People with bladder issues may have experience using incontinence supplies, such as pads and briefs. Another product geared toward helping keep you dry is the folding commode. This device is generally intended for people with low mobility who have trouble transporting themselves to the bathroom, such as someone recovering from an injury or surgery in the lower extremities or a patient with weak legs or poor balance.

What is a folding commode?
A folding commode is much like a portable toilet. It is comprised of a durable steel frame – similar to that of a walker – that holds up a basin that collects waste materials and has a lid to reduce the spread of bacteria and odors. The basin must be emptied manually. Raised handles on the sides add additional support for the user. Some commodes allow you to adjust the height of the seat, making it particularly useful for people who have issues crouching onto a standard toilet. It typically folds into thirds for easy storage and transportation. Some varieties come in bariatric models – they are extra wide and heavy duty to accommodate larger people.

Is my folding commode covered by Medicare?
Folding commodes are considered pieces of durable medical equipment and are therefore covered by the national health care program. This is not the case for incontinence supplies that are disposable, such as pads and liners. For those who are eligible, Medicare Part B will take care of 80 percent of the price of this product. That leaves you with remaining 20 percent of the cost.

How do I qualify for coverage?
Beneficiaries can get help paying for the cost of their folding commodes by submitting a claim to Medicare Part B. You must have a doctor's note from a health care provider that is a part of the national health care program, and he or she must state that you require the piece of equipment for a medical reason, such as maintenance of a disorder that causes low mobility or recovery from leg surgery. Your doctor should also note why your need a folding commode in specific as opposed to a more common bedpan or urinal.

How much will a plastic urinal cost?
A standard folding commodes usually costs between $40 and $60 before Medicare provides financial assistance. Bariatric and other heavy-duty varieties can cost you anywhere from $100 to $250, depending on the brand.

Where do I get a plastic urinal?
Durable medical equipment manufacturers and distributors usually sell folding commodes. You may also find them at retail stores. When shopping for this product, it's important to purchase through a company that is under contract with or approved by Medicare. You will also need to make sure that your plan approves the cost of the commode and that the supplier accepts assignment before placing your order. Beneficiaries who don't do this sometimes find that they have to pay for the entire cost of the equipment out of pocket.