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Elderly woman holding on grab bar in toilet.

Does Medicare Cover Grab Bars?

Grab bars are helpful for those who are older as well as people who are handicapped. They use these bars to move around more safely. They are most common in the bathroom.

If you’re in need of one, a common question you may have is “does Medicare cover grab bars?”

In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You’ll also find the average costs of grab bars as well as other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Grab Bars?

The short answer is, no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of grab bars. However, there are some situations where you may be able to get coverage from Medicare.

As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your grab bar. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare usually will not cover grab bars. This is because they are not considered Durable Medical Equipment. Durable Medical Equipment, or DME, are items that Original Medicare covers if doctors deem them to be medically necessary.

There is a list of criteria for an item to be considered as DME:

  • It will be used in your home
  • It will be used for a medical reason
  • It can be used repeatedly
  • It has a lifespan of at least three years

Grab bars are not considered medically necessary because Medicare often considers bathroom modifications as “not primarily medical in nature.” But even though grab bars are not DME, there is a way Medicare may cover them.

Though this is a rare occasion, Medicare may cover grab bars if they are given a medical diagnosis that states why you need them. You will also need to submit a prescription from your doctor that says why the bar is medically necessary and how it will improve your condition.

But even with that, it is still not a guarantee Medicare will cover them.

On the other hand, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover grab bars in the home bathroom, as well as home health services. But since there is no guarantee and you may shoulder the full cost of a grab bar, it’s good to know how much a grab bar costs.

How Much Do Grab Bars Cost?

Grab bars can cost anywhere between $20 to $200. Most commonly you’ll find them in the $40 to $100 range. The costs depend on what type of grab bar you need and where they will be installed.

Types of Grab Bars

There are 3 main types of grab bars.

Vertical grab bars are easy to grip. They are helpful in rooms including the bathroom, bedroom and living room. They are often easier to use for those with arthritis. However, since they are mounted vertically, they don’t provide much coverage when you’re walking.

Horizontal grab bars do help more in areas where you may be walking a bit. And they are the most common type of grab bar. They can be very helpful when getting in or out of a wheelchair and into the shower or tub.

Diagonal grab bars allow for more natural motion of the hand/wrist when you grab them. They are great for helping get from a sitting to standing position.

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 weighted blankets?

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