Motorized scooters can make a big difference in the lives of Medicare recipients who want to age in place. Independence can become a challenge as we age, but a scooter can help prevent or postpone the need for assisted living. Maintaining a safe environment is essential inside and outside your home. A scooter can help you move around comfortably inside your home, but can be used outdoors as well. If you are unable to drive due to vision problems or other health concerns, a scooter can help you maintain an active lifestyle without a driver’s license.

Scooters vs. Motorized Wheelchairs

Motorized wheelchairs and scooters can be prescribed by your physician as medically necessary durable medical equipment.  Depending on your specific needs, a doctor may prescribe a traditional wheelchair, scooter, or motorized wheelchair. Motorized wheelchairs are commonly prescribed for people who cannot use a traditional wheelchair due to health constraints, such as upper body muscle weakness. Physicians will often prescribe a motorized wheelchair for patients who need assistance at most times and will use it mainly inside the home.

A scooter, on the other hand, expands the range of travel for someone struggling with mobility.  Scooters are battery-charged overnight and can be used for short distances outside of the home. They can give you the freedom to go to the grocery store, church, or a neighbor’s house for coffee. With three or four wheels, scooters are stable enough to manage sidewalks. If you recently lost your driver’s license or access to a car, a scooter can be the key to an active lifestyle. If a patient has good vision, hearing, and cognitive skills and can get in and out of the scooter without help and operate it safely, a physician may choose to order a scooter.  People suffering with respiratory issues, COPD, multiple sclerosis, severe arthritis, obesity, and other serious health conditions often benefit from a scooter’s unique features.

Medicare Can Help

If you are eligible for Medicare, your Part B benefits can help cover the cost of durable medical equipment (DME), including power-operated scooters. You must meet the following criteria:

  • Your doctor must submit a written order stating that you have a medical need for the scooter for use inside of your home.
  • You have limited mobility.
  • You have a medical condition that limits your mobility around your home.
  • You are unable to perform the daily activities of living (such as bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom) with the help of a walker or cane.
  • You can safely operate the scooter.
  • You can get on and off the scooter without assistance.
  • Your doctor must be approved by Medicare.
  • The scooter must be purchased (or rented) by a Medicare-approved supplier that accepts assignment and is currently participating in Medicare.
  • The scooter fits and can be used within your home.

If you have Original Medicare, you will likely pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and the Part B deductible applies. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will have at least the same Part A and Part B coverage as Original Medicare, but many MA plans offer additional benefits.