Page Reviewed / Updated - Jun. 2018
Does Medicare pay for adult diapers? This seems to be the first question most seniors ask. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of seniors living outside of nursing homes, Medicare does not pay for adult diapers. There are a few other incontinence supplies, which are covered, such as catheters, but disposable absorbent products are largely, if not entirely, the financial responsible of the individual. Unfortunately, Medicare Supplemental Insurance, sometimes called Medigap policies, also do not cover these supplies.
Having eliminated Medicare as a possible payer for incontinence supplies, many seniors are left with the question who pays for adult diapers? Fortunately, there are 3rd parties who offer assistance.
The VA is one 3rd party that provides help. While the VA does pay for adult diapers, many veterans advise caution with regards to the quality. Specifically, the standard issued brand of adult diapers is not considered to be of high quality. However, if a veteran has a preferred brand, such as Attends, Depend, Prevail, Tena or Tranquility, it is possible to have those paid for by the VA. However, a physician prescription or statement of medical justification that explains the medical reasons for which a particular brand of adult diaper is required is necessary.
For some veterans, Home and Community Based Services, also called Veterans Directed Care is an option. This program provides financial assistance for care and the flexibility to direct the financial assistance as the veteran feels is best for their needs. Incontinence supplies would most certainly be an eligible expense. However, this description over-simplifies the program. For more details, read here.
Medicaid for individuals in nursing homes will supply adult diapers and other disposable, absorbent products. Most Medicaid Waivers, which provide assistance to individuals living at home or in the community, also provides assistance typically under the category of home care supplies. However, Medicaid Waivers and rules change from state to state and in some states the program may limit the brands or quantities of product available to an individual for a set period of time. Individuals on Medicaid should check with their local Medicaid office. Those wishing to qualify for Medicaid can read more here.
In certain areas of the country, there are non-profit organizations known as diaper banks. These “banks” supply other local non-profits with adult diapers to be given away to seniors that reside in the geographic area. Although many diaper banks do not supply individuals directly, they can provide a list of local non-profits organizations that they provide adult diapers and those organizations can be contacted directly. Find a list of non-profit diaper banks here.