Medicare and Walkers
Walkers are recommended for patients who require physical support while walking. It may also be used when the patient is allowed to move around after surgery or an accident. In the case of elderly persons, walkers are useful to prevent falls and resulting fractures.
They are also used by people who are recovering from paralysis after stroke.
In the case of osteoarthritis, using a walker may help to reduce the weight exerted on the knees and hips and thus, prevent further damage to these joints.
If you have been advised to use a walker, read on to find out if it is covered by Medicare.
Does Medicare cover walkers?
Walkers are categorized under DME or durable medical equipment, which is covered by Medicare Part B. The cost of such equipment is reimbursed by Medicare provided certain criteria are met with.
However, a part of the cost may still have to be borne by you. Let us have a look at when Medicare covers walkers and the costs that are reimbursed.
When are walkers covered by Medicare?
Walkers are covered by Medicare when three requirements given below are met:
- The walker should be considered a necessity for the specific medical condition of the patient. It should be implicitly mentioned that the treatment or the recovery of the injury or the disorder the patient is diagnosed with requires the use of a walker. And this determination has to be made only by a qualified healthcare professional.
- The walker has to be prescribed by the doctor. Just like prescription medications, the patient must obtain a written prescription for the walker and submit the same along with the copy of the invoice of the walker to be qualified for Medicare coverage.
- The doctor, as well as the walker supplier, should accept Medicare assignment. This means the healthcare physician who writes the prescription and the supplier providing the walker need to accept Medicare assignment.
Medicare may cover a part of the purchase cost of the walker or its rental amount, depending on the case.
The expenses you have to bear for a walker
Even though Medicare covers walkers when the above-mentioned criteria are fulfilled, you may still have to bear a few expenses yourself.
You have to pay the monthly premium of Medicare Part B that includes the coverage for walkers and other similar medical equipment such as wheelchairs and lift chairs.
You will also need to satisfy the annual deductible for Medicare Part B before the coverage of walkers can take effect.
In case you have already fulfilled the Part B deductible, you would be responsible for paying 20% of the cost of the walker approved by Medicare.
Medicare Advantage plan
Medicare Part C that includes Medicare Advantage Plans also provide coverage for walkers similar to the Original Medicare Part A and Part B.
The cost of the walker is covered under Medicare provided it has been proven to be a medical necessity and prescribed by the doctor. It is also essential for the doctor and the equipment provider to accept Medicare assignment for the reimbursement. You can also choose Medicare Advantage Plans for wider coverage of walkers.
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