Bargain or beware? Tips to buy gently used medical equipment

Do a thorough assessment to make sure equipment is safe.

Your doctor or an occupational therapist may recommend that you use some kind of medical equipment, such as a walker, electric scooter, cane, lift chair, or shower chair. Such equipment can help you maintain your independence or continue living at home. But what if your insurance won't pay for an item or if you need a spare? For many people, the solution is gently used equipment.

Bargain hunting

You'll find used medical equipment in consignment shops and thrift stores, and through online classified ad sites (such as Craigslist). The deals are substantial: you may find a used electric wheelchair (that retails for $2,500 new) for a few hundred dollars, or a used power lift chair ($500 new) for just $75.

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