Electric wheelchairs can be provided through Medicare after meeting certain criteria. Here are requirements one must meet before applying for a motorized wheelchair:
1. One must be enrolled under part B coverage by Medicare, which provides supplemental coverage for health care that is not covered under part A, which includes medical equipment and supplies. One can check the Medicare card to know if they are enrolled under Medicare part B.
2. One must be disabled in the upper body or be unable to use a manual scooter. This can be verified by your physician. Your physician will write a detailed report indicating your condition, current treatment plan, and the need for a motorized wheelchair. Your physician will also have to write a prescription for a medical mobility scooter.
3. Medicare may approve the electric mobility scooter if you are unable to walk on your own even with the support of other equipment, cannot use a manual mobility scooter, need the scooter for use within the home, are able to get on or get off the electric wheelchair safely, and need the electric mobility scooter to move around the home safely. The patient’s condition should be such that without a motorized wheelchair, he or she would have to spend most of his or her time on the bed or lying down. If all the above criteria are met, but the patient is unable to use the controls of a Medicare mobility scooter, he or she may be disqualified.
4. One needs to present the physician’s report and prescription to the Medicare approved equipment supplier and then contact Medicare. Although one can purchase electric wheelchairs from any equipment supplier, Medicare will pay for it only if it is sourced from an approved equipment supplier. While participating suppliers offer a lower price, the non-participating supplier’s price for electric wheelchairs may be 15% higher and they may ask for the entire amount of the motorized wheelchair to be paid at the time of delivery. A Medicare supplier must meet Medicare standards and have a Medicare supplier number.
5. One can rent a mobility scooter under Medicare coverage. Since electric wheelchairs fall under “capped rental category,” the patient will be given an option to purchase the motorized wheelchair after nine rental payments. If one decides to buy the electric wheelchair, only three additional payments are necessary, and the mobility scooter belongs to the patient.
More information about Medicare coverage for electric wheelchairs can be obtained from the Medicare website. Also, if one has coverage under the HMO - Health Maintenance Organization or PPO - Preferred Provider Organization, then the procedure or steps may be slightly different for obtaining a mobility scooter. Check the policy details for specific instructions.
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