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Will Medicare Pay for a Walk-In Tub?

A question we get asked a lot is “will Medicare pay for a walk-in tub?” Unfortunately the short answer to that is no, in most cases, Medicare will not pay for a walk-in tub. However, Medicare is not your only option. Read on to find out other ways to get financial assistance with the cost of a walk-in tub.

Shopping for walk-in tubs? Check out our list of retailers: Top Walk-In Tubs for Seniors

Why Won't Medicare Pay for a Walk-In Tub?

Although walk-in tubs are very helpful, Medicare doesn’t classify them as durable medical equipment (medically necessary, durable, and not useful to someone who isn’t sick or disabled.) As such, Medicare won’t usually contribute to the cost of a walk-in tub, or its installation.

RELATED: ALL ABOUT WALK-IN TUBS [What you need to know before buying]

Are There Any Exceptions?

In very rare cases, Medicare might cover the cost of a walk-in tub. The user must have a medical prescription spelling out the reasons they need a tub, and the extra features that they need too. Medicare needs to be completely satisfied that the tub is a medical necessity.

However, even in these cases, assistance comes in the form of reimbursement after the purchase and is not guaranteed. As such, we recommend making sure you can cover the cost of the tub in case Medicare doesn’t decide in your favor.

Will Medicare Pay for a Walk-In Tub?

What Are The Other Options For Reducing My Cost Of A Walk-In Tub?

Learning that Medicare doesn't cover walk-in tubs can be disappointing. After all, for many people, a walk-in tub is a helpful piece of equipment, one that makes bath time much safer and promotes independence. Unfortunately, walk-in tubs are also fairly expensive, with the most basic wheelchair-accessible models starting at around $3000. There are other models for around $2000, depending on your mobility needs.

RELATED: HOME SAFETY – WHAT IS A STAIR LIFT?

Let’s take a look at other ways to ease the financial burden of purchasing a walk-in tub.

  • Medicaid

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is much more likely to pay for installation of a walk-in tub. For example, California has a Medicaid program that helps nursing home residents make the transition back to their home – this might include modifications such as installing a walk-in tub. In some states, Medicaid covers environmental modifications or specialized medical equipment in the home.

To find out what is available in your area, you can call Medicaid toll-free on 877-267-2323.

  • Veteran Benefits

Some veteran benefits might cover the cost of a walk-in tub. Specifically, home modification grants are a viable option for older veterans, as they cover a range of home modifications such as putting in a tub. Veterans may also qualify under the home and community based services program, or may be eligible for extra assistance above and beyond their veterans pension.

For more information about veterans benefits, you can call the Department of Veterans Affairs toll-free on 877-267-2323.

  • Grants

The US Department of Agriculture offers a grant (the USDA Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Grant) to seniors living on a low income in rural areas. Seniors can apply to use this grant to cover home modifications, including the cost of a walk-in tub.

The best way to start the application process is to contact your local USDA service center. You can find a map of service centers in each state here.

RELATED: DOES MEDICARE PAY FOR MEDICAL ALERT SYSTEMS?

  • Financial assistance programs

If you find your local Medicaid program won’t cover a tub, and you don’t live in an area covered by the USDA grant program, it’s worth checking for other financial assistance programs in your area. Many states offer non-Medicaid programs to help seniors with medical care or home modifications.

To get started, check out this list of programs by state. 

  • Payment plans

Some walk-in tub manufacturers offer payment plans to help spread the cost of purchasing a tub. While shopping for tubs, it’s worth asking if payment plans are available. Before signing up to any plan, be sure to read the small print carefully and be clear on how much you will have to pay, how often, and for how long.

If you need help with the cost of a walk-in tub, check out the options listed above. Although Medicare doesn’t cover walk-in tubs (generally), there are several other ways to get help, and hopefully ease the burden of purchase and installation.

18 Comments

  1. What about due to knee replacement (3) times on same knee still is messed up and can’t get up and down in a tub due to I can not get up and down . Would that be something they might cover some of . Now I’m dealing with skin problems due to can not bath like I used to . Only me here . I have Medicard and Medicare only I’m Disabity .
  2. I understand you frustrating situation I am very disable need ramps and live in a mobile home wheel chairs won’t maneuver through doorways so I am limited to kitchen living room area I do use a walker but even it is very hard to get in bathroom so I leave it in hallway and pray I don’t fall trying to take a shower on a kitchen chair…
  3. I am wheelchair bound, have no feeling in my feet and legs, and have two destroyed knees that I cannot have replaced because of other health issues no Doctor will operate on me. I also gave a heart condition, diabetes, and cirrosis of my liver. I am 79 years old, have a live-in caretaker paid for by the State, and I have Medicare and Medicaid. No assets and very low income ,(Medicare & Disability), I get help on many levels which I am extremely thankful for every day. The one big thing I can’t solve is my ability to take a wonderful, hot, soaking bath daily. I have been informed Medicare won’t help, sometimes Medicaid will help but very little, and I have no way to make payments, or get a credit card to help me purchase a walk-in tub. I have contacted my social worker and he has no idea how I can get assistance in paying for a walk-in tub. I have all but given up completely, and the only thing that keeps me trying to resolve this problem is I would love to have just one more bath before I die. Looks like that won’t happen tho. Anyone have any suggestions I haven’t already tried?? Thank you. Bless everyone trying to make thier so-called “Golden Years” a little more golden and a little less just years! Take care.
    1. Hi am Deborah your story is mind I wish I can get help to get a tub, I can’t walk I would love to take a bath.I have’n taken abath in 2yrs sends icame from the nurseing home how canwe get help know one in year 2019 in these USA should nottrying to aks for help to take a bath
  4. I am receiving workers comp due to an accident. My left leg was amputated above the knee, I fractured 112 ribs, I have a hang man’s fracture in my neck at C1 so I have a cervical collar, my left hand has fractures the pins and needles were just removed, I also bruised my aorta, and some other minor things. I was given the chair that helps get in the shower but that’s scary. I have a CNA that comes each day for 3 hours. In my master bathroom is a huge garden tub so that is out of the question. I also have a shower that I have to step up to get in which is a problem but the shower has two seats that I can sit down and bath and actually just sit and relax with the water running over me. I would like to have the shower I like to sit in either have it lowered so I don’t risk falling getting in or have it turned into a walk-in tub. I am thankful for the help of my CNA but if I clean or get sweaty I have to go to bed dirty and wait until the next day to bathe. I’m very independent and trying to find a way to fix my situation. I’m 53 an Army Veteran and I have never had to wait on ppl. I have PTSD anxiety depression and a little anger. I’m glad to be alive. Even when I get fitted with my prosthetic leg I still have to take it off to bathe so I’m back at the same issue. Anyone have any ideas I’m willing to listen. Thank you and BLESS All of you.
  5. it is a shame that medicare will not cover this i called all over to try to get help on a purchase of a walk-in tub I tried financial assistance program denied they said i made to much money i am retired with disability sis with a couple of pension but live from pay check to paycheck i have had two back surgery the first one did not work to well a year later went to another nero surgen and he was well known and very good so i had a second surgery and ended up with two ten inch rods and screws and pins in my lower back i am unable to crawl in and out of a bath tub and not able to stand for along time i was watching tv and saw these walking tubs i called kohlier,american standard safe step this is ridiculous what they wanted for the tubs and found out no one ounce to help you they just re-rout you to some one else if these people who denied us for some kind of relief from buying or help with some financing I don’t understand why medicare people or more apt to get assistance than people on medicaid I am still paying school taxes and property taxes and property and hurricane wind insurance and a mortgage which is a lot of money plus all the driving back and force to doctors and having to pay to do yard work and other minor thing you use to do and your just asking for a little help that you have payed for by working and paying your taxes that you get treated were not entitle because we work i don’t understand now i am having to get a credit card to buy this tub to get some relive and its all up to me we paid into the system and the system let us down maybe its better to be on medicaid
    1. i have similar problem. medicare will pay for 2 trips a week for a shower. 1 hour . medicaid pays for a visit every day. i have als. this is wrong. wish i had medicaid
  6. I have a 1960’s garden tub? I need something to get in the tub ? It’s a small bathroom and I cannot get my legs over the tub? I need help to find out what to do?
    1. Hi Linda- have you looked for a bath bench? Or even better, a transfer bench? Depending on the height of your tub, you should be able to find a product to help you into the tub. Also- If you have Medicare and your physician makes a referral, you can have a home safety evaluation by a home health agency and they can recommend specific products for your home. I hope that helps! Amie

  7. I don’t want a walk in tub..that do not sell a house …I want to know if Medicare pays to have one of my tubs into a shkwef.
  8. If anyone is interested in a walk in tub. We purchased our tub from theratub[dot]com they were very professional to deal with and the pricing was thousands less than some of the other quotes my husband and I received, no pressure they gave us a quote over the phone. Now we are able to bath safely again with our walk in tub.
  9. If you are a renter good luck getting any help with a safe bathing solution. Our tub is original to the house ( 1943) and its rounded where the sides join the bottom. This makes it very hard to get a safe bench not to wobble. It also has a low window above the side wall so no tub or shower enclosures can be installed even if the landlord is willing which is seldom.The bottom of the tub is so slippery that a bathmat or stick ons wont stay put. Very few people realize that seniors and disabled will give up trying to get a safe and relaxing bath or shower if they dont feel safe…this makes them resort to sponge baths and make do. This leads to skin soreness and break down. Many will just accept these circumstances. To live this way for years is a path to depression and introversion. There has to be a better way…
  10. We have a garden tub. It was not our choice but when we bought this house 20 years ago, we had to take the bad with the good to get the house we wanted. This garden tub has a step 9 inches high then a higher step 10 inches high you climb over to get into the tub (or shower). It can be tricky, and perhaps more so, coming out of the shower when you’re wet and slippery. The VA indicated that they might help us out on account of my husband who has physical problems getting in and out of it more than I do. Trouble was we couldn’t accept a simple tub/shower replacement because of the damage it would do to the rest of the bathroom. The walls, tile, wallpaper and floor would have to be replaced as well or it would be a mess! A quicker solution, we decided, would be to have a safety bar at the back of the tub to help one get in and out, and another on the wall across from the steps. It doesn’t take away the awkward steps in our case, but this is to encourage other seniors to think outside the box (or the tub).

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