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Does Medicare Cover Bed Rails for the Elderly?

Medicare doesn’t generally cover the cost of detachable bed rails for the elderly if they’re going to be used on a conventional bed. However, Medicare Part B typically helps pay for detachable rails to be installed on a hospital bed if a physician writes a prescription stating that the bed rails are a medical necessity.

Detachable bed rails attach to a conventional or adjustable bed frame to prevent bedridden or mobility-impaired seniors from rolling out of bed or falling as they try to sit or stand up without assistance. 

Is it Better to Get a Hospital Bed or Conventional Bed with Bed Rails?

While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of bed rails if they’re to be used on a conventional bed, it does cover 80% of the cost of detachable bed rails if they’re for use on a hospital bed. Of course, most modern hospital beds already have bed rails incorporated in the design. Therefore, seniors who have a conventional bed but need the security and peace of mind that bed rails provide might be better served by requesting Medicare approval for a hospital bed instead of just the bed rails.

Do Bed Rails Qualify As Durable Medical Equipment?

To qualify for financial assistance through Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment Coverage, seniors need to have a written prescription from their physician that indicates that they have a medical need for the equipment. Hospital beds adjust to raise patients up to 30 degrees, accommodating seniors who have special positioning needs due to chronic pain or cardiovascular problems. Many seniors might qualify for a hospital bed for one of these reasons. If not, the DME program also provides coverage for seniors who need traction devices that can only be attached to a hospital bed, which can include support and positioning devices, such as bed rails.

Hospital beds can be expensive, so even if seniors qualify for financial assistance through Medicare’s DME coverage, they may still have to settle for renting a hospital bed rather than buying it outright. This can be a better option for low-income seniors who might not otherwise be able to afford a hospital bed.