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Elderly and disabled individuals who find it difficult to move around by themselves make use of electric scooters and power wheelchairs for their mobility purposes. Electric scooters were fully covered by Medicare in the 1990's, but due to widespread abuse, many of the loopholes were closed and they only provide 80% coverage.
This Mobility Assistive Equipment (MAE) is fairly expensive, but for those who meet the requirements, Medicare will provide them at a drastically reduced cost.
Power or electric wheelchairs are a good choice for those with disabilities who live alone and do not have a caregiver to push a regular wheelchair or for those who don't have the upper body strength to propel themselves.
Electric wheelchairs are battery powered and don't require much effort to move or go uphill and can be operated without extra assistance.
An Alternative to Manual Wheelchairs
An electric scooter is great for those who cannot use a cane or operate a standard wheelchair. A power wheelchair is great if you cannot use a regular wheelchair indoors or if you don't qualify for an electric powered scooter because you are strong enough to sit up or operate the wheelchair controls safely indoors.
Medicare requires that you be eligible to use a MAE and your doctor must prove that you need the wheelchair for your purposes and that you can operate it safely.
Medicare requirements are quite stringent about what they require to get a MAE and they include:
- Your mobility problems must have an impact on your daily actions like bathing/showering, using the toilet unassisted, getting in and out of bed etc.
- You must have Medicare Part B, which, in relation to the Medicare group, pays your physician's fees and outpatient care.
- It is good to have the ability to get on and off and safely operate the wheelchair or scooter. If you suffer from Alzheimer's or dementia, Medicare might deny your claim. However, Medicare does cite one exception to this rule if you have a caregiver or family member who can help you use the device, Medicare will probably approve your claim.
- Your vision is good. If you have vision problems it will affect the safe use of the scooter or wheelchair.
- You need to be mentally capable to safely use a scooter, or have someone who can help you operate the device appropriately and safely.
Eligible for Medicare Aid
Once you have met the requirements, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost of the scooter or power wheelchair. They could be rented or bought outright and the home has to be set up so the power wheelchair or scooter can move around freely without banging into walls or objects.
Medicare will not cover power wheelchair or scooters that are mainly used for leisure activities.
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