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With the price of some of the best mobility scooters reaching well into the thousands of dollars, and even basic models starting around $500, any financial help you can get from Medicare would be a godsend. In this article I’ll share with you exactly what is covered by Medicare, and the pros and cons of the various options you have.
In short, YES, Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) will cover a mobility scooter. They are classified as Durable Medical Equipment under power-operated vehicles that are deemed medically necessary.
Of course, it’s not always as straightforward as you might think. (This is the government we’re talking about after all!) Here’s what you need to know…
Medicare Mobility Scooter Coverage
The most important thing you need to know before you go shopping for a mobility scooter is that to be covered by Medicare you must have a face-to-face examination by a doctor (or other treating provider) and get a written prescription. Scooters are only covered when they are medically necessary as determined by a doctor.
The second most important thing is that both your doctor and durable medical equipment supplier must be enrolled in Medicare. If either of them are not actively enrolled then Medicare simply won’t pay any claims made by them and you will end up paying the full amount.
And third, your suppliers must accept assignment. You see, doctors and durable medical equipment suppliers can be enrolled in Medicare but not be “participating” and therefore may choose not to accept assignment. If this is the case then they can charge you as much as they like for the mobility scooter. If they are participating, then you will only pay 20% of the cost of the scooter.
You can find more information directly on the Medicare website here.
How much will a mobility scooter cost me through Medicare?
In general, assuming your supplier accepts assignment, then you will pay just 20% of the Medicare-approved price, and the Part B deductible applies. The exact price you pay will depend on a number of factors including how much your doctor charges and whether they accept assignment, other insurance you might have, and where you get your scooter.
What’s the catch?
Medicare will only cover scooters that are deemed cost-effective, so you might not get one of the new flash models. And you may not get the choice of whether you are able to rent or buy. Because of this, many people prefer to skip going through Medicare and simply purchase the best scooter for their needs direct from retailers like Amazon. And when you see some of the new models available you might just be tempted to do the same!
Are electric scooters covered by Medicare?
Yes, electric scooters fall under the same “power-operated vehicles” classification of Durable Medical Equipment. As long as they are deemed medically necessary and you have a prescription then they will be covered.
Can you get a free mobility scooter?
While this would be amazing, chances are you’re not going to get a completely free mobility scooter through Medicare. You’ll generally pay 20% of the cost of the scooter.
Can I get help with buying a mobility scooter?
While everyone’s situation is unique, generally speaking if you are covered by Medicare Part B and have a medically diagnosed reason for getting a scooter then you should be able to get assistance in purchasing a scooter.
Does Social Security pay for mobility scooters?
No. Your Social Security application may take into consideration your use of Assistive Technology such as a mobility scooter in your disability claim, but it will be Medicare who provides the funding.
Where can I find approved Medicare suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment?
The Medicare.gov website has a handy supplier directory where you will find an up-to-date list of suppliers in your ZIP code area sorted by product category. Simply click the link to visit the Medicare website, enter your ZIP code, and select the “Power Operated Vehicles (Scooters)” category.