What It Is
Rental or purchase of an adjustable bed, commonly called a "hospital bed," for use at home.
Medicare Part B pays for the rental of a hospital bed if prescribed by a doctor. Different types of adjustable beds are covered, but a fully electric bed isn't covered. Before the patient rents or purchases the bed, the prescribing doctor must send Medicare a written request for approval, called a Certificate of Medical Necessity. The hospital bed must be rented or purchased from a Medicare-certified medical equipment supplier.
If you have a Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plan: Medicare Part C Medicare Advantage plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans, must cover everything that's included in original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. But sometimes a Part C plan covers more, with extra services or an expanded amount of coverage. (Co-payments for Part C plans may also be different than those for Part A or Part B.) To find out whether your plan provides extra coverage or requires different co-payments for a hospital bed, contact the plan directly.
What Medicare Pays
Medicare Part B pays 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for rental or purchase of a hospital bed. If the bed is rented, the supplier is responsible for service and maintenance. If the patient purchases the bed, Medicare pays 80 percent for regular maintenance and service (usually up to a capped limit of 15 months), and the patient is responsible for the remaining 20 percent.
Warning: If a hospital bed is rented or purchased from what's called a Medicare "participating supplier," the supplier can't charge more than the Medicare-approved amount. However, a supplier who's enrolled in Medicare but isn't an officially participating supplier may charge more than the Medicare-approved amount. In that case, the patient must personally pay the difference between the Medicare-approved amount and the amount the supplier actually charges (on top of the 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount that Medicare doesn't pay).
Important: Regardless of the rules regarding any particular type of care or equipment, in order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care or equipment must meet two basic requirements:
The care or equipment must be "medically necessary." This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care or equipment is necessary and proper. For help getting your care covered, see FAQ: How Can I Increase the Odds That Medicare Will Cover My Medical Service?
The care or equipment must be provided by a healthcare provider or equipment supplier who participates in Medicare.