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Walkers are common for many people who have certain health conditions. These include shortness of breath, arthritic or other similar pain, being afraid of tripping or having fallen in the past, or being unable to walk without support.
But does Medicare cover a walker if you need one? We answer this question below along with the average cost of walkers and other helpful info.
Does Medicare Cover Walkers?
The short answer is, yes, Medicare can cover part of the cost of a walker. They are covered under Medicare Part B if your doctor says a walker is medically necessary for you.
For walkers to be medically necessary, they must be needed due to a specific illness, injury, condition, disease, or its symptoms. Your doctor is required to provide written proof to Medicare, stating how and why the walker is necessary.
Original Medicare covers Durable Medical Equipment (DME) which includes walkers. You just need your doctor or health care provider’s prescription.
But – and this is important! – your doctor and supplier must also be Medicare-approved and accept the assignment. Medicare only covers the DME if your supplier is Medicare-approved and has a Medicare supplier number.
However, Medicare will not cover your walker if it is for recreational use. It also won’t cover them if it’s prescribed for home use but you use it primarily outside your home.
And things can get a little confusing at times. Let’s say you’re in a hospital or nursing home. Even if your care is covered by Medicare, your walker may not be because these are not considered your home. Though if you live in a long-term care facility, that could be considered your home and the walker will be covered.
So, as you can see, it can be a little confusing. The best advice we can give you is to discuss your specific situation with a Medicare approved provider/supplier.
If your walker is covered, Medicare will also pay for a replacement if your walker is lost or stolen. Repairs or replacement is also covered for walkers that break or wear out over time.
Medicare will cover 80% of a walker. You will be responsible for the remaining 20%.
How Much Does A Walker Cost?
Walkers usually cost from $25 up to $100. Folding walkers and those with wheels may cost up to $250.
Types Of Walkers
Walkers help people with mobility issues be more independent by helping them maintain balance and move at the same time. Depending on your needs, there are a few different types of walkers available.
The “standard” walker has a frame with four legs. This type must be lifted with each step. The are ideal for maintaining balance and stability. People at risk of falling forward find this type of walker most useful.
Another type is the two-wheeled walker. It’s similar to a regular walker but has two wheels on its front legs. This allows you to put your weight on the walker as you move. The rubber tips on the back legs prevent the user and walker from rolling.
Hemi Walkers are walkers that allow you to lean on just one side for support. This is great for those with little or no use of one arm or hand.
Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may impact what gets covered and what doesn’t. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what is and isn’t covered by your plan.
Additional Info on Medicare Coverage
This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”
If you found this article “Does Medicare cover walkers?” helpful, please check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover CPAP machines?