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Scooters For Seniors: Does Medicare Pay For My Scooter?

Looking for a scooter? Check out these great deals.

Where did all the advertisements for scooters go?  New rules have made it harder and harder for Medicare to cover scooters for seniors.

It wasn’t so long ago that a prominent “scooter store” got itself in a pickle for pushing doctors to write prescriptions for Medicare furnished scooters (whether necessary or not).

Scrutiny surrounding The Scooter Store case has led to tighter restrictions on Medicare-covered scooters, making eligibility for these scooters a complicated issue to wade through.

Scooters for Seniors

Here’s CBS News discussing The Scooter Store’s advertisements which targeted seniors all over the country:

Some members of Congress say the ads lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary spending by Medicare, which is only supposed to pay for scooters as a medical necessity when seniors are unable to use a cane, walker or regular wheelchair. According to congressional testimony, Medicare accounted for about 75 percent of The SCOOTER Store’s revenue. – CBS News

Need help finding the right scooter for you? Visit ScootersNChairs and check out the scooter finder!

The Medicare spending issues surrounding scooters and other durable medical equipment (DME) led to tighter restrictions on where you can purchase scooters for seniors, who is eligible for Medicare reimbursement, and the steps you need to take in order to be in compliance with Medicare Part B (medical insurance) rules.  Let’s dig into the details…

Who is Eligible for a Scooter Covered by Medicare?

Medicare.gov says that all people who meet criteria with Medicare Part B are covered for scooters (which they define as “manual wheelchairs & power mobility devices”).

What Steps Do I Need To Take?

Keep these facts in mind as you consider the steps you need to take when considering a scooter for mobility;

    • 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.
    • Power wheelchairs are covered only when they’re medically necessary.

Where Can I Purchase a Scooter?

You can purchase a scooter anywhere you wish if you’re paying out of pocket.  You can find them online (new and used) or you can visit your local DME supplier in town.

If you’re planning on some help from Medicare however, you need to visit an enrolled DME supplier that accepts the assignment cost from the federal government.  Here’s more:

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 submitted by them.

It’s also important to ask your suppliers if they participate in Medicare before you get DME. If suppliers are participating suppliers, they must accept assignment. If suppliers are enrolled in Medicare but aren’t “participating,” they may choose not to accept assignment. If suppliers don’t accept assignment, there’s no limit on the amount they can charge you. – Medicare.gov

How Much Will It Cost Me?

If your DME provider accepts the Medicare assignment costs, you’ll be paying 20% of the Medicare-approved amount, and then the Part B deductible applies. Medicare.gov says, “depending on the type of equipment, you may need to rent the equipment, you may need to buy the equipment, or you may be able to choose whether to rent or buy the equipment.”

After you’ve visited your (Medicare enrolled) doctor, and he/she has written you a prescription for a scooter, you can obtain details from a (Medicare enrolled) DME provider, and they can share options with you.  General prices for a decent (new) scooter will range from $750-$2,000.

Scooters for Seniors: The Bottom Line

Medicare is making it more difficult for folks who want help with purchasing a scooter today.  One of our community members “Dennis” has this to say about Medicare reimbursement for scooters; “Medicare rarely pays for senior scooters. We submit claims all the time and they always deny them. You will end up paying out of pocket for a senior scooter.”

So the best thing you can do today if you feel you’re eligible for Medicare assistance is to follow the new strict guidelines and work with a sanctioned DME provider in your local community.

If you have tips to share, or would like to comment on this issue (or other mobility issues) give us a shout in the comments below.  

53 Comments

  1. I have right leg amputation, cannot walk far, left knee total replacement, broke right knee in joint, screw in knuckle, have lower degenerative disc disease, degenerative neck disease, equilibrium problem. Cane not working anymore very well, Still I am as active as can be, we camp. Go to beach, take weekend trips, are in all kinds of terrain, I need a scooter for all terrain that will go through sand, woods, rough terrain and folds. If I can’t get one paid by insurance and Medicaid I an stuck at home. Electric wheelchair tires do not work!! I need all terrain tires.
  2. My father is a 98 yr old former flying tiger veteran. He is the primary care giver for himself and my 93 yr old mother. He uses a walker as much as he can but sometimes his legs give out from stenosis and crumbling spine. He wont even try to get one. Says because he saved some money for nursing homes he would not be eligible? Does the v.a. help at all? He has never used their services. He spent the entire war fighting for his country. If i was not on disability myself with my own crumbling spine i would buy him one. Anyone know about the va or how much you are allowed to have in your bank account for nursing care when needed? Thank you.
    1. My dad was a Korean vet. He was doing great until he wasn’t. It was like someone just pulled his plug and that was it. We didn’t know it at the time. He didn’t have much of any savings and just Medicare pt A. But, he had to go into a nursing home bc my mom uses a walker & couldn’t take care of him. No one else could either bc he just had no strength to help at all. Long story short, my mom had to pay for a ,onto of nursing home (worried her to death bc it was so expensive) Dad never wanted to go to a VA facility either. The nursing home was wonderful in helping mom apply for Medicaid and dad was approved bc he didn’t have much $$. It was retroactive too, so mom got her $$ back. They did have to wait for a Medicaid room to open up at the nursing home. He ended up staying there 3 months before he passed, but they were very very good to him and us. Don’t just assume he wouldn’t be eligible. There are senior services that can also help. The nursing home also brought in Hospice, not bc they thought dad was going to die soon, but Hospice gives one on one care that nurses & aides just don’t have time to do. They were also fantastic – they will do extra therapy, visiting, bathing, etc. for patients. You might call around to nursing homes and ask some questions. Not all are as helpful as the one my dad got to go to. They had gourmet food too!
    2. VA does pay for scooters and many other kinds of medical equipment if he is enrolled with the VA to receive his health care. His primary care MD at the VA would need to write a order and referral for one and then he would be evaluated by their rehab department to determine if he meets criteria. I have been pleased with the care at the VA and their assistance with medical equipment and physical therapy to help me remain more independent. If he is not enrolled in the VA healthcare, you can go to any VA hospital or county VA rep and they can assist you in getting him signed up. If he doesnt have a service connected disability, they will look at your income to determine if you have any copays.
  3. I have pulmunary hypertension I can get around the house with oxygen, but can not get around outside or any where else. can I quilfly for a fold up scooter?
    1. Talk to your pulmonologist or PCP. Based on your situation they will advise whether you qualify or not for a scooter and then they will provide an Rx. Hope this helps.
    2. I have the same issues sandra hill have to stay home when we are on vacation .they try to use wheel chair very hard for my family so i just stay back and wait for them
  4. GOOD COMMENTS I AM HOPING TO GET A SCOOTER TO .MY DOC ALL READY APROVED IT. I CAN NOT WALK FAR ENOUGH TO TAKE A PISS.
  5. I am in chronic pain constantly and pain pills or nothing seems to help. I have osteoporosis and have broke several bones here in the last 2 year’s. I had a knee replacement that never healed right. So much joint pain so have diabetes and Lupus also. Will Medicare pay for a scooter and I have a insurance supplement too?
    1. I have the same issues and a few more. Medicare did pay for my power chair. It’s been years and I’m in the need of another and they are working to approve this one as well. Start your paperwork ASAP. You shouldn’t have a problem.
  6. This is to address “cobo’s” comment and apparent rage at seniors. Mobility scooters really should be covered by Medicare when there is a legitimate need. With reference to “cobo’s” comment about our taxes being “high enough” and that seniors shouldn’t expect to get things for free, kindly consider this fact. 60% of the top Fortune 500 corporations in the US paid NOTHING in taxes to our government last year, despite making 100’s of billions of dollars in profit!!! Delta Airlines, Amazon, Netflix, ATT, to name a few! Not only did they pay not one cent to our government, they RECEIVE TAX REBATES BACK FROM THE GOVERNMENT!!!!! Last year Amazon alone made a profit of 79 BILLION dollars, on which they paid NOTHING in taxes. AND they received a tax rebate gift from us for 4.2 BILLION dollars!!!!!! So “cobo”, perhaps you should stop running your mouth about “seniors expecting things for free”. Your rage is justified, but not against senior citizens! In the last 13 years the Republican party has repeatedly pushed through incredible (and very unfair) tax breaks for corporations and individuals making over 10 million dollars a year. Most of them pay absolutely NOTHING in taxes. And the richest of them receive windfalls back every year! Donald Trump’s “tax cut” that his followers think is so wonderful, is a cruel joke against the middle class of this country. Did you all notice that OUR taxes went up this year????? Yes, they did….and next year it will be even worse. But corporations are even enjoying MORE tax rebates than ever before! People like “cobo” obviously DON’T do any unbiased research on this, and just believe what the politicians say without question….it’s so much easier to blame seniors and the poor. When are we going to smarten up and make our voices heard!
    1. Wanted to add. It is not ‘free’. You paid for your medicare out if your paycheck, over the years. Cobos tax dollars have nothing to do with it.
      1. Mimi, I’d like to add to your comment. Not only did we pay into Medicare while working, we also pay a monthly premium of about $140 for Medicare insurance. It’s deducted each month from our Social Security.
      2. I so agree with Ms.Campbell.I pay 242.00 a month for supplement insurance and 140.00 to Medicare.All out of 1100 pr month ss.Bet he would not do that in my situation I don’t take some things from medicare that I could because I don’t like charging medicare either.Having said that sometimes you just have to do it.
  7. I need a scooter but not for ok Bakersfield I can get around with my wallet or cane and the scooter would never got through any of my door ways , I live in a olderhome but going outside evenudig a cane or Walker I cannot go even a half of a block. I see all the scooters pay ok for 80% by Medicare all-day for inside so what do people do for out side ?
  8. beth.i have found that nursing homes will sell scooters,chairs after people pass. try calling. arlene rasnic dayton,ohio
  9. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis and RA and had a new one 9 yrs ago through our insurance. I forgot that I used the insurance to get one and now that my husband has retired due to bad health I have a Coventry/ Aetna insurance which doesn’t cover after I had my Dr evaluate me and I went out of town to see about getting one. I do need it and my husband can’t push me too long in a wheelchair or he will have problems. I can’t afford a new one,even on line. I’m so upset that I didn’t think of it earlier this year. I could have had a new one. Now when my scooter goes out, I’m stuck!!
      1. you can’t not have Medicare as your primary insurance! I tried a couple years ago to keep my BC+BS FERS as my primary and was told no…by Medicare. I kept the BC+BS as secondary because it will cover so much more then Medicare if I have a catastrophic medical issue. Medicare only pays 90 days in hospital any calendar year.
  10. I knrw a lady that totally frauded the insurance and g ot a scooter and she told me how I should do it but of course I wasnt about to make a fool of myself I tolf the honest truth and at the time really needed it bad.they denied me but the lady who frauded them got a new one drove all over town in it.She was just lazy and used it so long she got to where she was so weak she really couldnt walk.but in beginning when she got chair she could walk better than me and run a race and was laughing at the people who evaluated her at mercy hospital in Springfield,mo.the same ones who turned me down.But thank God I am better now.
  11. mY 5 YEAR OLD SCOOTER STOP WORKING. I’m 84 with health issues and can’t fix it. I called one place in san Antonio and they wanted a fortune just to look at it. Does anyone know someome who could fix it that lives in san marcos texas. If I bought a used one, I might have the same problem. THANKS
      1. HELLO. I’M LOOKING TO EITHER GET A FREE SCOOTER OR WHEELCHAIR . IF EITHER IS POSSIBLE. I NEED IT SO I CAN GET AROUND. I’M NOT ABLE TO WALK ANYMORE OR STAND NO LONGER THAN 1 MINUTE AT A TIME. I HAVE HAD 5 BACK SURGERIES AND THE DOCTOR THAT I SEE NOW, TOLD ME ALL THE DOCTORS WHO HAVE DONE MY SURGERIES HAVE FAILED ME. SO NOW, I MORE OR LESS HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE PAIN. I AM ON MEDICATION BUT IT REALLY DOESN’T HELP MUCH. I’D APPRECIATE IT IF YOU CAN HELP ME OUT. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..MS KATHLEEN FERRARI
        1. I have a chair that I’ve had for over five years. I’m wanting a scooter that is easier to fold up and be able to move around outside of my home. I have ins, Medicare advantage and was wondering if anyone knows of some that will either trade me a scooter or one ins will cover?
  12. I need a scooter was turned down by medicare.I’m on palliative care and can only walk a few feet before getting completely out of breath.I have IPF in my lungs.I need this really bad and my Dr doesent seem to want to help me.
    1. You need to file and appeal. I filed the Appeal on behalf of my wife and went in to very detailed information on why she needed it. Got the Approval the next day.
  13. I need a scooter to get around in i have rheumatoid arthritis in bout legs my right leg is my bad one i also use and cane and walker.
  14. You can just charge these and take out whenever you feel like scooting around. Simply roll the throttle and you are on the go. In case you are searching for the best electric scooter, you can look for some new ideas.
  15. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing. Keep Posting:)
  16. My wife has about 20% of her heart left and is probably terminal some time within the next five years. She can still get around fairly well in our house and a scooter is not practical here. Yet if she wants to buy clothing from a department store without electric vehicles she is stuck. Consider that she has 20% of the stamina that she used to have before her cardiac arrest on Christmas of this year. She likely had several near heart attacks in the year previous without knowing it. Hard to believe but it is true. She seldom complains. I have often seen her exhaust herself with what little heart she has left. I bought a used scooter(3-wheel) for her for under 200 at a garage sale. Me and a buddy repaired and fixed it up for her. It has a very limited range of about an hour or two and new battery appliances are not sold anymore. A new one is beyond our financial ability at this time. Arbitrarily cutting people off with obsolete rules just does not really hack it. But anyone depending on our government to do what other governments automatically do for people needs to take a really hard look at the American Indian. For one thing, an electric cart allows her to live an almost normal life. I can strip down a cart and put it back together in minutes. I keep an eye out for a better one that is inexpensive. The current one needed two resisters to make it work. I have currently replaced one. So the forward gear works but the back y works a little. Will replace the other resister when we go south for her appointment.
    1. Thank you for sharing your story David! I’m really glad your wife has a caring (and handy) partner to help her during this time of need. All the best to you and your wife.

      1. When looking at how the American health care system, it really does treat everyone like the Indians were treated. Unlike other countries that have medical plans that really covers everyone,we have a medical system that treats you if you can afford it. If you cannot afford it, under our American system, you are out of luck. Just like the Indians were out of luck dealing with the US government.
          1. I’m sure he meant no disrespect to Native Americans. They were called Indians for many years and many people haven’t caught on to using Native American. It was an example, and truthfully, a very good example of what he was trying to say. He was saying the Native Americans were beaten out of their rights (in every way). Nothing at all negative about Native Americans. I seldom say anything to people online but it seems so many people want to make a problem where there really is no problem. So tonight I added my 2 cents worth.
          2. we can call them Indians if we choose, that is what I have called them all my life.. are you the Language police? I’m sick of the on line police correcting spelling and language. why do all seniors think we should get every thing free??I’m sick of it. If there is a senior discount so be it. If you want the government to pay for everything GET REAL our taxes are high enough now. If you need a scooter, buy one on time and make payments. I’m from the generation that pays their bills and does not expect the younger generation to pay for my stuff. No wonder the younger ones hate old people ! ! !
          3. I understood he was saying the first Americans were treated horribly by the Second American government.
          4. Actually NOT Native Americans, the people were here before this was named America! Indigenous or Native works just fine!
    2. I am curious about why the “American Indian” should be singled out of overall Medicare ” But anyone depending on our government to do what other governments automatically do for people needs to take a really hard look at the American Indian.” Why do we need to take a really hard look at the American Indian? Are they somehow differently impacted by being poor than whites? I was under the impression that poverty came in all races. Please please keep race out of every single discussion in the country. IF YOU ARE POOR and need medical care in the USA you are in trouble. Period. If you are poor and old in this country you are in trouble. This country’s entire healthcare system is failing our population. Medicare is failing our seniors. It doesn’t matter WHAT race you are.
  17. I will be receiving my new City scooter soon, I’m hoping to get more of my family and friends interested in purchasing them, we live very close to the ocean in Los Angeles. I’m. veey surprised it hasn’t grown in popularity here in my area.
    1. What kind of scooter do you have have. My knees are gone I can’t walk far I fall a lot too when I walk in our house I have to hold on to walls and things. My back kills me too I’m over weight which doesn’t help matters either. But we are looking for a scooter we can afford. But I think mine would have to be heavy duty
      1. If u can afford it,look on line. I looked under inexpensive,or Walmart medical scooters. They’re about $600-700. For a good one and u can pay payments.

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