Are you asking yourself, does Medicare pay for a walker? How do I get durable medical equipment and walkers covered by Medicare? What are the best walkers?
Walkers can cost a lot. If they’re essential to your health, getting part of the cost covered by Medicare can go a long way!
We have a quick guide to your questions and more, whether it’s about Medicare or the best walkers for seniors.
Does Medicare Cover Walkers?
There are two factors that decide the answer to the question: “Does Medicare cover getting a walker?”
If your doctor wrote a prescription for it and if Medicare deems the walker medically necessary, then it’s within coverage.
Generally, walkers are covered by Medicare as they’re considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME) under Part B.
How Do I Get My Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and Walkers Covered By Medicare?
Getting Medicare to pay for a walker has a few requirements you must follow. If you don’t, you may not get Medicare-approved.
Here are the requirements:
#1 Deemed Medically Necessary by Medicare-Approved Physician
The first requirement is to go to a Medicare-approved physician. They will perform a check-up and determine if a walker is considered medically necessary.
Being medically necessary means you need it to DIAGNOSE or TREAT an illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms.
REMEMBER: You should get a physician or doctor that will accept Medicare. If you go to one that doesn’t, your Medicare might not cover walkers!
#2 Prescribed by Medicare-Enrolled Doctor
The doctor will then give a prescription based on their findings and check-up. If they determine that the walker is MEDICALLY NECESSARY, they will give you a prescription.
In some cases, your doctor will also have to provide the prescription or written proof to Medicare that using the walker will improve your health.
The doctor must show that you need more support than a cane or crutches. If these requirements are met, it should be covered under Medicare Part B.
#3 Both the Doctor and Medicare-Approved Supplier Accept Assignment
An important fact to remember is that Medicare can only cover Durable Medical Equipment like walkers with a Medicare-approved supplier with a Medicare supplier number.
Your doctor or healthcare provider can help you find a local elderly walker supplier near you that is Medicare-approved, or you can contact Medicare directly for assistance.
If both the Medicare-approved doctor and supplier accept the assignment, they both accept the Medicare-approved amount as FULL PAYMENT for a covered service.
Medicare will pay for the replacement of your walking aid if it gets lost or stolen. It will also pay for a replacement if the old walker gets worn out through regular use.
How Can Medicare Pay for a Walker?
There are two ways Medicare can pay for walkers — through Medicare Part B or Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).
Using Medicare Part B (Original Medicare)
In most cases, you must first pay your yearly deductible, around $226, in 2023. Then, you’ll only have to pay 20% as an out-of-pocket expense from the Medicare-approved price.
This is because Medicare will pay for the remaining 80% of the cost.
The cost CAN CHANGE depending on certain circumstances, like whether you rent or buy the walker or the cost determined by the doctor and supplier.
Using a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
Coverage for the Medicare Advantage Plan varies depending on the specifics of the plan. These plans are required to cover the same things that the original Medicare plan does.
Therefore, the Medicare Advantage Plan coverage should include walkers, canes, a wheelchair, or other DME (Durable Medical Equipment).
However, the requirements may vary. You can ask about these requirements and other information from a Medicare Advantage health insurance representative.
Medicare Supplement Plans
A Medicare Supplement Plan can help pay for the remaining 20% you’d normally have to pay. However, you may have to pay a deductible amount first.
Types of Walkers Covered By Medicare
Now, we’ll talk about the different types of walkers that your Medicare medical insurance offers.
Each one has specific features catered towards different people, so read carefully. You should pick one based on what your prescription says!
Traditional or Standard Walker
Standard walkers have four legs and need to be picked up and moved every time you take a few steps. A traditional walker is best used when walking SHORTER DISTANCES.
If you fall forward often, this type of walker will suit you. They’re usually lightweight, have an adjustable frame, and can be collapsed for easy transport.
The handlebars or hand grips can be made of rubber, plastic, foam, or gel. The rubber feet at the bottom of the legs help with reducing the chances of it slipping.
An upright walker differs from other types of walkers because of the different positioning of the adjustable handlebars. They allow for different height and arm requirements.
Doing this puts less stress on the wrists and hands and more on the forearms, allowing for a more straight and upright walking position, hence the name.
This type of walker also reduces the pain in the lower back, neck, arms, and wrists that’s usually associated with standard walkers.
However, because of the higher center of gravity, this DME has a higher chance of tipping out of balance if the weight capacity is exceeded.
WARNING: Check the requirements for this Durable Medical Equipment, or ask your doctor if they’ve prescribed it to you.
There are two types of wheeled walkers. One is the two-wheeled, and the other is the four-wheeled or rollator walker. Two-wheeled walkers also have four legs, similar to the standard walker.
However, the front has two wheels so that you can put your weight on them while moving. The back two legs remain the same to prevent the walker from rolling away when stationary.
On the other hand, the rollator walker has four wheels to help with FULL SUPPORT when walking.
For both types of wheel-based Durable Medical Equipment, you can choose smaller or larger wheels depending on the surface you’ll be using it on.
Frequently Asked Questions:
After learning about the answer to whether Medicare pays for a walker, you might still have other questions about Medicare or walkers.
We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions below:
How Many Walkers Will Medicare Pay For?
Medicare coverage will allow them to purchase a new walker every five years.
If your walker needs repair during that period, they’ll cover the costs. However, only a Medicare-approved supplier can repair the Durable Medical Equipment.
If the walker was lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair, then Medicare will cover the cost and replace it for FREE!
What Kinds of Mobility Aids Will Medicare Cover?
Medicare Part B’s coverage includes power-operated vehicles like scooters and Durable Medical Equipment like wheelchairs.
It will only be covered if it’s deemed a MEDICAL NECESSITY by the appropriate medical specialist.
Does Every Walker Seller Accept Medicare?
No, not every seller you can purchase a walker from will allow or accept Medicare. They need to be an official Medicare-approved supplier or seller.
This is because, according to Medicare Part B, the coverage will only partially pay for the Durable Medical Equipment if both the doctor and the supplier are Medicare approved.
Does Medicare Coverage Include Canes and Wheelchairs?
According to Part B, Medicare will pay for 80% of the cost of a cane or wheelchair as long as you’re eligible. This means it needs to be deemed medically necessary by a physician.
The same deductible applies for canes and wheelchairs as it does for walkers because their coverage still falls under Part B.
Can You Buy a Walker and Canes or Wheelchairs at the Same Time?
You can buy these medical devices at the same time, but they might not all be covered by Medicare. It depends on the diagnosis or prescription of your specialist or doctor.
We hope we’ve answered the question “Does Medicare pay for a walker?” and your other questions about coverage, deductible, and different types of walkers! The important thing to remember is that, to get FULL COVERAGE, you should get a Medicare-approved doctor and supplier in your next purchase.