Does Medicare Pay For Wheelchair Ramps?
Wheelchair ramps are essential, assistive equipment for people who use wheelchairs. Without one, moving a wheelchair up or down stairs is not only an arduous task but can also be a dangerous one. In light of this, getting a ramp set up for your home is a crucial need for many wheelchair users – and unfortunately, often, a costly one, with many ramps (depending on the type) costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
It is this cost that begs the question: Will Medicare pay for a wheelchair ramp?
Generally, Medicare will not pay for a wheelchair ramp. This is because Medicare Part B only subsidizes the cost of “Durable Medical Equipment” such as wheelchair ramps when they are deemed directly medically necessary by a licensed physician. That said, there may be exceptions under specific Medicare Advantage plans.
Despite this, fortunately, there are other ways in which you can acquire a wheelchair ramp without putting a massive dent in your wallet. We expand on these below, or if you would prefer to watch our video version of this article, you can view it right here:
In This Article
Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment Policy
The durable medical equipment policy from Medicare covers a wide range of equipment that is used for medical purposes. These include devices like wheelchairs, hospital beds, crutches, canes, suction pumps, and oxygen equipment as well as other accessories. However, generally, Medicare will not cover wheelchair ramps because they are not considered directly medically necessary in the same way as something like an oxygen tank.
However, there are exceptions to these rules. If you or a loved one plans to use a wheelchair ramp because it has been deemed medically necessary by a licensed physician, you might be eligible for full reimbursement. Of course, this is easier said than done. The bar set for “medical necessity” is high, and mere convenience is unlikely to meet it.
In reality, most of the time, wheelchair ramps are not considered to be medically necessary equipment. While this is contestable in court and has been done so successfully several times, the legal costs tend to add up to much more than the price of a ramp itself – making the strategy pointless.
It is also worth noting that, in relation to Medicaid, the same rules typically apply.
More Affordable Alternatives
When we think of a wheelchair ramp, we are usually thinking of a permanent, unmovable, fixture to a property. However, most of the time a permanent ramp is not what a wheelchair user needs, and thankfully temporary options are often much for affordable (e.g., under $500!).
Portable wheelchair ramps are smaller than permanent ramps, and are designed to be easy to move from one place to another. They are cheaper, more flexible, and generally, a great option if establishing a permanent ramp is likely to exceed your budget.
The best place to start looking for a decent temporary wheelchair ramp is to just Google “buy wheelchair ramps near me”. You should be able to find something affordable that matches your needs, without having to spend thousands of dollars on planning and construction.
Other Ways to Get a Free Wheelchair Ramp
Finally, if a temporary wheelchair ramp is still likely to be too expensive for you, there are other options to consider. There are many religious and charitable organizations that help people with disabilities acquire this sort of equipment. Some of these organizations pay for the full cost of purchasing a ramp, whereas others will only take care of part of it. In either case, you will end up saving a lot of money.
Be sure to check the Habitat for Humanity, the Wounded Warrior Project, and United Way, to get financial assistance for a wheelchair ramp. Other organizations, which you can also look into include; the National Council on Independent Living, Rebuilding Together, the Reeve Foundation, and the government’s Corporation for National and Community Service.
In addition to the above, if your need for a wheelchair is only temporary, it might be worth considering renting a wheelchair ramp instead of buying one. If you contact your local or state authorities, they should be able to point you in the right direction in regards to this.
If all that fails, feel free to contact us, and we will try to put you in contact with an organization able to help.
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