Crutches can play an important role in your recovery. They can help you get up and walking after a surgery, injury, or illness, helping to restore your strength and circulation. Increasing your stability as you move around, crutches can help you manage your daily activities of living. Independence is important to Medicare recipients and your Medicare insurance can help cover the costs of the medical equipment you need.
There are different types of crutches a physician may suggest depending on your specific physical needs, including:
- Axillary Crutches: The most common form of crutches, can be adjusted depending on your height
- Forearm Crutches: Also known as an elbow crutch, recommended for use in life-long disabilities
- Platform Crutches: The “triceps crutch” provides stability with a lower cuff below the back of the elbow to avoid contact with bones
Based on your upper body strength, level of activity, and specific medical needs, your doctor may prescribe crutches to help you get around safely and comfortably. If you are eligible for Medicare benefits, your Part B insurance can help you pay for the cost of your crutches while you need them.
How Medicare Can Help Pay for Crutches
Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover the costs of durable medical equipment (DME) prescribed by your physician, including crutches. DME must meet specific criteria, such as:
- It must be for use in your home.
- It must be medically necessary.
- It must be durable and have an expected lifetime of at least 3 years.
Anyone with Medicare Part B is eligible for these benefits. While most people are automatically enrolled in Part A (Hospital Insurance) when they are first eligible for Medicare, Part B is optional. Many Medicare recipients enroll in Part B as soon as they are eligible to avoid late enrollment penalties when they decide to enroll later. You will pay a monthly premium for Part B and will be responsible for a yearly deductible.
How much will your crutches cost?
As long as your physician is enrolled in Medicare and medical equipment supplier accepts assignment, you will likely pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and the Part B deductible applies. Your physician and DME supplier must be participating in Medicare in order for Medicare to help cover these costs. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, you will have at least the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare. Many MA plans offer additional benefits, so talk to your plan directly to find out your exact costs.