Catheter FAQs


Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions about getting your catheter supplies from 180 Medical. If you have a question that is not addressed on this page, please contact us.

 

Getting Started

How much will my catheters cost?

180 Medical is a urological catheter supply company that services customers who have insurance. We will do all your insurance billing for you. The cost of your catheter supplies depends on the type of insurance coverage you have. We are in-network with most major insurance plans in the United States. Contact us to have us verify your catheter insurance coverage.

Why are catheter prices not listed online?

Since 180 Medical provides catheter supplies to those who have insurance, we do not set or determine catheter pricing. Insurance companies set prices per catheter. This is similar to how your out-of-pocket cost is also based on your insurance plan’s catheter coverage. For more information about insurance coverage for catheters and other urologic supplies, contact us.

What information do I need to provide in order to get started?

We will need your insurance information and your doctor’s name and phone number – this way we can obtain a prescription and also verify your insurance company’s catheter coverage. After that, you don’t have to worry about a thing. We’ll work with your physician’s office to obtain any and all necessary medical documentation with no hassle for you!

What products and services do you provide?

We provide a full selection of intermittent urinary catheters to fit your needs including:

  • Intermittent straight catheters
  • Coudé catheters
  • Hydrophilic catheters
  • Closed system catheters
  • Pediatric catheters for children
  • Pocket catheters
  • And more!

Additionally, we offer incontinence supplies and ostomy products. Our caring, highly-trained catheter specialists want to make your experience as easy and trouble-free as possible.

I’m not sure which catheter is best for me. Can 180 Medical help?

Absolutely! With your health and comfort in mind, we want to get you set up on the best catheter for your personal needs.

We carry the most complete selection of urologic catheter medical supplies in the entire country, including products from the top manufacturers like Bard, Cure Medical, Rusch, GentleCath, Hollister, Coloplast (Mentor), LoFric, Rochester, hi-slip, and MTG. We provide the best quality catheters and urologic supplies along with the best-trained staff, all so we can better serve you.

My time is valuable – do I have to wait on hold for a long time before I talk to someone who can help me out?

When you call our company, you’ll speak to a real person. No automated systems or complicated phone trees. In addition to calling us, you can also contact us through our Live Chat on our website, email us, and can even text us! Click here to see all of the ways to contact us.

How can I get free catheter samples?

To start the catheter sample request process, just reach out and contact us. First, we’ll need some basic information, including your current insurance plan. Since catheters can only be provided with a valid prescription, we do require this information as well. However, we make it easy for you by contacting your doctor to obtain your catheter prescription.

Do you require a prescription to buy catheters?

Yes, all urinary catheters require a prescription, regardless of the supplier you choose. Each catheter package has a symbol on it that indicates these products are an “RX only” (i.e. prescription only) item.

At 180 Medical, our specialists gladly lighten your load by doing a lot of the footwork for you. For example, we’ll start out by verifying your insurance plan’s catheter coverage so you don’t have to. With your permission, we can also reach out to your doctor’s office to obtain the catheter prescription. In addition, if your insurance plan requires additional medical documentation to support the need for your catheter supplies, we’ll work with your physician’s office to get that on file as well.

On the prescription, your doctor must include the type and quantity of catheters needed per month, along with a valid diagnosis of your condition requiring the need of intermittent catheters. Prescriptions should also indicate the length of time your catheter supplies will be needed.

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Billing and Insurance

How many catheters will my insurance cover?

Each insurance plan is different; please contact us today for us to verify your catheter coverage. Most insurance, including Medicare, will cover sterile use catheterization (using one catheter and disposing of it each time). For instance, Medicare covers up to 200 intermittent catheters and lubricating jelly packets per month (every 30 days. However, the amount you may receive is based upon prescribed need and frequency.

I’ve been told by other companies that I need to pay upfront before I can get my catheter supplies. Is this how 180 Medical works?

No, we directly bill your private insurance, Medicare, and/or Medicaid for covered urinary catheters first. No need to pay for anything upfront. We don’t want you to have to wait for reimbursement when you get your supplies through our company.

Are intermittent catheters covered by Medicare?

Yes, Medicare currently covers intermittent catheters for sterile-use for up to 200 straight catheters and individual packets of lubricant per month (30 days). This does require proper documentation in the prescribing healthcare professional’s notes to match the prescription.

For more detailed information, please read our Medicare Guidelines for Catheters blog post.

What types of catheters are covered by insurance?

Every insurance plan is different and may have varying guidelines as to what types of catheters they will cover as well as how many urinary catheters.

As soon as we receive your insurance information, we work quickly to verify your insurance plan’s catheter coverage. Our catheter specialists will also find out if your insurance requires any extra documentation or authorization.

From there, one of our trained catheter specialists will contact you back directly to discuss your catheter supply needs. We’ll take the time to understand your needs and what you prefer in order to set you up with the right types of catheters for you.

Finally, before your catheter order ships, we’ll make sure you understand your insurance coverage and what your out-of-pocket cost will be (if anything) for your catheter supplies.

Contact us today to find out what your insurance plan covers.

Which insurance networks are contracted with 180 Medical?

180 Medical is an ACHC-accredited provider contracted with over 1,200 insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid programs in most states. We also accept a wide variety of private insurance plans, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Tricare, Cigna, Humana, and Aetna – to name a few. Give us a call to see if we are contracted with your plan.

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Ordering and Delivery

How will I receive my catheter supplies?

Your catheter supplies will be shipped discreetly to your doorstep through UPS. We can supply one month of catheters with each shipment, or depending on your insurance plan’s guidelines, a supply of up to three months at a time.

How much is delivery, and how long will it take to get my catheter supplies?

We deliver catheter supplies for FREE, once per month or once every three months, through UPS. Contact us to determine more exact timing depending upon your location in the United States.

Can I change the number of catheter supplies I receive every month?

If you’re cathing less or more often and think you may need to change the number of catheter supplies you receive, let us know as soon as possible. Make sure your prescribing healthcare provider is aware of the situation, as they may need to see you for an appointment in order to change your catheter prescription. Then we’ll take it from there. We will contact the doctor’s office and get a new catheter prescription and the necessary documentation to accommodate the changes that are made.

If you contract a urinary tract infection or bladder infection, you may find yourself needing to use more catheters than normal. This could potentially cause you to run out of your urinary catheter supplies sooner than your normal order would ship out. If this occurs, it’s important to make sure your doctor is aware of the situation. This will allow your doctor to both diagnose and treat your infection. Plus, they can update your prescription for more catheters at that time.

How fast will I get my catheter order?

Once we verify your insurance coverage, we will obtain your catheter prescription from your doctor, and then we work hard to get your catheter order out as soon as possible. Shipping times vary based on where you live. However, we understand the necessity and importance of your urinary catheter supplies. That’s why we will expedite your first catheter order if needed.

Because 180 Medical is committed to providing world-class customer service, we’ll work with you to make sure you have your supplies when and where you need them.

How does catheter reordering work?

Depending on your insurance plan’s requirements for refilling catheter orders, a 180 Medical Confirmations Specialist may call or email you (typically on a monthly basis) to see how you are doing on your supplies. If your order is needed, we will be sure to confirm that with you before shipping. This way, you will never run out of stock, nor will you be over-stocked with unnecessary supplies.

Please know that you can also contact us if you need to make any adjustments to your order or your address.

If your insurance plan does not require regular confirmation check-ins, we can set your catheter orders to ship on a recurring basis (monthly or once every three months, depending on your preference).

Rest assured, you are not held to any sort of contract when your catheter orders ship automatically. You can request to cancel or adjust your catheter orders with us at any time.

Where do you ship catheter supplies to?

We proudly serve customers across the entire United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Where can I buy catheters near me?

180 Medical is proud to ship urinary catheters nationwide for your convenience. Our main headquarters and warehouse are both located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but we also have offices all across the United States.

To find a location near you, see our list of office locations.

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General Catheter Use

Can I reuse catheters?

Washing and reusing catheters can be both time-consuming and inconvenient, not to mention unhealthy! While rewashing catheters may work for some, many people experience recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, studies show that sterile urinary catheter use (using a catheter one time and disposing of it) can reduce urinary tract infections. Most major insurance companies, including Medicare, recommend sterile use. This is because reusing catheters often leads to urinary tract infections, which costs insurance companies more money. The FDA has determined that intermittent catheters are single-use only devices. You can find these urinary catheter guidelines on any intermittent catheter packaging.

What can I do to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) or catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is one of the most common complications that catheter-users may experience.

Washing and reusing catheters may cause urinary tract infections. Therefore, one of the first steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection is to start sterile intermittent catheterization. This means using one sterile catheter straight from the package and then disposing of it after use.

Additionally, some people may experience more incidents of infection due to trauma to the urethra. This can occur if the catheter-user is not using enough lubrication with their catheter. You may find even better luck with advanced catheter products such as hydrophilic catheters. Hydrophilic urinary catheters have a unique lubrication surface that activates with water to stay smooth throughout catheterization. Many people comment that hydrophilic catheters are more comfortable for them and reduce friction and pain within the urethra.

To learn more about steps you can take to prevent a urinary tract infection, check out our 5 Tips to Help Reduce UTIs.

What are some common side effects or complications of using a urinary catheter?

Aside from catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), people may sometimes experience other complications at times, although rare.

For example, one of the most common complications of using a catheter is discomfort during catheterization. We have some easy fixes to make catheterization more comfortable, including making sure to fully lubricate your catheter before use or trying out an advanced catheter with lubrication bonded to its surface. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you’re using the right French size for your urethra.

Please note that using a catheter should not normally feel very painful. If you find blood or experience sharp pain during catheterization, call your doctor.

Other common complications of pain or irritation during catheterization could be related to a latex allergy or latex sensitivity. Try out a latex-free catheter to see if that minimizes your irritation issues.

If you find your urine flows too slowly or seeps around the catheter, you may be using a French size that is too small for your anatomy. Contact your doctor to determine the best French size for your needs.

When should I call my doctor?

If you experience any of the following, you may need to call your doctor:

  • Urinary tract infection or bladder infection symptoms
  • Sharp pain when using catheters
  • Blood or sediment in urine
  • Unusual pain in bladder, belly, lower back, or pelvic area
  • No urine or barely any urine is flowing out of the catheter
  • Cloudy, dark, or smelly urine

How do I insert a catheter into the bladder?

At 180 Medical, we’re glad to offer the support you need when you’re new to self-catheterization. You can learn how to catheterize with our helpful self-catheterization instruction guides for men, women, and children. We also have convenient online instructions for quick access to show you how to self-catheterize, including hygienic preparation, catheter insertion, draining urine from the bladder, withdrawal, and disposal.

Plus, we offer help for catheterization through the stoma or the urethra to help reduce any complications you may encounter.

How will I know when the catheter is in my bladder?

When the urinary catheter enters your bladder, urine should begin to flow out of the catheter. This process will continue until your bladder is completely empty.

How do I clean my catheter?

Because the FDA considers sterile intermittent catheters as single-use devices, we cannot recommend that you clean your catheters. This may increase your risk of urinary tract or bladder infections.

Instead, you should use each catheter fresh from its sterile package and then dispose of it after use.

What are catheters made of?

The three most common catheter materials are vinyl, red rubber latex, and silicone. On top of figuring out the right urinary catheter length and French size, it’s important to choose the right material as well.

Since everyone’s preferences, anatomy, and needs are unique, no single type of catheter material will be ideal for everyone across the board. Feel free to contact one of our Catheter Specialists to try out some options and find which catheter material works best for you!

Do you carry discreet catheters, pocket catheters, or compact catheters?

Yes, 180 Medical offers a wide variety of discreet catheter options to fit our customers’ varied needs and preferences, including travel catheters, compact catheters, and foldable catheter options. We also carry pocket catheters.

Pocket catheters are one of the most popular types of intermittent urinary catheters due to their convenience, ease of handling, and their ability to be carried discreetly.

We’re glad to help you find an intermittent catheter that may best fit your individual preferences. Additionally, we can verify your insurance plan to determine how and if these urinary catheter products are covered on your policy.

When is an intermittent catheter recommended?

If you have conditions such as urinary incontinence or urinary bladder retention, your doctor may recommend intermittent catheterization as an effective solution in place of an indwelling or Foley catheter.

Urinary retention indicates a condition where the bladder is not able to fully empty urine on its own.

Other potential conditions that may lead to the need for intermittent catheterization could include:

  • Bladder exstrophy
  • Spina bifida
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Major abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Prostate cancer
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Transverse myelitis

No matter the conditions that may lead to the need to use catheters, having the ability to intermittently catheterize can free you from having an indwelling catheter and drainage bag connected to your bladder at all times to collect urine. We hear from many customers who say that switching from Foley catheters to intermittent catheterization with sterile catheters helped them regain some of their independence.

You may also find a reduction in the number or frequency of complications, such as urinary tract infections.

Intermittent catheterization must be done according to your doctor’s prescribed treatment schedule. This may be a certain number of times per day or per week, depending on your individual condition and needs.

What catheter brands do you offer?

Since we specialize in intermittent catheters, we carry all of the major manufacturers and high-quality catheter brands and types. When you choose 180 Medical, you get the option to sample what catheter might work and feel best for you, and you also have the freedom of choice to pick the brand you prefer.

We carry popular brands such as Bard, Coloplast, Cure, GentleCath, hi-slip, Hollister, LoFric, and many more.

Take a look at our online Catheter Showcase to find a full urinary catheter list along with brief descriptions of each catheter.

catheter brands at 180 medical

What size of catheters should I use?

Getting a catheter with the right French size for you can increase the efficiency and comfort of self-cathing. What is a French size? It’s the diameter of your catheter tube.

To determine the French size catheter that works best for your body, consult with your prescribing healthcare professional.

Although we cannot offer medical advice or tell you what French size to use, we’re happy to work with you and your physician in getting the right catheter supplies for your needs.

What length of catheters should I use?

Catheters typically come in 3 lengths:

  • Male length (13 to 16 inches)
  • Female length (6 to 8 inches)
  • Pediatric length (10 to 12 inches)

Because men tend to have a longer urethra, they need to use a catheter with a longer tube to be able to reach the bladder. Women and children typically have shorter urethral lengths, which allows for a shorter average catheter length. However, women can choose whether they prefer a male length, pediatric length, or female length catheter.

Children may be a little more limited in length options outside of standard pediatric length catheters. This is because children also usually need a smaller French size to accommodate the smaller diameter of their urethras.

Men who want a shorter catheter package don’t have to sacrifice length. Instead, they may want to opt for a compact catheter option or a pocket catheter for men.

What types of catheters are available?

180 Medical carries a complete selection of straight and coudé tip catheters in a wide variety of sizes (including pediatric catheters) and materials (red rubber latex, silicone, vinyl (sometimes known as PVC), and antibacterial).

However, there’s more to catheters than French sizes, lengths, and materials. Understanding the different catheter product types available to you will help you make an informed decision and transition as easy as possible.

You have 3 main urologic catheter types from which to choose:
  • Intermittent catheters are often considered the original technology. They are sometimes called uncoated catheters because they require a manual application of lubricating jelly prior to insertion. These can sometimes be a good option for those who are under-insured or uninsured. This is because you can purchase them rather inexpensively.
  • Hydrophilic catheters are the preferred catheter type for those who experience the sensation of friction or discomfort during the cathing process. Hydrophilic catheters have a coating that is activated by water to be optimally hydrated and acts as a lubricant that is bound directly to the catheter tube’s surface, so it will not slough off or make a mess as you self-cath. The hydrophilic coating, once activated, stays smooth and slippery throughout to promote an easier and more comfortable insertion through the urethra on the way to the bladder.
  • Closed system catheters typically feature a pre-lubricated catheter housed inside its own sterile collection chamber. Because closed system catheters are an all-in-one system, people in wheelchairs and frequent travelers often prefer them. This catheter type offers its user privacy, comfort, and convenience. Closed system catheters may help prevent the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) as well by keeping the catheter from coming in direct contact with your hands as you pass it into the bladder. Also, most brands of closed system catheters feature a pre-lubricated introducer tip, which bypasses the highest concentrations of bacteria in the first few millimeters of the urethra.

When you order catheters from 180 Medical, your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are a catheter user but have never discussed your ideal choices for catheters with someone, please give us a call at 1-877-688-2729. Your health is too important to risk not using the right catheter product.

What are urinary catheters used for?

Urinary catheters work to drain the bladder in situations where it cannot empty completely on its own. Intermittent catheters are single-use devices. This is because you must insert them into the bladder via the urethra or a stoma.

Your doctor may recommend intermittent catheterization as part of your treatment plan for neurogenic bladder, retention, or urinary incontinence.

What is a coudé catheter?

A coudé tip catheter is a type of intermittent or Foley catheter that features a curved or bent insertion tip. Coudé catheters are generally only used when a standard straight tip catheter cannot be inserted easily or comfortably through the urethra.

This may occur when there is an obstruction in the urethra, or it may be due to another issue such as an enlarged prostate. Talk to your urologist about any issues you’re encountering to determine what is best for your anatomy and needs.

What is a closed system catheter?

A closed system catheter is a self-contained, sterile, pre-lubricated catheter housed within a collection bag. The collection bag eliminates the need to void the urine into a receptacle or toilet. As with all other types of catheters, it drains the bladder while bringing the comfort and convenience of a pre-lubricated, all-in-one system. Closed system catheters may minimize the risk of UTIs, thanks to the touchless or no-touch feature of a gripping sleeve or a way to manipulate the catheter from the bag into your urethra without directly touching and contaminating the tube on its way to your bladder. In addition, a closed system catheter features a soft, flexible introducer tip to help the catheter tube bypass the highest concentrations of bacteria on its way into the urethra. Find out more with our blog post that further explains the different parts of a closed system catheter.

Is it possible to catheterize in a public restroom?

Absolutely! For many people, it’s not always possible to be in the comfort of your own bathroom at home when it is time to self-cath. Cathing in public restrooms is actually much easier than it may seem at first. We know you can’t always guarantee the sterility of the restrooms you’re at when in public, at work, at school, or on vacation, so a product like a hydrophilic catheter or a closed system catheter may help make the process a little more convenient while reducing the risk of infection. These types of urinary catheter products can also keep your hands off of the catheter tube itself while making the process more comfortable.

At 180 Medical, we’re glad to offer the support you need when you’re new to self-catheterization. Our specialists are ready to listen to all of your concerns and find a solution for you with the right types of catheter products for your needs.

Can I bring catheters on an airplane?

Yes, many people travel with their catheters. Planning ahead of time can help ensure you have plenty of supplies in case of the unexpected, such as lost luggage or flight delays.

You may want to:

  • Familiarize yourself with the TSA’s carry-on bag guidelines
  • Pack extra catheters in your carry-on, purse, or backpack in case of delays or an emergency
  • Consider a discreet and lightweight option like a pocket catheter

For more helpful tips on traveling by air with catheters, check out our blog post written by a 180 Medical employee who has real-world experience as a quadriplegic.

What is DEHP?

DEHP is a chemical softener in many plastic and PVC vinyl products, including some medical devices like catheters. Some research has shown that DEHP and other phthalates could potentially link to health issues.

Because 180 Medical cares about the well-being of our customers, we want to make sure you have access to safe catheter supplies. This is why we’re committed to carrying DEHP-free catheter options.

Is DEHP harmful? Get the scoop on DEHP in catheters: https://www.180medical.com/blog/is-dehp-in-catheters-harmful.

is dehp in catheters bad

Using a catheter is painful for me. Are there more comfortable catheters available?

If you’re experiencing any symptoms such as pain or bleeding, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.

If you find cathing to be uncomfortable, you may have an easy solution at hand with the help of our trained catheter specialists. Since we specialize in catheters, we know our business from top to bottom. We understand that no single catheter brand or type will work or feel comfortable for everyone across the board. That’s why we make it a point to carry a wide selection of intermittent catheters for men, women, and children. Contact us today!

Take a look at some ways to reduce discomfort when you cath.

What if I want to pay for my catheters with cash?

personally deliveredAs an ACHC-accredited provider in-network with a growing number of insurance plans, 180 Medical works specifically to serve insured customers. However, you can still receive the same great quality supplies and pay out-of-pocket for them, even if you have low or no insurance coverage.

Try Personally Delivered for your sterile-use intermittent catheters, ostomy products, incontinence supplies, and more! You can easily order over the phone or online, set up recurring orders with a credit or debit card if you prefer, and receive your supplies discreetly and quickly — all without insurance.

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