are prescribed catheters for use outside of inpatient care, you’re covered under Medicare Part B. Just as with Medicare Part A, you must meet a deductible before your copayment comes into effect. 

Medicare Supplement plans can offset the out-of-pocket expenses associated with medical equipment. These policies can help pay for out-of-pocket Medicare costs such as the 20% Part B copay you typically face after you meet your annual Part B deductible for covered catheters.  

Do I Need a Prescription to Buy Catheters? 

You do need a prescription to purchase catheters. They aren’t available over the counter and your doctor will need to provide a reason that they are medically necessary.

Your doctor must indicate what type of catheter you need and how many are being prescribed each month in order for you to fill your prescription. There are many suppliers that will send you these supplies on a monthly basis, or in bulk quantities that will last up to three months per shipment. 

How Many Catheters Will Medicare Pay for Per Month? 

The number of catheters that Medicare will cover depends on the type of catheter and your need for them. Here are some of the different catheters you might be prescribed. 

  • Closed System Catheters: These catheters are only available for Medicare recipients who have an elevated risk of infection. They are connected to a drainage bag and the catheters themselves are prepared for use out of the package so that you don’t need to touch them directly.

  • Indwelling Catheters: Indwelling catheters are inserted by a physician and drain into a bag like closed system catheters. They do not need to be changed frequently, so Medicare will cover one of them each month. 

  • Single-Use Catheters: As the name suggests, these catheters are for a single-use and are disposed of after they are used. You may be covered for up to 200 single-use catheters each month. 

Discuss your need for catheters with your doctor to make sure that you are prescribed a brand and type that works with you and your coverage.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at

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