If you've ever had a bladder problem or trouble getting to the bathroom, you may have turned to incontinence supplies – products that help keep you dry. Absorbent products such as briefs, liners and pads are the most common; however, some people also use urinals. These are containers that collect urine when it's difficult or dangerous for a person to use a toilet, like when someone is bedridden while recovering from a surgery. They may also be used by people who suffer from incontinence conditions. For instance, it may come in handy if you have an overactive bladder, which can cause you to have a sudden urge to urinate when there is no bathroom around.

What is a plastic urinal?
A plastic urinal is a durable container used to collect urine, and it can generally hold up to 1,000 cubic centimeters of fluids. It's generally made from translucent, medical-grade plastic with graduation marks so that the user can measure the liquid. These containers usually come with snap-on lids to keep both liquid and odor inside as well as handles for easier use. There are varieties for both men and women that feature openings specially geared toward the anatomy of the gender, and urinals can be positioned either vertically or horizontally to suit people who are standing, sitting or laying down. Unlike a disposable variety, a plastic urinal can be washed and reused.

Is my plastic urinal covered by Medicare?
Unlike disposable types of incontinence supplies, plastic urinals are categorized as durable medical equipment and are covered by the national health care program. If you qualify, your Medicare Part B plan will pay for 80 percent of the cost, leaving you with 20 percent of the price.

How do I qualify for coverage?
To get coverage for your plastic urinal (and other pieces of durable medical equipment), you must have a prescription from your doctor that specifies that you need it for in-home use. The urinal must be medically necessary for management or recovery from a condition, injury or surgery. Additionally, the physician who gives you the doctors note must be a member of the national health care program.

How much will a plastic urinal cost?
Plastic urinals intended for men are fairly inexpensive – you can generally buy one for about $1, though some may run you up to $3. They're also available in bulk packs of 25, 50 or 100. Plastic urinals made for females are generally pricier and can cost you between $5 and $10 each.

Where do I get a plastic urinal?
You can purchase a plastic urinal through a durable medical equipment manufacturer or distributor. Some pharmacies and retail stores also sell them. When buying yours, be sure to go through a supplier that is approved by and accepts assignment from Medicare. If you don't you may find yourself paying more than expected or for the entire price of the product when you go to pick it up.