If you have sufficient upper body strength or a helper, you could qualify for a manual wheelchair.
If you can’t use a manual wheelchair, you may get coverage for a power wheelchair or scooter. To qualify, you must have an in-person exam with your doctor. If the doctor believes you require a power mobility device, they will submit an order to Medicare recommending the wheelchair or scooter and stating that you’re able to operate it.
What you pay for a wheelchair or scooter
You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for mobility equipment after you pay your Part B deductible, which in 2021 is $203. Medicare pays the rest.
If you have Medicare Advantage, you might pay less. Contact the plan to learn about costs and which equipment suppliers you are authorized to use.
Depending on the type of equipment, you may be required to rent it or to buy it, or you may have a choice.
Pre-approval is required for some equipment
Some models of power wheelchairs require prior authorization — that is, Medicare must approve the purchase or rental in advance. Your equipment supplier can tell you whether you need prior authorization and should submit the required documents to Medicare.