Seniors don’t need a prescription for a mobility scooter if they plan to pay for it out-of-pocket. However, there are advantages to having a prescription written by a physician or occupational therapist, as Medicare’s Wheelchair & Scooter Benefit pays 80% of the total cost of a mobility scooter. Medicaid often covers the remaining 20% for low-income seniors.
Mobility Scooter Prescriptions for Medicare Assistance
Medicare helps seniors pay for durable medical equipment, such as mobility scooters and wheelchairs, through its Part B coverage, which is also responsible for covering outpatient hospital stays and doctor visits.
To obtain a prescription for a mobility scooter, a senior must complete a face-to-face evaluation with a physician or therapist to determine whether a mobility scooter is medically necessary as a part of their medical treatment or to allow them to complete daily activities of living, such as meal prep, bathing and other personal care tasks.
Criteria for Meeting Prescription Requirements for Mobility Scooters
It isn’t enough for a senior to show that they can benefit from the use of a mobility scooter; they must also establish that a mobility scooter is the best option for their particular medical needs. For a senior to obtain a prescription for a mobility scooter, they must:
- Medically require a mobility scooter over another form of mobility assistance
- Have a mobility limitation that makes it difficult for them to complete everyday tasks, such as bathing, feeding or toileting
- Have enough space in the home to maneuver the scooter between rooms
- Be able to transfer into and out of the scooter as well as operate it safely in different environments
- Have the ability to sit up without assistance and demonstrate postural stability
Mobility Scooters Without a Prescription
With a written prescription from a doctor or occupational therapist to verify that a senior is in medical need of a mobility scooter, Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans cover most, if not all, of the total cost of the scooter. Seniors who can’t establish the medical necessity required to obtain a prescription can still purchase a mobility scooter out-of-pocket. Some states also have grant or scholarship programs available to help seniors locate and pay for mobility scooters.