As the special congressional deficit committee met for the first time Sept. 8 to begin forging a long-term deficit reduction plan, as reported by CNN and other media sources, The CareGiver Partnership advises consumers to educate themselves on how to seek reimbursement for incontinence supplies in the wake of possible Medicare and Medicaid spending cuts.
As the costs of medical care and supplies, such as adult diapers, continue to rise, consumers benefit from researching ways to be reimbursed for as many of these expenses as possible. Even as a 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction works to forge a U.S. deficit-reduction plan by Nov. 23 that can win congressional approval, senior citizens and the poor and disabled who rely on Medicare or Medicaid should be aware of all their options.
"For people managing incontinence, there are several areas worth checking into to help defray the costs of supplies," says Lynn Wilson, co-founder of The CareGiver Partnership, a national retailer of home healthcare products that helps caregivers and their loved ones maintain personal dignity.
Expenses for incontinence supplies may be tax-deductible if shown they're needed to relieve the effects of a specific disease, according to U.S. Internal Revenue Service guidelines. A physician can diagnose medical incontinence and may be able to advise on reimbursement based on an individual's health and financial situation.
Health insurance plan:
While many private insurance plans do not cover incontinence supplies, some may be reimbursed through a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA). With an HSA, funds contributed to the account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit, and funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not used. With an FSA, an employee sets aside a portion of earnings, which are not subject to payroll taxes, to pay for qualified expenses; funds deposited into an FSA must be used within the calendar year. With both types of accounts, receipts are submitted to a plan administrator and participants receive reimbursement checks.
Medicare is a health insurance program for people age 65 or older, people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of all ages with end-stage renal disease. Medicare programs include hospital insurance, medical insurance and prescription drug coverage. Help determining eligibility for benefits can be found at Medicare Eligibility Tool.
Medicaid is health insurance that helps many people who can't afford medical care pay for some or all of their medical bills. For U.S. citizens with limited income who qualify for Medicaid because of age or disability, Medicaid may send payments directly to health care providers. More information on state programs is available at Medicaid.
County offices for the aging:
A telephone book's county government section is a good place to look for aging and disability resource centers. County offices may be able to direct callers to resources to help them receive reimbursement.
Some areas offers diaper banks, where products are donated by organizations or individuals, then given to people who cannot afford them. Although many diaper banks focus on newborns, some include incontinence supplies for adults. Information on cities and states that offer this service may be found in a phone book, online or from senior centers.
Outside the United States:
Information on resources for citizens in countries other than the United States can be found by visiting a country's government website.
The CareGiver Partnership is a national direct-to-consumer retailer of home healthcare products for incontinence, diabetes, nutrition support and more. In its fifth year of providing products and services that help caregivers and loved ones maintain personal dignity, the company also offers an online library of more than 1,000 family caregiver resources and personal service by experts in caregiving. Call 1-800-985-1353 or visit online at www.caregiverpartnership.com