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Does Medicare Pay For Wheelchair Ramps & How To Ask For Assistance: Guide For Mobility

concrete wheelchair ramp in front of a door

Last Updated: September 28, 2021

A wheelchair needs a ramp for you to feel completely independent.

Plus…

If there's an emergency and no one to assist you, having a wheelchair ramp makes it easier to exit your home. Your home design and mobility needs define the type of ramp needed, whether it's a portable, foldable, or permanent style.

Before you worry about that: Will Medicare pay for a wheelchair ramp?

Unfortunately, Medicare doesn't pay for such accessories unless your doctor can prove you need them for medical reasons.

Let's explain this process further as we answer the question...

Does Medicare Pay For Wheelchair Ramps?

wheelchair ramp for public

Let's first explain how Medicare works and who is eligible.

Medicare comes from the federal government. It's one of the top insurance programs for most Americans, especially those over 65 years old or younger but with a disability.

Popular plans under Medicare are Medicare Part A, Part B, and Medicare Advantage, which allows you to enjoy the benefits of Part A and B from private companies. Part A and B are under the Original Medicare Plan, and mobility aids fall under Part B as durable medical equipment (DME).

So, does medicare cover wheelchair ramps?

Yes, on the condition that you're using it for medical purposes as that's the only way Medicare pays for durable medical equipment.

Your doctor should declare that this equipment is medically necessary.

But:

You can also request a wheelchair ramp through your Medicare Advantage plan. Initially, you couldn't. Nonetheless, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) made it possible in 2018.

Under these changes, policyholders can request supplemental benefits to prevent injury, or the need for emergency care, to improve the health or functionality of the person.

Alternative Sources Of Ramps

portable wheelchair ramp

Go ahead and look for a wheelchair ramp elsewhere even as you figure out Medicare options. 

Non-Profit Organizations

Seniors can get assistance from various NGOs like Habitat for Humanity, Senior Corps, Rebuilding Together, Centers for Independent Living, and Phi Beta Kappa. Such organizations help you make home improvements so that you have a ramp to walk on.

Volunteers offer labor, thereby reducing the cost of the home improvement project.

Getting a ramp plus home renovations from non-profits is better than Medicare as they cover the cost entirely. Remember, Medicare pays for 80% of the cost of durable medical equipment, and you take care of the 20%.

The downside of ramp donations is the competitive application process, as there are thousands of people in need. You may apply several times unsuccessfully.

Does Medicare cover wheelchair ramps for rent? Yes, under Medicare Plan B, you can rent or buy the equipment. Hence, when your doctor proves you need a ramp as medical equipment, you can rent one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Wheelchair Ramps Covered By Medicare?

No, it doesn't cover it directly. To understand this, as we explained above, you have to define the parameters of Medicare Part B, which covers durable medical equipment for medical purposes.

These equipment, such as best wheelchairs for elderly and mobility scooters, are for home use only.

Therefore, your doctor evaluates your medical condition and prescribes the most appropriate equipment to enable you to carry on with daily activities like bathing. Using that description, your doctor must prove that a ramp directly serves medical purposes.

The best alternative to Medicare Part B is Medicare Advantage, which combines benefits accrued in Medicare Part A & B, plus other additional covers. With it, you can argue your case for a ramp as equipment that prevents further injury and eliminates the need for emergency care.

The out-of-pocket costs for Medicare Advantage plans vary. The determining factors are if your plan charges you a monthly premium, pays your Medicare Part B premium, has annual deductibles or copayments for every service.

Additionally, out-of-pocket costs vary if your doctor and supplier accept assignments (equipment cost stated by Medicare).

Another concern as you seek a wheelchair ramp through Medicare Advantage plans is the prior authorization your durable medical equipment supplier needs for approval.

For a more detailed explanation, watch this:

How Do You Get A Free Wheelchair Ramp?

For Medicare and Medicaid, you'll probably pay part of the cost. But, when you ask for assistance from NGOs like the ones we mentioned in the section above, it's at zero cost.

They take care of the ramp, the materials to remodel your home, plus labor. Hence, to get free wheelchairs and a free ramp for different types of wheelchairs, apply for one from charities and foundations.

Does Medicaid Cover Wheelchair Ramps?

The regular Medicaid plan will only pay for wheelchair ramps if your doctor can prove it's a medical necessity in the same level as an oxygen tank.

Therefore, you see, it's almost impossible to ask for a ramp using that program unless you want to pursue it, even if it means arguing your case in court.

But, if you'd like to get help fast, without an arduous legal battle, try Medicaid waivers where the federal government can waiver rules of a Medicaid plan. With these waivers, you can get a wheelchair ramp as a home modification or assistive technology.

Final Thoughts

Does Medicare pay for wheelchair ramps? Yes, it does, if your doctor can prove you need this equipment for medical purposes. That's the requirement for any equipment under Medicare Part B.

Alternatively, use a plan in Medicare Advantage or Medicaid by proving that the ramp is assistive technology necessary to prevent further injury and eliminate emergency care.

If these options fail, you can ask for a free wheelchair ramp from non-profits, and they'll help you organize the home remodeling as well.

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