Are adult diapers covered by Medicare?

Medicare will only cover adult diapers if you have inpatient status at a hospital or nursing home, but you can find other ways to save money.

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Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about home, life, and car insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features. His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and C...

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Written by Chris Tepedino
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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Former Licensed Agent Laura Walker

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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The Rundown

  • Standard Medicare coverage will not offer coverage for incontinence pads or adult diapers 
  • Depending on your situation, Medicare may provide some type of financial relief for incontinence products 
  • Other programs exist that cater to adults who require diapers or other incontinence needs 

Plenty of senior citizens across the country require adult diapers or incontinence pads. As Medicare is a government assistance program designed for senior citizens, it is important to note that Medicare will not cover the costs of adult diapers in most circumstances.

While incontinence items tend to be expensive, there are other ways to receive financial assistance for these types of products besides Medicare. Keep reading to learn how you can pay for adult diapers through Medicaid, community service programs, and the Veterans Health Administration.

Does Medicare cover adult diapers? 

Medicare has four sections that provide guidelines for what qualifies for coverage. 

Since adult diapers or pads require disposal after a single-use, Medicare does not cover these types of products. 

However, Medicare will cover adult diapers if you are currently an inpatient at a senior nursing home or hospital.

Incontinence Products that May Qualify for Medicare Coverage

Sometimes, doctors will prescribe devices that prevent urinary incontinence and foster better control of overactive bladders. In this case, Medicare may cover your equipment and procedure if it qualifies as durable medical equipment. 

Medicare also provides discount prescription drug cards that may give you discounts for incontinence products. Additionally, certain Medicare Advantage plans may offer further discounts for over-the-counter supplies, including adult diapers.

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How much do adult diapers cost? 

Adult diapers become an expensive monthly bill assuming you are paying for them without any discounts or coverage. 

Depending on how many you require, you may spend anywhere from $50-$170 per month on incontinence products. If you rely on adult diapers all the time, your monthly incontinence costs may be as high as $300 per month or more.

Tips for Lowering the Costs of Adult Diapers 

Before you seek alternative options for covering adult diapers through Medicare, you may be able to significantly lower the costs of incontinence products on your own.

For example, shop in bulk online where the average price for an individual product is much cheaper. You may also hunt for coupons for adult diapers and keep track of any deals that may be available near you. Many websites or grocery stores offer weekly or monthly deals on different adult diapers and incontinence product brands.

Other options include government grants that cater to caregivers of senior citizens. You should also hold on to all your receipts, including adult diapers and incontinence products since these items are tax-deductible.

Alternative Options for Medicare Coverage 

Fortunately, several other routes exist for financial relief for incontinence products. The most common options include Medicaid, senior citizen supply banks, community service programs, and veteran assistance programs. However, the feasibility of alternative options for Medicare coverage is contingent on where you live and your home state.

Medicaid 

Medicaid is a common program that senior citizens use for adult diapers. However, the regulations vary by state. Depending on where you live, you may be able to receive Medicaid waivers for adult diapers, even if you live at home and not at a hospital or nursing home.

If you think your state may offer Medicaid waivers for adult diapers, contact the local Medicaid office to speak with a representative and investigate your options.

Senior Citizen Supply Banks 

Senior citizen supply banks are a great option if any exist in your area. If you get in contact with a diaper bank, they will be able to tell you which local nonprofits will offer you financial assistance for adult diapers or where you may obtain adult diapers for free.

Community Service Programs

Some communities have community-run service programs that will help you receive the personal care products you need. Similar to a diaper bank or senior citizen supply bank, community service programs may offer incontinence products for free or issue financial assistance.

Veteran Assistance Programs

Lastly, veteran assistance programs are ideal for seniors who are veterans. These institutions provide care for veterans based on what they medically need. As urinary incontinence qualifies as a medical condition, veteran assistance programs may cover the costs of adult diapers.

For example, the Veterans Health Administration program notably pays for adult diapers for veterans. However, the VHA has one prerequisite before it offers any type of assistance for specific brands of diapers — you will need to provide a legitimate medical document from a doctor to justify your need.

When do people need adult diapers? 

Individuals who experience urinary incontinence seek out adult diapers. According to the National Institute on Aging, struggling to control your bladder and leaking urine are the main features of experiencing urinary incontinence. If you or a loved one experiences this issue, there is no need to feel embarrassed. Overactive bladders are incredibly common among seniors.

Some medical conditions may encourage urinary incontinence:

  • Constipation
  • Diabetes
  • Stress 
  • Urinary tract infections 
  • Strokes
  • Parkinson’s disease 

If you are experiencing any of the following medical conditions and notice your bladder has been overactive, it may be time to consider looking into adult diapers.

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Final Thoughts on Adult Diapers and Medicare

Urinary incontinence is a common condition, especially as people age. Unfortunately, despite being designed for senior citizens, Medicare will not provide financial relief or coverage for adult diapers and other incontinence products. 

The program will only pay for these products if you are inpatient at a hospital or nursing home. However, plenty of other options may be available for you to receive the assistance you need. For example, Medicaid, community-based programs, veteran assistance programs, and diaper banks may fulfill your incontinence needs.

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