Erectile dysfunction is a common medical condition, especially among older men, and it can have a variety of causes. For some men, psychological factors like stress can play a large part in the development of erectile dysfunction, but for others, medications and lifestyle may come into play. When these causes have been factored out, erectile dysfunction usually presents as a part of aging when the blood vessels and arteries no longer work properly to deliver adequate blood flow to the penis. While there are medicinal treatments for this type of erectile dysfunction, some men utilize vacuum pumps in order to alleviate symptoms and achieve and maintain an erection.
These devices, often referred to as vacuum constriction devices, use the power of suction to pull blood into the tissue of the penis. A ring is attached at the base of the penis that is meant to keep the blood from flowing backward, thereby allowing the penis to stay erect. These devices are meant to treat the symptoms of erectile dysfunction as opposed to the causes, and they must be used each time an affected male needs to achieve and maintain an erection.
Does Medicare Cover ED Pumps?
While Medicare does provide coverage for a large variety of durable medical equipment, it does not currently cover medical treatment for lifestyle concerns, meaning treatment to enhance sexual activity is not covered. Medicare benefits are reserved to pay for medically necessary treatments that are ordered by a physician to preserve life and improve health. As a result, Medicare does not generally pay for ED pumps unless the use of such devices is an integral part of a larger treatment approach to a serious medical condition.
Medicare and Erectile Dysfunction Hospital Treatment
Medicare benefits under Part A generally provide for care in a skilled nursing facility or while hospitalized, but once again, the rule regarding medical necessity would apply to erectile dysfunction treatment in these situations. While it’s extremely unlikely that a man would be treated for erectile dysfunction during a hospital stay, if the treatment was carried out for testing purposes in relation to the cause of the hospitalization, there is the possibility that Medicare would cover the cost of the erectile dysfunction treatment.
Off-Label Erectile Dysfunction Medications
Although Medicare does not cover the cost of a vacuum constriction device or related sexual aides, some men may be able to receive coverage for certain erectile dysfunction medications if they are prescribed for a condition other than erectile dysfunction. Many erectile dysfunction medications dilate blood vessels to allow for greater blood flow, so it could be possible that these medications would be prescribed to treat cardiovascular conditions not directly related to erectile dysfunction.
In order for coverage to apply, however, it’s likely that other treatment methods would need to be attempted prior to the erectile dysfunction medication being prescribed, and the prescribing doctor may need to include detailed notes in a patient’s health records to indicate that the medication is not being prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction. To learn more about your Medicare benefits and coverage limitations, check with your plan. You can also discuss non-medical options with your doctor to treat erectile dysfunction such as lifestyle changes and psychological stress reduction techniques.