6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding to Rent or Buy Medical Equipment

by Medical XPress

Woman sitting in a wheelchair with a cast on her leg while talking to a squatting doctor.If you or someone you care for requires the use of durable medical equipment (DME), the prospect of acquiring that equipment can be daunting. Such items can often be quite large, and may come with a high price tag. It’s important that you take the time to do your research to determine whether buying or renting your DME will be the best option for you. Here are six questions to ask yourself when making this decision.

Is Your Condition Temporary or Permanent?

First, think about the condition that is requiring you to acquire this medical equipment. Is it a temporary injury that will heal over time? Or is it a permanent condition that will remain with you, or even worsen, over the years?

If your condition is a permanent one, then buying the equipment is likely going to be the best option. Even if the purchase price is high, you can look into financing options for the equipment that will enable you to pay it off over time, instead of making ongoing rental payments for an indefinite amount of time.

How Long Will You Need the Equipment?

Obviously, this will be connected to your answer to the above question. If your condition is permanent, you’ll need the equipment for the rest of your life. However, in some cases, purchasing may still be the best option for a temporary condition. If you’ve experienced an injury that can take many months, or even years, to recover from, purchasing the DME could be the best financial option for you.

Generally speaking, for long-term use, it will cost less overall if you purchase the equipment. However, at Medical Xpress and Arlington Medical Supply, we offer lower monthly rates for long-term rentals as well. So, be sure to do your research and crunch the numbers on this.

Would You Be Able to Resell the Used Equipment?

One of the benefits of purchasing a DME instead of renting it is that you can recoup some of the costs by selling it after you’re done with it. So, even if your condition is temporary, you may choose to buy the equipment you need if there is a market for the item.

It may be worth searching ads for used versions of the equipment you need, so that you can get an idea of what you might be able to resell your DME for down the road. If you believe it will resell for a large portion of the original purchase price, and you’re willing to do the work to get it sold, it may be worth it to purchase the DME you need, even for a short-term, temporary condition.

How Often Will the Equipment Need to Be Serviced?

One of the major benefits of medical equipment rental is that service and repairs are typically included in the rental terms. Of course, certain pieces of equipment are going to require a lot more maintenance and upkeep than others. For example, a power scooter has mechanical and electrical parts that may malfunction or short out; they’re more likely to require maintenance and repairs than, say, a traditional manual wheelchair.

When deciding between renting and purchasing, be sure to keep the amount of maintenance and service the equipment requires in mind. If you rent, those costs may be covered by your rental agreement. If you buy, the maintenance and repairs are entirely your responsibility, and will be an added cost.

What Will Your Insurance Cover?

Many types of insurance, including Medicaid, offer coverage for DME costs. However, coverage will obviously vary depending on the insurance you have, the type of equipment you’re getting, and your medical condition. So, be sure to call your insurance company and ask about what kind of coverage they offer for DME. And, ask if that coverage differs at all if you rent the equipment instead of buying it. Their answer may be the determining factor as you choose between renting and buying.

What Will the Total Cost Be for Each Option?

Once you’ve asked yourself all these questions, it’s time to crunch the numbers and figure out what the total cost will likely be for each option. If you’re buying, you’ll need to factor in the upfront cost, plus any maintenance and repairs; however, you may be able to subtract coverage from your medical insurance, and anything you might recoup if you’re able to resell.

If you’re renting, you’ll need to get a quote for monthly fees, then multiply that by how long you need the equipment; you may also be able to subtract some coverage from your health insurance. Once you’ve compared these two totals, you’ll have a better idea of which will be the cheaper option for you.

If you have any questions about at-home medical equipment, and whether buying or renting is the best option for you, call or stop by one of our locations to speak with an experienced representative.