Does Medicare Cover Commodes?

Victoria Burke by Victoria Burke | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 10/06/2018

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Sometimes, an illness or injury may cause you to have limited mobility, or even confine you to a bedroom for a period of time. Your health-care provider may recommend that you use a portable commode (toilet) or commode chair to minimize your risk of fall or further injury. If you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B, your commode chair may be covered, as long as you meet requirements described below.

What is a commode chair?

A commode chair is a portable, free-standing commode you can place at your bedside when you need to use the toilet. While the basic form and function is the same, there are different styles of commode chairs you can choose from to suit your particular needs.

  • A three-in-one commode chairA three-in-one commode chair offers the most flexibility for people who need assistance using the toilet. It can function as a free-standing bedside commode; a safe, elevated seat when placed over the toilet itself with the bucket removed; or a safety frame to use with a conventional toilet when the seat and bucket are both removed.
  • A standard bedside commode chairThis commode is the most basic design and is composed of three fixed components: the frame, the bucket, and the seat. The bedside commode can have four legs and remain stationary for maximum stability, or have wheels so it can easily be moved from bedroom to bathroom.
  • An uplift assist commodeThese commodes feature a mechanism to help raise you from a seated position to a standing position when you are finished using the commode.

Your health-care provider may recommend a specific type of commode for you. Once you know the style of bedside commode that works well for you, you might have other options, including:

  • Treated plastic, PVC plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel construction
  • Folding arms and legs for easy transportation or fixed arms and legs for stability
  • Fixed arms, drop arms, or slide-away arms

When does Medicare cover commode chairs?

If your doctor orders a bedside commode, Medicare Part B will typically pay 80% of the allowable charges for your commode chair. You are responsible for 20% of the charges plus any remaining Part B deductible. Please note that your doctor must accept Medicare assignment, and your commode chair supplier must participate in the Medicare program, or Medicare will not pay anything for your commode.

Medicare classifies commodes as Durable Medical Equipment (DME), which Medicare Part B generally covers when medically necessary. Commode chairs are included in Medicare’s Competitive Bidding program, a cost-saving measure started in some parts of the country in 2011 and gradually expanding to include the entire country. If you live in an area affected by the Competitive Bidding Program, you must use a medical supplier contracted with Medicare under the program to get coverage for your bedside commode.

The Medicare Advantage program, also known as Medicare Part C, gives you an alternative way to get your Medicare benefits. By law, these plans must cover everything in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), except hospice care, which is still covered under Part A. Medicare Advantage plans frequently offer additional benefits to their members. Most Medicare Advantage plans cover prescription drugs, for example, and many include other benefits such as wellness programs, routine vision and dental care, and even some routine hearing services.

If you’d like to know more about Medicare, durable medical equipment, or coverage for commode chairs, I’d like to help. You can set up a good time to receive a call, or request an email with information specific to your situation by clicking one of the links below. Find out more about me by clicking the “View profile” button below. To learn more about plans in your area you may qualify for, click the “Compare Plans” button.

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