Does Medicare Cover Walkers? 

Mobility at home or while out and about is a necessity for enjoying a the quality of life you deserve. Unfortunately, there are plenty of things in life that can lead to a loss of mobility, including injuries and illness. Additionally, simply aging can lead to more difficulty in navigating certain terrain and obstacles, leading to the potential for slips, falls and injury.

The good news is that there are plenty of options for mobility equipment that you can use to add stability to your daily journeys. While motorized options like scooters can be a convenient way to get around outside of the home, these types of devices can be cumbersome, difficult to navigate indoors and must be charged often. Because of these drawbacks, many people turn to walkers as a mobility alternative.

The benefits of using a walker

Walkers provide a number of benefits, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that walkers can be used indoors to move around tight corners. You can also control your speed and stability a bit better with a walker compared to motorized scooters or a cane. The height of some walkers can be adjusted, and different models may include the ability to attach storage compartments to the walker itself for convenience.

Will Medicare cover a walker?

Original Medicare does cover walkers when medically necessary. Medicare coverage for walkers comes through Part B, the outpatient portion of the program. Although Medicare Part B benefits cover outpatient treatment for doctor visits and surgery, they also cover durable medical equipment (DME) like walkers and wheelchairs.

When you use Medicare coverage through Part B, Medicare pays 80% of the cost of the DME while Medicare recipients are responsible for the remaining 20%. There are some exceptions to this in cases where specific medical treatments require specialized equipment. In those specific cases, Medicare covers 100% of the cost of some DME, but for walkers, most Medicare recipients can expect to face the traditional 80/20 split.

Depending on your condition and the reason you need a walker, you may also be required to rent the equipment for a period of time before Medicare will cover the purchase. This is usually the case when Medicare recipients face short-term disabilities while recovering from injuries or illness.

If you have a progressive or chronic condition that necessitates the use of a walker, you are more likely to receive coverage for the purchase of a walker faster if your doctor documents the details of your condition.  Original Medicare coverage should still help to pay for the rental or purchase of a walker through Part B.

Other parts of Medicare may offer support

Although Medicare Part B provides coverage for DME and office visits to monitor your condition, you may also find support in other parts of Medicare coverage. Medicare Part A supplies inpatient benefits to Medicare recipients. Services and treatments included under Part A are temporary hospitalizations and temporary treatment in a residential skilled nursing facility. These services may be needed before, during and after the use of a walker based on your condition.

Additionally, Medicare Part D offers prescription drug coverage for people who require medicinal support to address conditions that necessitate the use of a walker. Medicare benefits under Part D provide coverage for drugs that are prescribed by Medicare-participating doctors and are available for purchase at a retail pharmacy. Medicare Part D does not cover injections given in a doctor’s office or clinic to assist with joint problems or mobility concerns. These administrations of medication are covered by Medicare Part B as they are considered outpatient treatment.

Medicare Advantage coverage for walkers

Medicare Advantage plans include the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many plans include additional coverage. Check with your plan to find out if you have questions regarding your costs for a walker, and find out if you need to rent or purchase your walker from a supplier within the plan’s network. 

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