Did you know that many organizations offer free medical equipment for seniors? If you or a loved one needs medical equipment but can't afford it, don't worry! There are plenty of resources available to help.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best ways to access free and low-cost medical equipment for seniors. We will also provide a list of resources to find more information on request donated equipment from many volunteer organizations.
Durable Medical Equipment vs. Single Use
In this post we will show how to find "durable medical equipment". Durable medical equipment includes items that are used repeatedly, such as walkers, wheelchairs, and hospital beds. These items often require a prescription from a doctor before they can be acquired. Single use medical supplies include items like catheter supplies and ostomy bags, which are meant for one-time use only.
Where to Find Free Medical Equipment?
The first is from government-funded programs. These programs provide free or low-cost medical equipment to seniors and those in need.
In addition, many organizations offer free medical equipment for seniors. These organizations include charities, churches, and other non-profits that work with elderly populations.
Government Programs Providing Free Home Medical Equipment
You can obtain free or low-cost equipment if you are receiving Medicaid benefits. Medicaid will also help you to locate vendors who provide durable home medical equipment and services. You will need to be prescribed the equipment by your primary care doctor.
Each state has different programs offering free medical equipment depending on eligibility. You can view the specific guidelines and requirements in your state’s Medicaid website or contact an advocate for help.
Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has programs that offer free or low-cost home medical equipment for veterans and their dependents. Once you have been prescribed a device by your doctor you need to fill out a VA Form 10-10172. You can obtain this form from the VA government site.
Non-profit Organizations Offering Medical Equipment and Supplies
In addition, many charitable organizations provide free medical supplies to seniors who do not qualify for government assistance. Many of these organizations will provide refurbished equipment free or low cost to ease the financial burden seniors face.
The ALS Association
This non-profit organization offers free durable medical equipment for people living with ALS. They offer an equipment loan program to help suffers of ALS. You'll need to contact your local branch to find out what resources they have available.
Goodwill offers free or low-cost durable medical equipment through their medical equipment reuse program. Each area Goodwill offers different types of used equipment. You'll need to reach out to your local area store to see what is available. Some stores such as Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia partnered with F.R.E.E to offer no cost supplies.
The Muscular Dystrophy Association
The MDA offers a variety of durable medical equipment to people living with neuromuscular disorders through referrals to local philanthropic foundations.
The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society offers free or low-cost wigs, prosthetics, and other durable medical equipment to cancer patients. You can contact them 24 hours a day at 1-800-227-2345 to discuss your needs.
Project MEND is a South Texas bases non-profit providing refurbished durable medical equipment to people with disabilities or medical conditions. You'll need a a doctor's order or prescription for the equipment to start the request process. To take the first step with Project Mend, visit their services page for a step by step guide.
The Assistive Technology Exchange Network
This organization provides free or low-cost assistive technology and medical equipment to people with disabilities. Each state or local area have ATEX groups that provide needed equipment. The best way to find an organization near you is to Google Search "The Assistive Technology Exchange Network" and then add your area to the search.
You can also find an ATEX group through FindHelp.org which is a comprehensive search tool for assistance services.
Friends of Disabled Adults and Children
This non-profit organization provides free or low-cost medical equipment, including electric wheelchairs, strollers, and hospital beds, to people with disabilities. They are located in the metro Atlanta area. For those outside the Atlanta area FODAC has compiled a list of partners that may be able to assist you.
You Can Donate As Well
Any of these nongovernmental organizations above will accept donations of lightly used equipment. Reach out to them and to see how you can have your equipment picked up.
Medicare Part B Provides Durable Medical Equipment
If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B your primary care doctor can prescribe a durable medical device and you will be able to get it from Medicare providers. Some of the equipment covered includes wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, blood sugar monitors and more. For a full list, you can consult with your Medicare doctor or the Medicare.gov website.
Once you have met the deductible, you will need to cover the 20% co-pay. Other factors may affect the total out-of-pocket expense as well.
If you have a Medicare Advantage or MA DSNIP plan for those on Medicaid, you may have additional options through those plans to help cover the cost of the equipment.
Additional Way to Save Money
Seniors on Medicaid and many other government assistance programs are also eligible for FREE Cell Phone Service and Data through the Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program. Qualify in only minutes and eliminate your monthly phone bill.
Learn more about these programs at EASY Wireless.
Senior Citizens - Do Your Research to Save Money
Once you have received a doctor's prescription for the medical equipment you need, it is important to research options for free or low-cost devices. Start with the programs offered by your state and the federal government, then check out non-profit organizations that may be able to help. Finally, review any plans you have through Medicare Advantage or MA DSNIP plans as they may provide additional coverage.
By researching different options for free or low-cost medical equipment as well as additional ways to save money through cell phone service, seniors can help reduce their overall expenses and make sure they get the necessary medical care and equipment they need.