Medicare covers the cost of wheelchairs and power-operated scooters as durable medical equipment as long as a doctor prescribes the equipment for the covered patient, notes Medicare.gov. All people who receive Medicare are covered, although the patient usually has to pay 20 percent of the cost of the wheelchair under original Medicare.
Use the following steps to obtain a wheelchair through Medicare.
- Visit a doctor and get a prescription for durable medical equipment
- Visit a Medicare-approved durable Medicare equipment provider
- Pay a copayment
- Learn about competitive bidding, if applicable
A doctor's prescription is required for approval of wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment items, notes Medicare.gov. Select a doctor and a supplier that have received Medicare approval to ensure fast processing of durable medical equipment orders.
Medicare only pays for durable medical equipment, including rentals and purchases, from Medicare approved providers.
Most people receiving original Medicare must pay 20 percent of the cost of the wheelchair, whether it is being purchased outright or rented.
In some areas of the country, participants in the Medicare program are affected by the competitive bidding program, according to Medicare.gov. Under this program, people with original Medicare must choose durable medical equipment, including wheelchairs, from contract suppliers who have placed competitive bids with Medicare to supply equipment to Medicare recipients.