Does Medicare Cover Wheelchairs?

Medicare does cover wheelchairs and power-operated scooters for qualified beneficiaries.

Learn more below about Medicare coverage of mobility devices and the costs you might need to pay.

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Medicare Part B covers durable medical equipment (DME)

Wheelchairs are covered by Medicare Part B medical insurance, which provides coverage for many other items categorized as durable medical equipment (DME). Durable medical equipment is special equipment that is prescribed by your health care provider.

Medicare covers wheelchairs and other DME that are designed to help people get around, such as walkers, crutches and more.

There are some stipulations however:

  • Only manual wheelchairs may be covered. A power wheelchair is covered only when determined to be medically necessary by a doctor. You must have a face-to-face examination with a doctor and obtain a written prescription for a power wheelchair in order for it to be covered.

  • There are 33 types of power wheelchairs that require prior authorization before Medicare will pay for them. The supplier of the wheelchair is responsible for submitting the coverage request to Medicare.

  • Depending on the type of wheelchair supplied, you may need to rent or buy the item in order for it to be covered. You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the wheelchair.

After you meet your annual Part B deductible ($185 in 2019), you will pay 20 percent of the remaining cost of the wheelchair, as long as the supplier accepts Medicare assignment.

If the supplier does not accept Medicare assignment, they may charge up to 15 percent more than the Medicare-approved amount, a charge that is known as a Part B “excess charge.”

Further information about how Medicare covers wheelchairs can be found at Medicare.gov, the official government website for Medicare.

Medicare Advantage plans cover wheelchairs

You may also be able to find a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Special Needs Plan that offers additional coverage of wheelchairs. All Medicare Advantage plans must offer the same benefits available under Medicare Part A and Part B, so they will at least cover wheelchairs as detailed above, and some plays may cover even more of the costs.

Contact a licensed insurance agent today at TTY Users: 711 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) for more information about Medicare Advantage plans that cover wheelchairs in your area.

A licensed agent can also help you compare the other benefits that may be available to help you get the most out of your Medicare coverage.

 

Learn more about what Medicare covers

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