The Penis Pump - it is not just a gag-gift or an item on the musty shelves of sex shops. Penis pumps are medically legitimate devices to assist men with their erectile dysfunction (ED) that cannot be fixed by taking medications like Viagra. However, this medically necessary devices for some are in growing demand and draining Medicare - a government funded program that provides healthcare insurance for those over the age of 65 and for people with specific disabilities.
Strongly Related: To see the steps involved in getting a penile pump covered by the government, check out my detailed guide on getting a government ED pump, or get the gist of it in my shorter guide on the Medicare penile pump.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a report titled "Medicare Payments for Vacuum Erection Systems Are More Than Twice As Much As the Amounts Paid For the Same or Similar Devices By Non-Medicare Payers."
According to a news article about the report, "A 'vacuum erection system,' in case anybody's unclear, is just a penis pump. Between 2006 and 2011, Medicare spent a total of $172 million to purchase 473,620 such devices, at an average cost to the government of $360 each. The Veterans Administration, by comparison, pays just $185 per pump. With a little Google searching, the OIG found options available for an average of $164."
The Inspector General found after researching the matter that Medicare received over 470,000 claims for penis pumps within five years. The process for buying is these devices is complex and best explained below.
The same news article from The Atlantic, states that "While HHS uses a competitive bidding process to get the best possible price on some medical devices, penis pumps aren't one of them. Instead, Medicare pays for them using a set formula based on the historical prices, which presumably were much higher in the days before the little blue pill gave most patients a better option. The overpayment problem isn't new, either. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed fixing it all the way back in 1999. Which brings us to a broader lesson: The reason that Medicare is more efficient than private insurance, usually, is that it has the power to negotiate prices from suppliers. When we deny it that ability, such as with prescription drugs, the problem is far more severe than overpaying for a few vacuum erection systems."
No doubt about it, the droves of men over 65 wishing to retain sexual ability has exploded the use of Medicare to get pumps.