Mobility issues during recovery from an injury or after surgery on the lower leg can be relieved by the use of a knee scooter or knee walker. These scooters are specifically designed to provide support through a cushioned knee rest and mobility with a wheeled base. Many Medicare recipients with mobility issues want to know more about Medicare coverage for knee scooters.
Choosing Knee Scooters or Crutches
Traditional crutches are commonly used to help you get around while your leg heals. While crutches may be a suitable and affordable option for short recovery periods, they may not be appropriate for people without enough upper body strength and resilience to maneuver easily. Crutches can be cumbersome to use. Irritation beneath the arms and the fact that they require the use of two hands can make opening and closing doors or carrying other belongings difficult.
Knee scooters are often preferred for their ease of use and the freedom of movement they allow users to have. They may be considered safer for anyone with balance issues. Although they may be more expensive on average than a pair of crutches, knee walkers can be an affordable alternative to a wheelchair when someone needs temporary mobility support.
Common Features of Knee Scooters
There may be a variety of brands who make knee scooters or walkers, but a majority of these products follow similar principles when it comes to design features.
- Steering handle. This may be two-handled or a single bar depending on the scooter model. Rubber grips can help keep hands from sliding or developing blisters through use, but they may not be available on all models.
- Cushioned rest. An important feature for comfortable use, especially if the knee scooter is being used for an extended period of time. A contoured rest made with sturdy material may be more durable than a flat cushion or thin material that can split with heavy use.
- Wheeled base. Knee scooters have three to four wheels, but some may even have five to improve stability and ease of use when turning. The type of wheel used will determine how suitable the scooter is for different kinds of terrain. The base itself should be made of strong material, like metal, to prevent warping or breaking through use.
- Brake. A brake can help control maneuverability and is an important safety feature for instances where you may be going downhill, even moderately. Many brakes can be set into a fixed position so that you can perform tasks while stationary and upright without worrying about the scooter moving out from beneath you.
- Basket. While this may seem like a convenient accessory, it can prove to be an essential feature while shopping or using the scooter outside. Some knee scooters come with a basket included while others must be purchased separately.
- Reflectors. In the event you intend to use the scooter outside at night, reflectors are an important safety accessory that can help make drivers aware of your presence, much like reflectors on a bicycle or wheelchair.
- Seat. Some knee scooters are built to accommodate a sitting posture and may be versatile enough to switch between a standing position and a seated one. While not as common as the standard upright knee scooter, this can be a useful alternative for those who tire quickly or need more mobility support.
Medicare Coverage for Knee Scooters
Although Medicare benefits through Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) can cover the costs of renting or purchasing durable medical equipment (DME), a knee scooter does not meet the program’s requirements for Medicare Part B coverage. Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage plan or dual-eligibility with Medicaid may offer additional coverage options that help with the cost of a knee scooter, but these are dependent on each insurer and their state.