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Durable medical equipment (DME)
The Plan pays for durable medical equipment (DME) that is:
  • Ordered or provided by a physician for outpatient use
  • Used for medical purposes
  • Not consumable or disposable
  • Not of use to a person in the absence of a sickness, injury or disability
  • Durable enough to withstand repeated use
  • Appropriate for use in the home
  • Is not implantable within the body
You must obtain the durable medical equipment or orthotic from a vendor UHC identifies, or from the prescribing in-network physician.
If more than one piece of DME can meet your functional needs, you will receive benefits only for the most cost-effective piece of equipment. Benefits are provided for a single unit of DME (example: one insulin pump) and for repairs of that unit.
Examples of DME include but are not limited to:
  • Equipment to administer oxygen
  • Standard wheelchairs
  • Hospital beds
  • Delivery pumps for tube feedings
  • Burn garments
  • Insulin pumps and all related necessary supplies
  • Braces that stabilize an injured body part, including necessary adjustments to shoes to accommodate braces. Cranial helmets used to facilitate a successful post-surgical outcome are also covered as DME. Note: Only braces that are used to stabilize an injured body part or treat curvature of the spine are considered durable medical equipment and therefore covered under the Plan. Braces that straighten or change the shape of a body part (with the exception of cranial helmets) are considered orthotic devices and are not covered. Dental braces are also excluded from coverage.
  • Equipment for the treatment of chronic or acute respiratory failure or conditions
  • Ostomy supplies. Covered supplies are limited to:
    • Pouches, face plates and belts
    • Irrigation sleeves, bags and ostomy irrigation catheters
    • Skin barriers
The Plan also covers tubings, nasal cannulas, connectors and masks used in connection with DME.
Note: DME is different from prosthetic devices-see "Prosthetic devices"
Benefits are provided for the repair/replacement of a type of durable medical equipment once every three calendar years.
At UnitedHealthcare's discretion, replacements are covered for damage beyond repair with normal wear and tear, when repair costs exceed new purchase price, or when a change in the covered member's medical condition occurs sooner than the three year timeframe. Repairs, including the replacement of essential accessories, such as hoses, tubes, mouth pieces, etc., for necessary equipment is only covered when required to make the item/device serviceable and the estimated repair expense does not exceed the cost of purchasing or renting another item/device. Requests for repairs may be made at any time and are not subject to the three-year timeline for replacement.
Benefits also include dedicated speech generating devices and tracheo-esophageal voice devices required for treatment of severe speech impairment or lack of speech directly attributed to sickness or Injury. Benefits for the purchase of these devices are available only after completing a required three-month rental period.
Prior authorization requirement
For out-of-network benefits you must obtain prior authorization from UnitedHealthcare before obtaining any durable medical equipment that exceeds $1,000 in cost (either retail purchase cost or cumulative retail rental cost of a single item). If you fail to obtain prior authorization as required, Benefits will be subject to a $400 penalty.