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Power Chairs, Scooters and Mobility Aids

With the wide variety of mobility chairs on the market today, you have more choice and options than ever before. As you begin shopping for a wheelchair or scooter, consider your specific mobility requirements and how you plan to use your chair. Power Chairs, Scooters and Mobility Aids

Then, evaluate and "test drive" a number of models and compare the level of comfort, function and features that the different mobility chairs offer. Before making a wheelchair or scooter purchase, always consult with your health care provider to ensure you are making the best possible choice.

Mobility chairs fall into three primary categories: (1) Manual, push wheelchairs, (2) Powered or electric wheelchairs, and (3) Motorized scooters. Following is a summary of each type.

Select Mobility Chairs with Features You Need for Greater Freedom

Competitive Bidding -- A Better Way for Medicare to Pay for Medical Equipment - On January 1, 2011, Medicare started the first phase of a new program for certain medical equipment and supplies, such as oxygen equipment and certain power wheelchairs, in nine areas of the country including Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh and Riverside. The program will save billions of dollars for taxpayers and people with Medicare, while preserving consumer access to quality items and services from qualified suppliers.

Medicare Coverage for Electric Mobility Scooters

Medicare Part B will cover most of the cost of electric mobility scooters, but only if your doctor determines that it is medically necessary. The scooter must also be used primarily for moving about your home and not as a “recreational” vehicle. You may have to pay up to 20% of the cost after meeting your Part B deductible.

Other requirements for Medicare coverage include:

  • Your evaluation must be with a doctor or other qualified health provider
  • The evaluation must be documented and say that you need a mobility aid for a medical condition (called a “Certificate of Medical Necessity)
  • You must present the order or prescription to the Medicare-approved electric scooter supplier before Medicare can be billed
  • You must be able to safely operate, and get on and get off of the scooter
  • You must have good vision
  • You must have a health condition that causes difficulty for you to move around in your home

Changes to Medicare Coverage for 2011

There have been changes to Medicare coverage for “Durable Medical Equipment,” which includes things like medical supplies and electric mobility scooters. It’s important that you read and understand these changes.

In an effort to cut costs, Medicare began to implement what is called “Competitive Bidding” at the end of 2010. This meant that Medicare-approved providers and suppliers of durable medical equipment were required to submit competitive bids for their products. There is a selection process in which the “winning” bids and those suppliers become Medicare-approved.

Also, there are now much stricter guidelines for doctors and providers who evaluate your need for a mobility aid. These evaluations have always been face-to-face for Medicare to approve a wheelchair or scooter, but now these evaluations are even more lengthy and detailed.

NOTE: It’s important to be sure that any supplier of durable medical equipment that you select is still or has become a Medicare-approved provider.

If you have questions about covered suppliers, go to where Medicare-approved suppliers are listed or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, be sure to check with your individual plan to be sure you follow their guidelines to get your electric mobility scooter.

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