Q: Will Medicare cover the cost of wheelchairs and walkers?
A: Yes. Medicare Part B covers a portion of the cost for medically-necessary wheelchairs, walkers and in-home medical equipment. Talk with your doctor about your needs. He or she can write a prescription that can be filled at a designated medical supply company. In most cases, patients will pay about 20 percent of the cost – and some plans allow those charges to be paid out over a two-year period.
Depending on where you live, you may be in an area that is using Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment. If you are, you’ll need to make sure you’re using a Medicare contract supplier, and your charges still won’t exceed 20 percent of the cost. Because the Competitive Bidding Program has resulted in lower costs on durable medical equipment, the portion that the patient pays is also lower.
If the patient has a Medigap (Medicare supplemental insurance) plan, it will likely pay all or a portion of the 20 percent coinsurance for durable medical equipment like wheelchairs.
Used wheelchairs, walkers and basic medical supplies can also be found at an even greater savings as church bazaars, estate sales, garage sales and online.