Wheelchairs & scooters

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance)

 covers power-operated vehicles (scooters) and manual wheelchairs as durable medical equipment (DME) that your doctor prescribes for use in your home.

You must have a face-to-face examination and a written prescription from a doctor or other treating provider before Medicare helps pay for a power wheelchair. Part B covers power wheelchairs only when they're 

medically necessary

.

Your costs in Original Medicare

After you meet the

Part B Deductible

, you pay 20% of the 

Medicare-Approved Amount

 (if your supplier accepts 

assignment

). Medicare pays for different kinds of DME in different ways. Depending on the type of equipment:

  • You may need to rent the equipment.
  • You may need to buy the equipment.
  • You may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment.

Medicare will only cover your DME if your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare. Doctors and suppliers have to meet strict standards to enroll and stay enrolled in Medicare. If your doctors or suppliers aren’t enrolled, Medicare won’t pay the claims they submit. 

Make sure your doctors and DME suppliers are enrolled in Medicare. It’s also important to ask a supplier if they participate in Medicare before you get DME. If suppliers are participating in Medicare, they must accept assignment (which means, they can charge you only the coinsurance and Part B deductible for the Medicare‑approved amount). If suppliers aren’t participating and don’t accept assignment, there’s no limit on the amount they can charge you. 

note:

To find out how much your test, item, or service will cost, talk to your doctor or health care provider. The specific amount you’ll owe may depend on several things, like:

  • Other insurance you may have
  • How much your doctor charges
  • If your doctor accepts assignment
  • The type of facility
  • Where you get your test, item, or service
Things to know

You may have to get prior approval (known as “prior authorization”) for 40 types of power wheelchairs before Medicare will cover the wheelchair cost.

Your DME supplier should:

  • Request “prior authorization”
  • Send the request and required documents to Medicare

You don’t need to do anything. If your physician prescribes one of these wheelchairs to you, your DME supplier will usually submit a prior authorization request and all documentation to Medicare on your behalf. Medicare will review the information to make sure that you’re eligible and meet all requirements for power wheelchair coverage. Your Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same, and you shouldn’t experience delays getting the items you need.

Your prior authorization request may be denied if:

  • Medicare finds you don’t medically require a power wheelchair
  • Medicare doesn’t get enough information to make a decision

If Medicare needs additional information, your DME supplier may resubmit your prior authorization request.