Does Medicare Cover Electric Scooters?
The simple answer to this question is yes, Medicare covers electric scooters. But it’s better to rephrase the question to – what kind of electric scooters does Medicare cover?
To make things clear right off the bat, you can get an electric scooter from Medicare.
As you know, Medicare is for seniors and the disabled. This is why it pays to get a general understanding of Medicare and its offers.
What Is Medicare?
Workers know Medicare as one of the numerous categories of withholding taxes from their biweekly paychecks. It’s like Social Security – you pay into it now to support those who are eligible now, and when you become eligible, you will be supported by future workers.
It’s a health insurance program at the federal level but customizable by each individual state’s Medicare administration.
Those over 65 years of age (which lawmakers may raise if the program is insolvent) and the disabled (may be younger than 65) who have previously paid into the system are eligible. In addition, those with end-stage renal disease can also get Medicare coverage.
There are three basic parts of Medicare health insurance and they include:
This is the regular hospital insurance. It is designed to cover hospital stays, hospice, and professional nursing care. As an alternative, it can also cover certain home-based palliative care.
Medicare Part B is particularly interesting to those who wish to get an electric or mobility scooter (more on this later). It covers medical supplies (including scooters), some doctors’ bills, and medical prevention.
Part D covers prescription drugs and some additional services. Namely, the recipients get the original Medicare as well as some cost and private-fee-for-service plans. A nice addition is that Part D also comes with savings account plans for medical bills.
There is also the Medicare Advantage plan – referred to as Part C. It is basically a bundle that often includes some or all parts of the above.
How to Qualify for Medicare Part B
As mentioned, Medicare Part B is what you are looking for if you want Medicare to help you buy a mobility scooter that can help you move around.
According to this official publication, Part B Medicare insurance covers powered scooters, wheelchairs, and walkers. Medicare requires you to pay 20% of the scooter’s price and it’ll take care of the remaining 80%. However, people with impaired mobility need to meet certain criteria to qualify for the coverage.
The criteria include health conditions which prevent them from moving normally around the house. They must also be unable to perform daily activities like dressing, getting up, or going to the bathroom. But they have to be able to safely operate and mount the scooter or at least have someone who can help them use it.
In addition, the physician who recommends the scooter needs to be enrolled with Medicare. The same goes for the supplier. This is nothing new as only Medicare-approved health care providers and companies accept this insurance.
How to Get a Mobility Scooter from Medicare?
If you meet the criteria and have the Part B Medicare insurance, you should be immediately eligible to get a mobility scooter. But it’s worth pointing out that the insurance covers scooters only when medically necessary.
In other words, a doctor’s prescription is required and you need to have an appointment in person to verify your eligibility. Once that’s done, you can proceed to purchase a mobility scooter. But you can’t just go online and get one. You need to find a qualified supplier which accepts the federal government cost assignment.
Each Medicare DME supplier needs to adhere to a bunch of regulations and undergo rigorous control to qualify. That’s why you need to make sure that the supplier is actually enrolled with Medicare and ask if they are a participating supplier. In case a supplier is enrolled but doesn’t participate, you might get turned down.
Another thing you might want to consider is the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program. This program can change the amount Medicare pays for your electric scooter. However, it might not be available in all states.
The answer to the titular question should be expanded a little. Medicare does cover electric or mobility scooters but on an as-needed basis. In general, Medicare works great for the disabled and seniors who are unable to go about their daily lives on their own.
But if you want an insurance policy for your electric scooter, a good place to start is any of the popular car insurance companies.