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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


As a general matter, your doctor or other health professional will recommend the type of equipment to get for home use. Before agreeing:

  • Check that your home and you are a good fit with the equipment.
  • If your insurance does not cover, look for the least expensive option. While renting may seem to be the cheapest, that may not be the case if you will need the equipment for a long term.
  • Used equipment is available.  If needed, free equipment may also be available.
  • The easiest way to get medical equipment for the home is through a home care agency. 
    • If you have health insurance:  The agency can help get the necessary equipment paid for by your insurer. Personnel at the agency know how to talk insurance company language and are likely prepared for any arguments the insurer may make. 
    • If you don't have health insurance: The home health care agency may be able to suggest a supplier it works with often rather than the best price for you. Consider asking the agency to suggest equipment and pricing, and do some research on your own. Then compare what you learn.
    • If you rent equipment through an agency Make sure you can continue to rent the equipment even if you terminate the services of the health care agency. 
    • For information about how to choose a home health care agency, click here.

Factors To Consider Before Agreeing To A Particular Piece Of Equipment

Before making arrangements for a piece of equipment for your home, check:

  • To make sure it will fit into your home.
  • That you have sufficient electricity available.
  • That either you or a caregiver has the skill required to work the equipment.
  • That back-up is instantly available if the equipment is necessary to maintain life.

If you will be attached to the equipment for more than a few minutes at a time, look for equipment that is portable so you can move around. For example, if you require infusions, ask if your treatments can be administered through a portable pump which allows you to be mobile. Mobility will be important since infusions take many hours. Portable pumps are more expensive than stationary pumps so you may need to have a discussion with your insurance company to get coverage.

Paying For Home Medical Equipment

If you have health insurance

Check the policy to find out if home equipment is covered. If there is a question, call the insurance company. If the answer is “yes,” ask to be pointed to the specific policy provision so you can understand what it provides.

If the answer is “no”:

  • Ask for a supervisor who has authority to make a decision about coverage. You may have to go high up the chain of command to get to the appropriate person but it is worth the time it takes to find the right person.
  • Explain to the person in economic terms why it is in the interest of the insurance company to pay for the equipment. Generally the argument would run something like: “To rent this piece of equipment costs $1,000 a week. If I don’t get the equipment, I will have to be in a hospital. In my area, hospital stays cost $1,000 a day or $7,000 a week. Isn’t it cheaper for you to pay for the rental than for me to be in the hospital? This is especially true when you add the risk of my getting an expensive-to-cure infection that comes with hospital stays these days?”

If you don’t have health insurance or it doesn’t cover home medical equipment

Explore the possibility of getting the equipment for free. Contact your disease specific nonprofit organization. If the organization doesn’t have a service which provides free or low cost medical equipment, it may be able to direct you to a local resource. For instance, local community groups may supply equipment for free or a low charge.

If you cannot get equipment for free, determine whether it is less expensive to purchase or to rent it. If you will need the equipment for a long time, it may be cheaper to purchase it. You can likely work out a payment plan which doesn’t cost more per week or month than a rental.

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Renting Home Medical Equipment

When considering rental:

  • Look at the possibility of renting with an option to purchase. Under this method, you are under no obligation to buy. However, if you do buy, this method allows you to apply all rental payments against the purchase price.
  • Keep in mind that when you rent, you have the advantage that there is usually a knowledgeable company representative available to service the equipment for you. Check the servicing arrangements before agreeing to the rental. Read the other terms of the rental contract carefully (including who is liable if the equipment is damaged or stolen). If you are not comfortable reading the contract, ask a friend or relative to do it for you. If you have continuing questions, ask a lawyer.
  • Check to see who is liable in the event of damage or total loss. If you are liable, check your Homeowners Insurance policy to find out if rented equipment is covered. If not, contact your insurance company or broker and have it added.

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Used Home Medical Equipment

Before obtaining used home medical equipment, contact the manufacturer to determine what to look for to make sure it does what it is supposed to do.

To find used home medical equipment: