Wheelchairs, motorized scooters and other mobility aids have improved the lives of seniors who suffer from mobility challenges. These pieces of equipment can be used to navigate in and around homes, and many can even be used outdoors to get around shopping centers, parks and city streets.
In order to effectively use mobility aids like wheelchairs, ramps are often necessary. Ramps provide access to inclines where stairs are typically used. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that certain structures include ramps constructed to specific standards in order to assist individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
These regulations do not apply to private residences, but you may find that installing a ramp at your home makes it easier to get in and out of your dwelling. General contractors usually offer services to build ramps, but you may also seek out assistance from a specialty builder.
The cost of installing a ramp
Costs for ramp construction vary based on size, location and material used during construction. Some estimates put the cost of installing a ramp at between $50 and $250 per linear foot. Each case is different, however, so if you’re a senior who requires a ramp to be constructed at your home, you’re encouraged to work with a local contractor to get a better idea of the pricing you can expect.
Does Medicare cover a ramp for your home?
Original Medicare insurance helps to pay for durable medical equipment (DME) through Part B. This is the part of Medicare benefits that is applied toward the cost of wheelchairs and other mobility aids. In general, Medicare Part B pays for 80% of the cost of covered equipment. Because Medicare coverage is available for wheelchairs, it would make sense that Medicare recipients could access this coverage to pay for ramps as well.
Unfortunately, Medicare insurance does not pay for ramps in the majority of cases. Even if your doctor prescribes the use of a mobility aid, the installation of a ramp is not directly related to the use of the mobility aid in improving your overall health. Medicare’s standard for coverage is that any service, medication or piece of equipment must be medically necessary in order to qualify for Medicare benefits. Because you can use a wheelchair or scooter without a ramp, Medicare does not consider the ramp to be a medically necessary part of using the mobility aid.
Does Medicare Advantage cover ramps?
Medicare Advantage plans include the same benefits as found in Original Medicare. This means that they do not cover ramps under Medicare Part A and Part B. You may find, however, that a Medicare Advantage plan offers extended benefits for things not included in Original Medicare. These types of plans can offer additional benefits, but if they do, these extra benefits are supplied by the plan provider and not by the Medicare program.
Although it’s not common, a Medicare Advantage plan could offer coverage for ramps. You will need to contact your plan provider directly to inquire about this since each plan is different.
Other options for financial assistance
Even though Medicare coverage does not apply toward the cost of ramps, you may be able to find financial assistance through local organizations. Most areas have civic organizations dedicated to assisting seniors in continuing to live independently. States and cities may also have government programs designed to provide financial assistance to seniors who are seeking help with disabling conditions.