Does Medicare Cover Walkers?
This article was updated on: 09/12/2018
Has your doctor or other health-care practitioner recommended you use a walker or other device to help you move around? If you are a Medicare beneficiary enrolled in Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), your Part B benefits may help with some of the costs of your walker if your doctor prescribes it for you to use at home and you get the equipment through a Medicare-enrolled durable medical equipment supplier that participates in the Medicare program.
Learn about the types of medical walkers that Medicare covers and how you can get help paying for your equipment.
What types of medical walkers qualify for Medicare coverage?
There are three main types of walkers:
- Standard, non-wheeled walker, which must be picked up and put down with each step
- Two-wheel walker with legs in rear
- Four wheeled walker, also called a rollator, which works best for individuals who don’t need to lean on the walker for balance
All three of the above devices fall under the category of durable medical equipment (DME) and are eligible for Medicare coverage under Part B, provided qualifying conditions are met. These benefits may apply whether you rent or purchase your walker.
In some cases, your health-care provider may prescribe a motorized scooter to help you get around. You may be eligible for Part B coverage of a motorized scooter, as long as your provider can demonstrate it is medically necessary for your condition and for use in your home. Keep in mind, however, that Medicare does not cover these devices if they are only necessary for use outside your home.
How does Medicare coverage of walkers work?
Under Original Medicare, walkers are covered under Medicare Part B as durable medical equipment. If you buy or rent your walker through a supplier that accepts assignment, Part B pays 80% of the allowable cost for the durable medical equipment after your deductible is met. You will be billed for the deductible (if you haven’t reached it for that year), plus your 20% share of the Medicare-approved cost for the walker.
Medicare only covers the walker if you get it through a supplier that is enrolled in the Medicare program; if you aren’t sure, always double-check with the supplier first. In addition, your costs will be lowest if you use a “participating” Medicare provider, meaning the supplier has agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amount as full payment (although you’ll still be responsible for cost sharing). If you do not use a DME supplier who participates in Medicare and accepts assignment, there is no limit to the amount you can be charged for your walker.
Recently, Medicare implemented a new cost-saving measure called the Competitive Bidding Program, which helps to better align Medicare’s allowable charges with the actual costs of durable medical equipment. If you live in a part of the country where the program is in effect, you must use specific suppliers who are contracted with the Medicare program in order for your walker to be covered.
Are there other Medicare coverage options for medical walkers?
Some beneficiaries may decide to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan to get at least the same level of Medicare benefits, while expanding coverage beyond Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything included in Original Medicare coverage (with the exception of hospice care, which remains covered under Original Medicare), but since these plans are offered through Medicare-approved private insurance companies, they may offer additional benefits not available under Part A and Part B.
Since Original Medicare covers medical walkers, you’ll also be covered for this durable medical equipment under a Medicare Advantage plan if you meet eligibility requirements. In addition, depending on the plan, you may have the opportunity to get coverage for routine vision or dental care, hearing, and/or prescription drug benefits. In addition, plan members may have access to benefits such as wellness programs. Under Original Medicare, these types of benefits aren’t covered. Medicare Advantage plans vary by state and insurance company, and not all plan benefits are available in all states.
Want to know more about how Medicare coverage can help with your mobility issues? I am happy to give you information and answer your questions. You can schedule a phone call or request an email by clicking on the buttons below. If you like, click on the “View profile” link to learn more about me. You can also find out about plan options in your area by clicking the Compare Plans button.
This website and its contents are for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.