An electric wheelchair can open the door to greater independence and a more active lifestyle for individuals who do not have the ability or upper body strength to propel themselves in a manual wheelchair.
Companies offering Medicare supplement insurance, also called medigap coverage, will often cover a portion of the cost of a power wheelchair for those who are Medicare eligible (see below). The amount covered can represent up to thousands in out-of-pocket savings.
Note: Before you purchase Medicare supplement insurance, compare options and insurers to ensure you are getting the extra coverage you need at the price you can afford. Online tools and comparison charts are useful in the decision-making process. For example, ConsumersAdvocate.org is a helpful resource for reviewing insurers offering Medicare supplement policies.
Your specific medical need, the type of mobility chair you require, the wheelchair you choose, and the state in which you live are factors that contribute to eligibility requirements.
Medicare requires the following conditions for a power wheelchair or scooter to be covered.
Medicare will not cover the purchase of a power wheelchair if it is will be used primarily for leisure or recreational activities, or if it is only needed to move around outside your home. However there could be tax advantages in doing this using an easy tax calculator to determine eligibility. For more information on Medicare qualifications, visit www.medicare.gov.
Steps for Medicare Qualification
Medicare and most private insurers will cover between 50% and 80% of the allowable price for power chairs. The amount that your insurance company pays will depend in part on the type of mobility chair you require and the state in which you live.
Most secondary insurance companies will cover what your primary insurance does not pay. If you don't have Medicare supplement insurance, or the remaining expense would create a financial hardship, ask for special consideration to help you get the power wheelchair.
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