One of the most commonly modified parts of the house is the bathroom. That is due to the fact that the bathroom is one of the most hazardous rooms in our homes. In fact, according to multiple sources, it’s the room of the home where the most accidents occur.
So many older adults need a bathroom remodel to make the bathroom safer for them. However, bathroom remodels can be very expensive. Which brings up the common question “does Medicare cover bathroom remodeling?”
Below we answer this question in clear, plain English. We also look at the average costs of bathroom remodeling as well as other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Bathroom Remodeling?
The short answer is that, no, Original Medicare is not going to pay for your bathroom remodel. But, as is typically the case with Medicare, there’s more to the story than that.
Medicare Part B may pay for some things needed to make your bathroom safer. And, depending on your Medicare Advantage plan, you may be able to get coverage for even more. Let’s look at the details some more.
Medicare Part B will cover some services and equipment as long as it is considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME). You doctor will also have to consider the equipment to be medically necessary and write a prescription for it.
Medicare Part B will pay for an occupational therapist who will assess the home, determining the medically necessary modifications for the aging resident.
For example, if a regular toilet is not safe to use and your doctor prescribes a commode chair, Part B will cover it. Or, at least Medicare will pay for 80% of the commode chair if the supplier accepts the Medicare assignment.
There are other types of so-called “assistive technology” that Medicare Part B will pay for. But, again, only if your doctor prescribes it and says it’s medically necessary.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may get more coverage for bathroom modifications. These plans (also known as Medicare Part C) all include the same minimum coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B.
However, some Medicare Advantage plans have additional benefits. These benefits may include walk-in tubs or showers, grab bars, traction strips for tubs, raised toilet seats, and widened doorways.
So it’s important to shop around for the Advantage plans that have the benefits most important to you.
How Much Does Bathroom Remodeling Cost?
Bathroom remodeling can cost $120 to $275 per square foot, on average.
A full bathroom remodeling can cost at least $2,000 for smaller bathrooms. High-end bathrooms can cost from $10,000 to $30,000. The average bathroom remodel costs from around $9,000 to over $15,000.
Bathroom remodeling for disabled people can cost from $2,500 to $10,000. Bathroom remodels for disabled people include grab bars, railings, adjustment of the sink and toilet heights, a walk-in bathtub or walk-in shower, handheld showerhead, and widened doorways.
Labor averages 50% of the total cost, but it can range from 35% to 60%. Bathroom remodeling can cost more if you are living in an area with high real estate prices.
The materials that will be used can cost between $2,000 to $10,000. Also, it may be helpful to keep in mind that remodeling a bathroom in stages is often less expensive than remodeling the whole bathroom.
Bathroom Remodeling for Seniors
Some seniors prefer to live in their own homes instead of in retirement homes or assisted living facilities. They are attached to their homes and find them more comfortable. And, in some cases, seniors may not want to go to retirement or nursing homes as they find it embarrassing. They’d much rather stick to the independent lifestyle.
It is often a great option for seniors to stay in their home. However, some parts of their home must be remodeled, modified, or even renovated for their safety. After all, you can’t deny that aging can take a toll on our bodies!
Bathroom remodeling is essential for seniors and people with disabilities because it makes it easier and less risky to access and use the bathroom. A simple turning of a traditional tub and shower to a walk-in shower is already a big help. And adding bathroom chairs and grab bars is an innovation that most people with balance issues find extremely helpful.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover HIFU?