A hospital bed is a piece of durable medical equipment (DME) that is used for rest and recovery of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and even private homes. This equipment is designed to promote patient safety with locking bed rails and to promote patient comfort with available adjustments for raising or lowering the headboard, knees and footwell. Hospital beds can be manually adjusted, requiring a caregiver to adjust the bed for a patient who is bedridden, or they can be electrically controlled by either party. In the US, it is a relatively straightforward procedure to purchase a new or used hospital bed from a variety of sources, including medical equipment stores or even classified ads in the local newspaper. The cost of purchasing a hospital bed may be partially or fully covered by health insurance, depending on who will use it and why they need it.
The first step in purchasing a hospital bed is determining whether a health insurance company will pay part or all of its cost. As long as the patient’s physician certifies the medical need, Medicare, Medicaid, and most health insurance companies will help purchase a hospital bed, although model options may be limited depending on plan benefits. The extent of an insurance company’s contribution can be determined by contacting the health insurance company by telephone or by reviewing the company’s benefits booklet. Optionally, customer service representatives at most DME retailers are very knowledgeable about the different insurance plans and can also advise potential customers.
When a customer chooses to purchase a hospital bed through a DME reseller, the transaction can be initiated with a phone call to the company. The customer service representative will ask for the patient’s name, address, phone number, insurance coverage information, and the doctor’s name. In most cases, a birth appointment and hospital bed setup can be done during that same phone conversation. Special features not explicitly covered by the patient’s insurance benefits are billed to the patient weeks later, after the insurer has been formally billed and an explanation of benefits (EOB) has been issued.
It is also possible to purchase a hospital bed through private sources. Offers for used hospital beds are occasionally found in local newspaper classifieds. DME retailers also offer private sales on new and used models. Depending on the anticipated duration of use and insurance benefits, a hospital bed may be rented for a short period of time rather than an actual purchase.