Will Medicaid pay for an electric wheelchair?

3 answers | Last updated: Jan 25, 2016
Jaziefairy asked...

How can I help get an electric wheelchair for my dad who is on Medicaid? Is there some kind of program that I can apply to for him? Does Medicaid pay for electric wheelchairs?


Expert Answers

Both Medicare and Medicaid can help pay for an electric wheelchair, with Medicaid paying the portion of the costs that Medicare doesn't. Medicare Part B can pay either to rent or buy a power wheelchair if prescribed by your father's doctor and if medically necessary for him to get around (not just going outside, but to get around the house, too). If Medicare helps him either to buy or rent the chair, Medicaid can pay the part (usually 20 percent) that Medicare doesn't pay. For an explanation of the rules regarding power wheelchairs, look at Medicare's publication Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment and Other Devices.

If Medicare approves your father's purchase or rental of a wheelchair, he must get it from a Medicare-approved medical equipment supplier. To find the Medicare-approved suppliers in the area where your father lives, go the durable equipment suppliers page on the Medicare web site.

When investigating wheelchairs with different suppliers, don't let your father sign an agreement with a supplier until he or his doctor has received written authorization for the chair directly from Medicare. You don't want him to get stuck with an expensive equipment contract that Medicare winds up refusing to pay for.


Community Answers

Jmac atp answered...

Medicaid does pay for electric wheelchairs. Depending on what state he lives in will determine the criteria. Typically if he cannot walk more than 10 feet and is unable to self propel a wheelchair will determine his eligibility. My recommendation would be to contact a local ATP (assistive technology provider). This accreditation dictates that this type of supplier must adhere to certain ethics and must have passed a rigorous test verifying their knowledge. You can go to www.resna.org and choose "find certified AT Professionals". This type of professional is will not only help choose the best equipment for your father but is very aware of funding criteria.


Lusha answered...

While Medicaid and Medicare are two very different entities, (though they tend to get lumped together as if they were the same thing,...) Yes, medicaid will pay for an electric chair for your father. However, you may look into getting your father onto medicare (But look at what benefits he would be getting very closely before making the switch.) Most of the time it is physicians choice as to where and how much the chair will cost. It can also take a while to get a chair from medicaid, but providers like hoveround are a good resource through medicare as they do not accept medicaid. Your best bet however, would be to call medicaid, let them know about the situation, or go to your counties human services building and request assistance or information. Get very detailed print outs from your fathers doc's as it will help the process of getting said chair. If all else fails, you could also set up a gofundme or something like that to help raise the cash to get a chair from craigslist or amazon or something.