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POSTED ON: August 30 2012
Posted by:Su-Lauren Wilson owner,CFO
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Should You Buy Used Medical Equipment?

The prices of some durable medical equipment can be daunting, especially if they aren’t covered by your Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance.  Some people think that this is a good enough reason to look for used equipment as a way to stretch their dollars.  This can be both good and bad depending on the equipment. 

There are always a few important considerations when looking at used equipment to purchase.  To start, make sure your insurance does not cover the item fully, or if you will have a co-pay, that the co-pay is not a better price for a new piece of equipment than paying for a used piece.  It is always better to speak with someone in person than to assume you understand. Sometimes the jargon can be complicated and confusing.

Secondly, you will want to see the item and test it out before you purchase.  Be cautious of sellers who don’t want you to see the actual item or will only send you photographs.  Since you can’t date the photograph you can’t be certain that the product still looks the same. And more importantly, a photograph doesn’t tell you if the product works!  You will definitely want to “test drive” your product before paying.  This is the only way to verify if the product is the right size, can hold your weight, is built well, isn’t a knock-off, etc. 

You will want to verify that if there is a warranty on the product, it is still effective?  And will the warranty be valid if the product is sold?  Have any repairs or modifications been done to the product that could void the warranty?  You will want to get the original warranty paperwork as well as any owner’s manuals or guides that came with the product too.  Also check that if the product is not functioning properly, can it be repaired within the confines of the warranty or if the warranty is no longer valid, how much will the repairs cost?  You certainly don’t want to buy something that will cost more to fix than it would to buy new!

Lastly you will want to check that the product was kept clean and hygienic if that is a consideration.  Some products should not be shared or used then sold because of the risk of contamination and cross-contamination.  Mostly these products are in the bath, home supplies, oxygen, and enteral nutrition category, to name a few.  Sometimes, depending on the product, the temperature and environment of the product must be monitored and maintained.  Can you truly be certain this was done on a used product?

All these questions are important and you should weigh them each independently.  If you are still uncertain, it is always good to consult with a professional in the medical supply industry for their opinion.