As we grow older, we often need help getting around. This might mean getting a cane, a walker, or another walking aid. One of the concerns seniors have is how they can afford these devices.
If you use Medicare as your primary insurance coverage, you might have questions like “Does Medicare cover walkers?” or “Does Medicare pay for walking aids?” This guide is designed to answer the most common questions about Medicare and walking aids.
Does Medicare pay for walkers for seniors? It’s a common question, and it depends on which Medicare plan you have.
Original Medicare will cover walkers that are medically necessary and prescribed by your doctor. This is covered under Medicare Part B as durable medical equipment. In order to receive coverage, your medical equipment provider must accept Medicare as payment. They also need to have a Medicare supplier number.
You will be responsible for your Part B deductible if it hasn’t already been paid, and then you’ll pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the walker. Medicare will cover the rest.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will also receive coverage for a medically-necessary walker. All Advantage plans must cover at least as much as Original Medicare. You will probably need to choose a medical equipment provider within the insurer’s network. Check your plan for details.
Crutches and walking boots are also covered by Medicare when they are medically necessary. The good news is that you can often rent these devices instead of buying them, which saves you money.
With Original Medicare, you can expect to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved cost after your deductible is covered. Medicare will pay the other 80%. When you rent an item, the provider is responsible for maintaining it, so contact them if you have any problems. Learn more about Medicare costs, deductibles, and premiums in 2022.
A Medicare Advantage plan will also cover a medically necessary boot or crutches. You may have a different copayment amount, however, so be sure you contact your plan for details.
Walking canes that are prescribed by a doctor for a mobility impairment are covered by Medicare. If you buy a cane and then it needs to be repaired, you can generally get the repairs covered by Medicare as well.
Keep in mind that the normal durable medical equipment (DME) rules apply: the cane needs to be medically necessary, prescribed by a doctor, and provided by a medical equipment supplier that accepts Medicare and has a Medicare supplier number.
One notable exception is that Original Medicare does not cover white canes for the blind. They define these canes as a self-help device rather than one that treats an illness or injury.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have additional coverage options for canes. You’ll need to choose an equipment provider that’s in the insurance network. Be sure to contact your insurer to get the details you need.
Still have questions about Medicare coverage for walkers or other devices? It can be helpful to talk to a licensed agent about your insurance coverage, and we’re here to help. Contact us today to learn more about your Medicare coverage and compare available options!