Durable Medical Equipment: FSA Eligibility
Under IRC 213(d)(1), "medical care includes amounts paid for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or for the purpose of affecting any structure or function of the body." This includes medical equipment, supplies and devices.
What does durable medical equipment (DME) refer to?
Medically necessary durable medical equipment (DME) that your doctor prescribes for use in your home has to meet a few criteria. They have to be long-lasting with an expected lifetime for at least 3 years, used for a medical reason, and not be useful to someone who isn't sick or injured (Healthcare.gov).
What are some examples of DME?
This term can include items such as iron lungs, oxygen tents, Nebulizers, CPAP, catheters, transfer benches, hospital beds, patient lifts, transfer or stretcher chairs, and wheelchairs used in the patient's home or an institution used as his home. Blood sugar monitors and blood sugar (glucose) test strips whether the individual has Type I or Type II diabetes qualify as well. Other items such as canes, crutches, walkers, and traction equipment for transportation are also considered DME.
Most of these devices are used for patients whose care is being managed from a home or other private facility managed by a nonprofessional caregiver or family member. The equipment is intended to withstand repeated use by non-professionals or the patient, and is appropriate for use in the home. Medical supplies of an expendable nature, such as bandages, rubber gloves and irrigating kits are not considered to be DME (AgingCare).
What should I consider when purchasing DME?
The doctor may recommend a supplier for the home medical equipment or the patient can research on his or her own. DME suppliers are located throughout the country and some specialty shops can also be ordered online. Supply companies include very large organizations such as Walgreens, Lincare, and Apria to smaller local companies operated by sole proprietors.
Internet retailers who have lower operating costs often sell equipment for lower prices than local "brick and mortar” places, but won’t be able to offer in-home setup, equipment training and customer service.