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008: Will Medicare Or Medicaid Cover Incontinence Products?

Updated: 8/5/2022

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If you’re incontinent, one major concern that you may have is how to pay for your incontinence products. To be sure, these products are expensive. Depending on the severity of your incontinence and the number and type of product you use, you may see costs between $50, or up to even $400 per month to cover incontinence supplies.

These costs can really add up and can have a huge impact on a person’s finances over time, especially if you are older and living on a fixed income, or are in a low-income situation. At best, you may be depleting your savings by paying for incontinence supplies. At worst, you may be forced to choose between food & shelter or incontinence products. This may become even more dire if your incontinence is the result of an underlying condition that requires even more medical expenses.

Will Medicare or Medicaid cover incontinence supplies?

First, let’s start with a quick refresher on the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Both Medicare and Medicaid are government run programs that provide health care coverage. However, they have distinct differences.

Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage to people who meet the following conditions:  1. You are over the age of 65, or, you are under the age of 65 and have a disability. Medicare coverage is provided to people who have paid Medicare taxes on their earnings during their working years. There are also premiums that are typically charged for parts of Medicare coverage.

Medicaid is a federal and state run program that provides health coverage to low-income individuals and families, seniors and people with disabilities. This plan is based more on income level, regardless of your age.

Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t typically cover absorbent products. However, Medicare may cover non-absorbent products, such as catheters and related products. In order to obtain coverage for these products, you’ll need to obtain a physician’s order or a prescription, stating what is needed for treating your incontinence.

It’s also important to note that some people have Medicare Advantage plans, which are run by privately-held insurance companies. These plans often cover the same benefits like Medicare, but may also have additional benefits. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s a good idea to call your provider to see exactly what is covered.

If you have Medicaid, you will need to check with your state-provided plan to see what is covered. The good news is that the majority of states do provide some level of coverage for incontinence products, which may include underpads, adult briefs, bladder control pads, male guards, booster pads, or protective underwear.  To get the products covered, your doctor will need to complete paperwork that shows the products are medically necessary.

Every state Medicaid plan is different, so it’s important to learn what your state plan provides, as well as the paperwork and process needed to get it approved and covered.

What you can do if you don’t have coverage.

 If you don’t have access to coverage for incontinence supplies, there are still other ways to save.

VA

If you are a veteran, you may qualify for benefits through the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Contact a local office to learn more about VA benefits, if you qualify, and how to go about getting coverage.

Diaper Banks

Diaper banks are organizations that provide free diapers to people in need. Some diaper banks may distribute products through other local organizations, or they may have their own location where you can pick up diapers. You can do an online search to see what diaper banks exist in your area, or you can search this directory.

Buy in Bulk

If you’re able to, buying supplies in bulk can often save a significant amount of money over time.  Many online retailers offer this option. Ordering online is also a convenient way to buy incontinence supplies since they come delivered straight to your door in discreet packaging.

Keep Your Receipts For Taxes

It’s a good idea to keep all receipts for your non-reimbursed medical expenses, including incontinence supplies. You may be able to write these costs off on your year-end taxes, lowering your taxable income.

Look For Coupons

Many retailers often offer coupons for their products. Look for coupons in your weekly newspapers, or do a search online for “adult diaper coupons”.

Have some other ways to save money on incontinence supplies? Share them with us in the comments below!

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