Does Medicare Cover Incontinence Supplies?

In this article...
  • Does Medicare cover incontinence supplies? Find the answer to this question and some options for how to pay for your supplies if you suffer from incontinence.

Does Medicare Cover Incontinence Supplies? 

Medicare Parts A and B don't cover incontinence supplies directly because incontinence is not considered a medical condition. Instead, it's classified as a symptom of a broader range of diseases and conditions. It might be possible to gain approval for coverage if your doctor can document the need for these supplies in treating a disease or condition that is covered by Medicare. 

What Medicare Plans Cover Incontinence Supplies?  

There are some supplies that are an exception to the above. Supplies such as catheters might be covered if you provide the proper documentation. These rules apply only to traditional Medicare, so if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to receive coverage. Some Advantage plans do provide coverage for incontinence supplies, and if yours does, you will be able to work with your doctor to gain approval. 

Medicare Supplement plans won't cover this expense. If you're enrolled with a traditional Medicare plan or a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn't provide coverage, you need to consider other ways to reduce the cost of your incontinence supplies. 

Does Medicare Cover Incontinence Supplies in Nursing Homes? 

If you reside in a nursing facility and your health care provider is able to document a need for incontinence treatment, Medicare Part A may cover your incontinence supplies. This is because Medicare Part A covers inpatient care, and those supplies are considered a necessity for your ongoing treatment. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide coverage for anything covered under Medicare Part A or B, which means your Medicare Advantage plan should also provide coverage. 

Can You Get Free Incontinence Pads? 

While Medicare doesn't cover incontinence supplies except for very specific circumstances, there are ways to get these products for free or to save a lot of money on your purchases. You can do the following if you are unable to receive coverage through your Medicare Advantage plan as well. 

  • See if you are eligible for Medicaid. While Medicare doesn't cover incontinence supplies, Medicaid might. The rules for Medicaid are different depending on where you live, but most states do provide some form of assistance. 
  • Obtain coverage through the Veteran’s Administration. If you're eligible for benefits through the VA, you may be able to receive free incontinence supplies. You will need to work with your doctor to find a brand that suits your needs which is also covered through your benefits. 
  • Join a prescription discount program. There are many ways for people to save money on medical supplies, and one of them is to join a prescription discount program. You will receive a membership card you can present to the pharmacy to greatly reduce your costs. 
  • Buy supplies online and in bulk. If you search for your supplies online, you might notice that you can save up to 80% simply by purchasing your supplies in bulk quantities. Since these supplies will not expire, you can save a lot of money by stocking up. 
  • Write off incontinence supplies when filing taxes. You can declare the cost of these supplies on your taxes, which is another way you can recoup some of your expenses. Keep all of your receipts to justify this deduction with the IRS. 
  • Visit your local diaper bank. There are non-profit organizations that set up diaper banks for the purpose of helping people who cannot afford their incontinence supplies. You may be able to obtain your supplies through one of these banks. 

While Medicare doesn't cover incontinence supplies in most cases, you may be able to receive coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan or reduce your costs significantly through other assistance programs. Your doctor can help you determine if you are eligible to receive any of these benefits and provide the documentation you need for approval. It is certainly possible for you to reduce the cost of your supplies to be able to afford them.

Read More
A woman talks seriously with her therapist
Ostomy supplies are medically necessary for people living with an ostomy. Find out whether Medicare ...
Woman smiles and fits on her hearing aids
Original Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids, but some Medicare Advantage plans might. Find out what ...
Smiling man and his adult daughter
Lift chairs may benefit seniors who need help transitioning between sitting and standing. Learn the ...