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Scooters For Seniors: Does Medicare Pay For My Scooter?

Last Updated On: January 7, 2019

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

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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”).

RELATED: QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE BUYING A SCOOTER

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 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.  If you're considering buying a scooter, make sure you read The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Scooters for Seniors.

15 Comments

  1. 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!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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:)

  8. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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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