Does Medicare cover catheters?

Medicare covers a lot of different medical supplies, but does Medicare cover catheters? Generally speaking, the answer is no. Catheters and other disposable medical supplies are usually not covered by Medicare. However, there are a few situations in which Medicare will cover catheters. Read more to find out when Medicare will and won't cover catheters.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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UPDATED: Feb 22, 2022

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The Highlights

  • Medicare covers the costs of a lot of different medical equipment, but items that get thrown away after use tend to not get covered by Medicare
  • Catheters oftentimes fall into the disposable medical supply category and typically are not covered by Medicare
  • Despite the fact that catheters generally are not covered by Medicare, there are situations where Medicare might cover the cost of catheters

Health insurance seems to get more complicated as you get older. Medicare has multiple parts that cover different things. It can be confusing. Does Medicare cover catheters? In most cases, the answer is, no.

Medicare typically does not cover the costs of medical supplies that are thrown away after use like catheters, whether intermittent catheters, urinary catheters, or other kinds of external catheters. However, sometimes Medicare will cover the cost of catheters, and this can make things even more confusing for people on Medicare.

The type of catheter used depends on the medical condition in question.

We’re here to help you understand when and if Medicare will cover your catheter, and help you understand Medicare a little better too. Speak with your doctor and Medicare representative to learn more about the things Medicare will and won’t cover. Make certain to ask about any out of pocket costs or out of pocket expenses you might incur.

If you’re ready to buy health insurance or compare Medicare rates in your local area, enter your ZIP code above.

Why won’t Medicare cover my catheter?

Medicare generally doesn’t cover medical supplies that get thrown out after use. The Medicare Rights Center has a full list of medical equipment that Medicare will not cover on their website as well as other helpful resources for individuals on Medicare.

There are some cases when Medicare will cover catheters. If you are concerned about catheter coverage, speak with Medicare to see if any of these exceptions apply to you.

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In what situations will Medicare cover catheters?

Despite the fact that catheters are disposable medical equipment, there are some instances when Medicare will cover catheters.

Does Medicare cover catheters if you receive home health care?

Yes, Medicare will often cover some disposable medical supplies if you are receiving home health care including catheters. You need to be using your home health care benefit in order for these disposable items to be considered for Medicare coverage.

Medicare will potentially cover catheter supplies if you have a permanent condition that requires constant usage of a catheter. In these situations, Medicare will categorize catheters as prosthetics and cover them under your policy. You need to speak with your doctor and a Medicare representative in order to determine if this designation could apply to you.

How much does Medicare cost?

Medicare is a large program, but it has two main components: Medicare Part A and Part B. For many people, Medicare Part A is free or very low cost. This is hospital insurance and covers all stays at hospitals and medical facilities.

Medicare Part B is more akin to traditional health insurance groups like HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and covers a wide range of things from doctor’s visits to diagnostic testing and medical supplies. On average, for this additional coverage, Medicare Part B is reasonably priced. Take a look at the average costs of Medicare Part B below.

Medicare Part B Estimated Monthly Premiums, Deductibles, and Coinsurance Rates
Deductible, and
Estimated Monthly Medicare Part B Rates
Standard Part B
Part B deductible
and coinsurance
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Medicare is a great resource for older people and people who have disabilities. Enter your ZIP code below to start comparing Medicare and health insurance costs in your local area.

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