Not only is it a limitation on your independence, but it can also affect your health. A lack of mobility can lead to a variety of medical issues, including deep vein thrombosis and osteoporosis. A lack of mobility can make it difficult to get around the house and prevent you from getting out.
Fortunately, there are options to keep your independence — mobility scooters for seniors. A scooter or motorized chair can not only be convenient, but also help improve your health. Medicare may cover mobility scooters (eg elderly scooter, medical scooter). Mobility scooter lifts for vehicles or stairs are not covered.
Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), determined that these devices were “reasonable and needed for beneficiaries who have an individual mobility deficit sufficient to impair them participation in mobility-related activity.” Basic daily functions like washing, bathing and cooking are all included. Medicare refers to mobility scooters often as “mobility assistance equipment” (MAE). This term can be used to refer to all mobility scooters as well as power wheelchairs and motor vehicles.
HOW CAN I GET ELIGIBLE TO JOIN A MOBILITY SCOOTER?
- There are some things you should know. The first is to talk with your doctor. He or she must submit a written statement stating that you require a wheelchair or scooter in your home. A personal checkup must be done with your doctor before you can request a scooter. You must use the scooter only in your home. It cannot be used for outdoor or recreational purposes. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be used outside of the home.
- Each of these conditions must be met:
- You have a health condition that makes it difficult to move around your home.
- Even with a crutch, cane, or walker, daily activities are difficult. You will need to wash your clothes, dress, get in and out of bed (or chair), or use the bathroom.
- You must be able operate the wheelchair or scooter, or have someone help you safely use it.
- You must have access to the equipment in your home.
If you are incapable of operating a manual wheelchair, you may be eligible for a motorized chair. To be eligible for a mobility scooter you must be able to stand upright and use the controls. Although this sounds simple, some medical conditions can make it difficult. You can ask your doctor if you are able to safely use a scooter.
Medicare will approve and pay you 20% of the Medicare-approved amount. The Medicare Part B deductible must be met. Any Medicare benefit must be included in a specific benefit category. It cannot be excluded by law. You may be required to purchase your wheelchair or scooter from an approved supplier in some states. Renting a scooter may be feasible if you are only using it for a short period of time. Some companies and individuals have taken advantage Medicare policies to rent mobility scooters.
There are a few things you should remember about potential fraud:
- You should be offered a scooter or wheelchair by a company. You will most likely need to pay 20%, even if your eligibility is met.
- If a company offers to waive your copayment, it is a good choice.
- Medicare may bill you for equipment that you have never received.
- Medicare will be billed for any equipment that is not returned.
There are many types of scooters available. Some have three wheels while others have four. There are both indoor and outdoor scooters. Some are more versatile than others. Find a scooter that fits in your space.
Your living space should be functional and easy to use.
- Mobility products are available for those who have difficulty moving or are unable to do so safely. Mobility aids will help you maintain your independence while also improving your safety against falls and injuries. There are many options for mobility aids. These include walkers and canes for the more mobile and electric scooters and manual wheelchairs for those who have significantly reduced mobility. An evaluation is required if you fall under the last category to determine which type of scooter, manual wheelchair or electric wheelchair is right for you.
Request an Evaluation
- Your doctor is the first step to getting a mobility aid. Your evaluation may be performed by an occupational therapist. However, the doctor must write a prescription for Medicare patients. To determine which mobility product is right for you, the doctor or therapist will use certain criteria.
During your evaluation, the following will be tested:
- Your overall strength. If your legs and upper body are weak, an electric scooter or manual chair may not be possible for you. You must be able to stand upright on your own without any assistance.
- Your upper-body strength. Even if your body strength is sufficient, you still need to have enough strength in the upper body, arms and hands to operate a mobility scooter. Your upper-body strength can also decide if you can operate a manual or electric wheelchair.
- Balance: Your ability to balance. If you have difficulty standing, you might not be able use a manual wheelchair.
CHOOSING A ELECTRIC SHOOTER
Once you have determined that an electric scooter is the best mobility product for you, you can start to choose what kind of scooter you want. There are many types of scooters available with various accessories and options. All scooter models share the same basic features. The scooters have a seat that sits on top of a platform with wheels and a column at its front with controls or hand rests. The column is known as the tiller. The base unit provides support for your feet. It also contains the drive system, battery, and drive system. The results of your doctor or therapist will be helpful in deciding which unit you should choose. You might have trouble using hand controls if your hand strength is lower. There are other types of controls.
Other factors to be considered:
- Your scooter will be used wherever you want it to. There are three- and four-wheeled options for electric scooters. The four-wheeled model is better for outdoor use and will provide more stability on uneven terrain. Because it’s easier to maneuver inside, the three-wheeled model is better suited for indoor use.
- Are you planning to take your scooter along in your car? You can choose from full-size scooters or portable scooters. You can fold the scooter and put it in your vehicle. This is a great option if you’re still driving and don’t need an extra scooter lift.
Medicare Coverage For Electric Mobility Scooters
Medicare Part B will pay most of the cost for electric mobility scooters. However, your doctor must approve it as medically necessary. You must use the scooter primarily to move around your home, and not for recreational purposes. After meeting your Part B deductible, you may be required to pay 20%.
Additional requirements for Medicare coverage are:
- You must have your evaluation done by a qualified doctor.
- Documentation is required for the evaluation. It must state that you require a mobility aid due to a medical condition. This certificate of medical necessity is called a “Certificate of Medical Needsity”.
- Before Medicare can bill you, you must show the prescription or order to the Medicare-approved supplier of electric scooters
- You must be able safely to operate the scooter and get on or off it.
- Good vision is essential
- You must be unable to move about in your own home due to a medical condition.
Medicare Coverage Changes for 2011
Medicare coverage has been modified for “Durable Medical Equipment” (which includes medical supplies and electric scooters). These changes are important to understand. Medicare implemented competitive bidding at the end 2010 in an attempt to reduce costs. Medicare-approved suppliers and providers of durable medical equipment had to submit competitive bids. The “winning” bids are selected and Medicare-approved suppliers are chosen.
There are stricter guidelines that doctors and providers must follow when assessing your need for a mobility device. Although these evaluations were always done face-to-face in order for Medicare to approve a scooter or wheelchair, they are now more detailed and lengthy.
Does Medicare cover Mobility Scooters?
Medicare Part B (medical insurance), covers motorized scooters that are durable medical equipment (DME). You must be able to use a scooter with limited mobility.
A written order must be signed by your doctor stating that you require a scooter for personal use.
A health condition has made it difficult for you to move around your home.
Even with an assistive device, you can’t do daily activities like dressing, bathing, dressing and getting in or out from bed.
You can safely use the scooter, including getting on or off it. A caregiver is available to assist you with safety.
The equipment can be used in your own home if it is small enough to pass through your doors.
Both your doctor as well as the equipment supplier can be Medicare-approved.
After you have paid your Part B deductible, Medicare will approve the device. You may be liable for 20 percent of the Medicare approved amount. Medicare may cover the remaining 80 percent.
Medigap Coverage for Scooters
Medigap (Medicare Supplemental) is a type private insurance policy that helps pay for financial items like Medicare coinsurance (like the 20 per cent you would pay for a scooter), and copays. 2019 Medigap plans offer 10 coverage levels, each with a letter.
Notice: Plans that include Part B deductibles (Plan F or Plan C) will be ending in 2020. Talk to an agent to get coverage. After January 1, 2020, those plans will no longer be available to new Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare Advantage Scooter Coverage
Medicare Advantage plans can be private insurance policies that provide coverage for additional services beyond Original Medicare. Although Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage sound similar, they are very different.
Medigap plans pay Original Medicare-related costs. Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for the same services that Original Medicare but can also provide additional benefits like hearing, vision, or fitness classes. A Medicare Supplement cannot be combined with a Medicare Advantage plan. It is best to speak to an agent to find the right plan for you.
Medicare Advantage plans may have lower fees for mobility scooters. However, the exact cost of your plan will vary.