Many Medicare recipients rely on durable medical equipment like mobility aids to get around every day. They are essential for helping some people maintain their independence and quality of life. A mobility aid is a piece of equipment that can help people who have difficulty walking by themselves, and walkers, wheelchairs, or rollators are popular. But, do Medicare benefits extend to these pieces of equipment, or do you have to pay for them yourself? Read on to find out.
What is a Rollator?
A rollator has a durable frame as you’d find on a traditional walker, but it has three or four big wheels on the base instead of legs. You’ll typically get handlebars with a comfortable grip, and some include durable seats where you can take a rest when you’re out and about. The seat can double as a storage compartment by lifting it to reveal the basket underneath, or you could have a basket attached to the frame.
Depending on the rollator, you can get different features. One of the first essential features across each brand is adjustable handlebars. This allows you to adjust your new rollator to fit your arm requirements and height, and it’s critical to ensure your safety. You can adjust some rollators to be useful for adults or children.
Weight capacity is the second important consideration you want to keep in mind. Standard setups can safely support up to 250 pounds. However, there are other options that can support up to 500 pounds safely. Handbrakes help to increase your safety, and you can engage them when you rest or to keep your rollator from getting away from you.
Does Medicare Part B Cover Durable Medical Equipment?
The short answer is yes. Your Medicare Part B benefits will cover a three-wheeled walker and other assistive equipment. However, there are important stipulations you have to meet in order for Medicare to cover the cost. These stipulations include:
- Accept Medicare Assignment – Finally, both the three-wheeled walker supplier and your doctor have to accept a Medicare assignment. If one or the other doesn’t, it could fall to you to either find another doctor, supplier, or three-wheeled walker.
- Medically Necessary – Your provider must declare that the three-wheeled walker is medically necessary. Medicare considers durable medical equipment to be medically necessary if you need these items to treat or diagnose a condition, injury, illness, disease, or symptoms. Only a qualified medical professional can make this determination, and they have to put it in writing.
- Prescribed by a Doctor – Just like your prescription medication, your doctor must prescribe or order your three-wheeled walker. If they don’t, your Medicare benefits won’t cover the cost, and you’ll have to pay for it out of your own pocket.
How Much Your Three-Wheeled Walker Can Cost
Even though Medicare will cover the cost of the rollator, you might still have to pay at least some out of pocket costs. The first cost would be your Part B premium. In 2019, the Part B premium was around $136 per month.
The second cost is your Part B deductible, and this was $185 in 2019. Your coverage for your rollator won’t kick in until you satisfy your deductible. If you’ve already paid your deductible, you usually have to pay 20% of the rollator’s cost.
If you have any questions about getting a three-wheeled walker, your doctor can typically answer your questions or start the necessary paperwork for you. They’ll work with you to help ensure your Medicare benefits cover your three-wheeled walker.