Can I get medicare to pay for both a scooter and a wheelchair?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 26, 2016
Jpapapia asked...

My mom has a scooter but the scooter cannot be used in a lot of places. She used to have a wheelchair but Medicare quit paying for it because she had a scooter. Can we get Medicare to start paying for the wheelchair again without having to give up her scooter?

Expert Answers

Medicare Part B will pay for the use of a power wheelchair or power scooter, if medically necessary, but not both. The fact that one or the other device can't be used in some places doesn't change this rule.

One possibility to explore is having Medicare buy the scooter (which it sometimes will do after 13 months of rental). If Medicare buys it, your mother would own it and Medicare would pay for its maintenance and repair until it was no longer usable, at which time Medicare would rent her a new one (assuming she could still use it). If Medicare buys the scooter for her but she's then willing to give up Medicare's maintenance of it, or the right to have it replaced when it wears out, Medicare might then be willing to rent her a power wheelchair. For an explanation of the rules regarding power wheelchairs and power scooters, look at Medicare's publication Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment and Other Devices.

When investigating this possibility of your mother getting both a scooter and a wheelchair, don't let her sign any agreements with a medical equipment company until she has received authorization directly from Medicare. You don't want her to get stuck with an expensive equipment contract that Medicare winds up refusing to pay for.