In 2016, nearly 36 million Americans had a hospital stay. After discharge, many of these people rehabilitated at home. Moreover, about 4.5 million Americans receive long term home health care.
With so many people receiving health care services in the home, there is a huge demand for home hospital bed frames. Fortunately, there are many options for paying for home hospital bed frames. Here are five options:
Out of Pocket
Paying out of pocket for a home hospital bed frame leaves you with the greatest flexibility. You will have your choice of features and manufacturers. You can select a Resolution bed, a Hill Rom bed, or a Stryker bed. You can select from new hospital beds or refurbished hospital beds. You have the option of fully electric, partially electric, or fully manual.
Importantly, out of pocket expenses for durable medical equipment like hospital beds are partially deductible from your federal income taxes. Deductions for medical expenses are subject to the 10% rule, which states that you can only deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income.
You also have the option to rent rather than purchase. Rentals are sometimes a better option if you only need the hospital bed frame temporarily. Many of the same hospital beds that are available for sale are also available for rental. For example, the businesses that sell Stryker hospital beds may also offer Stryker hospital bed rentals.
Some health insurance policies will pay for medically necessary home hospital beds, such as the Hill Rom patient bed. The phrases to look for in your health insurance policy are “home medical equipment” or “durable medical equipment.” If your health insurance policy covers the cost of a home hospital bed, it may be subject to a copay and a deductible. For example, after you meet a deductible, the remaining cost of the hospital bed may be split with the insurance covering 80% and you covering 20%.
The limitations that insurance companies place on medical beds will vary. For example, some insurance companies will limit the brands, models, and features of hospital beds they will pay for. Some insurance companies will limit you to a manual bed and either deny a claim for an electric bed or require you to pay the difference between a manual bed and an electric bed.
Medicare, like private insurance, will pay for medically necessary home hospital beds, with some limitations. First, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part B (the portion of Medicare that requires payment of premiums). Medicare Part A does not cover durable medical equipment such as hospital bed frames.
Second, you must have a doctor’s order or a prescription stating that a home hospital bed is necessary for your medical condition and that a regular non-medical bed is insufficient.
As with private insurance, Medicare will only cover manual beds and does require a $185 deductible and a 20% copay. Medicare will, however, cover the cost of hospital bed accessories like mattress covers and bed rails.
Medicaid is administered by states and, consequently, has varying coverage for home hospital beds depending on your state of residence. However, many states provide coverage for durable medical equipment like home hospital beds under HCBS waivers and “Money Follows the Person” programs. The rationale is that home care is often less expensive than residential medical care, so these programs encourage patients to remain at home, or return to home, by subsidizing durable medical equipment that can be used in the home.
Medical benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cover medically necessary hospital beds. Not every veteran is eligible for VA health benefits. Disabled veterans and veterans under a certain income level are generally eligible. Veterans who are not disabled and exceed the maximum income level are ineligible.
However, all veterans who are eligible for Medicare and pay Medicare Part B premiums are eligible for Tricare’s Medicare supplement called Tricare for Life. Tricare for Life will cover a veteran’s Medicare copay for a medically necessary home hospital bed.
There are many ways to pay for a home hospital bed. The most flexible option is to pay out-of-pocket. However, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and VA health benefits will also cover at least a portion of the cost in most circumstances.