Will Medicaid pay for an electric wheelchair?

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 Answer

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.