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does Medicare cover handicap showers

Does Medicare Cover Handicap Showers?

The bathroom is a slippery place. And that means it can be dangerous for seniors with balance or mobility problems. To prevent accidents, there are certain kinds of bathroom equipment and renovations meant to lessen those risks. One of which is handicap showers.

This leads to the common question of “does Medicare cover handicap showers?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of handicap showers and other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Handicap Showers?

The short answer is no. In most cases, Medicare will not cover the cost of handicapped showers. That said, there may be some situations where you can get these costs covered. Below we’ll take a closer look at this to see when you might be able to get Medicare to pay for your handicapped showers. 

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) does not provide coverage for handicap showers. That means you will have to pay 100 percent of the cost of your handicapped showers. Even though handicap showers may seem like Durable Medical Equipment (or at least a preventive service), both of which are covered by Medicare Part B, they are not considered as such. 

Bathroom safety equipment and renovations are not considered medically necessary as it is not primarily medical in nature. This is according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Instead, Medicare considers them convenience items. 

However, in very rare cases, Original Medicare may provide coverage for your walk-in shower installation. The coverage for bathroom remodeling comes in the form of reimbursement. This means that you will first pay for the remodeling of your bathroom, then Medicare will reimburse for it.

In cases like this, the installation of a walk-in shower must be absolutely medically necessary. It can be considered medically necessary if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that proves why you need a walk-in shower. But even under these circumstances, Original Medicare will still likely deny your request for reimbursement. 

Part C Coverage for Handicap Showers

Just like with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) may also provide coverage for handicap showers if you meet the same conditions that you needed for Original Medicare to cover your handicap shower. Medicare Advantage plans cover everything Original Medicare covers and some additional benefits. However, coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan.

However, Medicare Part C is less strict when it comes to bathroom remodeling as long as it is medically necessary.  

How Much Do Walk-in Showers Cost?

Installation of walk-in showers may cost somewhere from $8,000 to $15,000. The total cost includes the following:

  • Demolition
  • Plumbing
  • Waterproofing
  • Shower pan
  • Placement of tiles
  • Finish plumbing
  • Installation of glass panels and doors

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 nursing homes?

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