3 Types of Medical Equipment Covered by Medicare

Medicare can cover a wide range of medical related items and situations. Commonly known items are hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescriptions. Did you know that Medicare also provides total or partial coverage for larger pieces of equipment?

Using Medicare Part B as an example, a person is able to gain a wheelchair or scooter at little or no cost to them. You need a written order from your doctor stating the reason you need the wheelchair and why.

The type of wheelchair or scooter that a person uses is not a personal choice. (In most cases) A doctor will test and observe you in order to gain insight into your upper body strength and the ability to hold yourself up so that they can determine exactly what type of wheelchair that you need.

You must also qualify for your chair by meeting the conditions listed in the Medicare Part B plan. Limited Mobility is only the general “umbrella term” for what you actually must have before being presented with a wheelchair.

These conditions are significant difficulty moving around your home, unable to complete daily activities alone (dressing, showering, etc.), you cannot get out of bed or a chair with the use of a walker, and the ability to understand all controls on the device and know how to operate it properly.

How many different types of wheelchairs are available? You can probably guess from our title, there are only three. What now begs the question is this; how can what qualifies you for a certain type of wheelchair?

  1. The Original: Manual

Depending upon the state of your current medical condition, you need to start out with a standard manual wheelchair. Sure, we know that those fancy electric ones would be a lot better, but your doctor may not think you need one right now. If you cannot get around with a cane or walker, but you have the upper body and arm strength (or if a friend is available) to operate a manual wheelchair then that is the option your doctor will start off with.

Later on, you may have to transition to an electric wheelchair, but the goal is to keep you as mobile under your own power for as long as possible. Not only will this contribute to your fitness but it will help keep your blood circulating as well.

  1. Electric Scooter

The next step would be a power-operated vehicle or, as many like to call them, an electric scooter. Different from an electric wheelchair, electric scooters literally look like a sit-down scooter that you can exit from both sides. In fact, low mobility and device understanding are qualifications for owning one. You must demonstrate that you understand how to work all the controls to the scooter and that you can get in and out of it safely without falling.

Obtaining an electric scooter means you do not have the upper body strength to manually pull or push yourself around. As long as you are strong enough to sit up to operate the scooter then you are good!

  1. Powered Up – The Electric Wheelchair

We are talking about an electric wheelchair now. This type of wheelchair is specifically for those who do not have the strength to support themselves so they need the extra support within the chair (that a scooter cannot provide). A small joystick allows you to control where you want to go.

In essence, electric wheelchairs offer the greatest amount of mobility with the least amount of necessary effort.

If you’re someone who has been struggling with mobility, make sure to contact your family doctor to talk about wheelchair eligibility.

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