Does UnitedHealthcare Cover Incontinence Supplies?

In this article...
  • Urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects some older adults. Find out more about when UnitedHealthcare may help cover incontinence supplies.

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Incontinence is a condition in which the bladder is unable to hold in urine due to weakened bladder or pelvic muscles or prostate conditions. A loss of bladder control can sometimes lead to urinary leakage. Individuals with chronic incontinence often use incontinence supplies, such as adult briefs and diapers, to manage their symptoms. You may be wondering, does UnitedHealthcare cover incontinence supplies. Keep reading to find out. 

Does UnitedHealthcare Cover Incontinence Supplies?

Some Medicare Advantage plans offered through UnitedHealthcare may cover a limited number of incontinence supplies each month. Click below to shop for UnitedHealthcare plans in your area that may provide coverage for incontinence supplies.

Specific coverage can vary from state to state, so it's important for plan members to consult with their local plan providers to determine if incontinence supplies are covered. Coverage limits can also vary by plan, but generally, Medicare Advantage plans through UnitedHealthcare set supply limits to 200 to 300 briefs or diapers per month, and incontinence under-pads are usually only covered if the recipient also requires diapers or incontinence briefs. 

Are There Medications for Incontinence?

There are several medications available to help relieve symptoms of incontinence. Anticholinergic medications are typically recommended for individuals with overactive bladders. Mirabegron is a medication that helps relax the bladder muscles and may help improve bladder emptying. Alpha blocker medications that relax the bladder neck muscles of the prostate are sometimes prescribed to men with incontinence due to prostate problems, and topical estrogen creams are often recommended to females to help strengthen the urethra and vaginal tissues. 

Are There Medical Procedures to Help Treat Incontinence? 

Medical procedures to help treat incontinence include medical device inserts, interventional therapies and surgery. Here are some common incontinence procedures: 

  • Urethral insert: Urethral inserts are specifically designed for women. The inserts are similar in shape to tampons and inserted into the urethra to prevent urinary leakage during specific activities. For example, if sports activities, such as yoga or jogging, are known leakage triggers, a woman may use an insert for the duration of the triggering activity. Urethral inserts create a temporary leak barrier and must be removed prior to urination. 

  • Botox injections: Botox injections are sometimes recommended when other treatments are unsuccessful. The medication may help prevent urinary incontinence by reducing muscle contractions in the bladder.

  • Sling procedures: During a sling procedure, strips of tissue or mesh material are used to create a 'sling' that is inserted beneath the urethra. The sling helps keep the urethra closed, which in turn may help to prevent urinary leakage. 

  • Catheter insertion: Catheter placement may be recommended for individuals who cannot completely empty their bladders when urinating. Catheters are generally self-inserted at home and drained several times a day. 

What Causes Incontinence in Older Women and Men?

Incontinence can occur in individuals of all ages, but the condition tends to be more common in older adults, particularly women. Some women begin to experience symptoms of incontinence during or following pregnancy due to changes in the body that weaken the pelvic floor and/or injuries to the nerves that control the bladder. The condition may also develop in women going through menopause.

During
menopause, dropping estrogen levels can lead to weak pelvic floor muscles, resulting in episodes of incontinence. Some women experience chronic incontinence after pregnancy and menopause that may continue as they age.

Conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke and diabetes, can lead to episodes of incontinence in both
older women and older men. This form of incontinence is referred to as urge incontinence, and it typically occurs as a combined result of the underlying condition causing an immediate need to urinate and an inability to hold the urine in long enough to make it to the restroom. 

Older males with various
prostate conditions often experience symptoms of incontinence. Enlarged prostate glands, inflamed prostate glands and injury to the surrounding nerves and muscles of the prostate can cause urine to leak from the bladder. 

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