Does Medicare Cover Walk In Bathtubs And Other Questions Seniors Ask

The following questions are often asked by seniors about Medicare. See how many of the questions you can answer correctly.

  1. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a walk in bathtub?
    • Yes
    • No
  2. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a powered wheelchair?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. Does Medicare cover home oxygen equipment and supplies?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. Does Medicare cover hospice or respite care?
    • Yes
    • No
  5. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a hospital bed?
    • Yes
    • No
  6. Does Medicare cover physical or occupational therapy?
    • Yes
    • No
  7. Does Medicare cover seat lift mechanisms?
    • Yes
    • No
  8. Does Medicare cover therapeutic shoes.
    • Yes
    • No
  9. Does Medicare cover alternative therapies such as acupuncture or biofeedback?
    • Yes
    • No
  10. Does Medicare cover you if you travel outside of the United States?
    • Yes
    • No

Let’s see how well you did.

  1. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a walk in bathtub?
    • No, not officially. Some seniors have succeeded in receiving partial coverage for their walk in bathtub purchase if they took the time to secure a physicians prescription for the walk in tub. Make sure you have enough money in your budget for both purchasing the tub and remodeling your home so that your walk in bathtub purchase doesn’t become a burden to your budget.
  2. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a powered wheelchair?
    • Yes, if your physician prescribes it because you are unable to walk due to a neurological, muscular or cardiopulmonary disease, and you are unable to manipulate a manual wheelchair. This cost is covered under Medicare Part B.

      Medicare requires you to purchase your motorized wheelchair from a Medicare registered supplier, and Medicare requires you to pay 20% of the amount Medicare allows. Make sure that you are making arrangements with the Medicare and rolled supplier. If you don’t, you could be charged the full amount, instead of only 20%.

      Some states will charge you an annual deductible, before you can take advantage of Medicare Part B services and supplies. This is $135 as of 2009.
  3. Does Medicare cover home oxygen equipment and supplies?
    • Yes, if your doctor recommends it because of severe lung disease. Medicare will help pay for the system that supplies the oxygen, containers that store oxygen, tubing and related supplies that deliver the oxygen and oxygen contents. You will have to pay for 20% of the Medicare approved costs. Once again an annual deductible of $135 applies.
  4. Does Medicare cover hospice care?
    • Yes, if you have Medicare Part A coverage. You will have to sign a statement that you are choosing hospice care instead of routine Medicare covered benefits for your terminal illness. You also have to supply proof from a doctor that you are terminally ill and that you probably have less than six months to live. If you live in a rural area, Medicare allows a nurse practitioner to serve as your attending physician, but a nurse practitioner cannot diagnose your terminal status.

      Hospice care will not reimburse you for the cost of room and board, but it will cover costs when a hospice patient is admitted to a hospital or skilled nursing facility for inpatient or respite level care.
  5. Does Medicare cover the purchase of a hospital bed?
    • Yes, Medicare will cover the cost of a hospital bed if you are unable to use a normal bed. Your doctor must provide you with a prescription, which must be on file with the hospital bed supplier. You must also make sure that the supplier is enrolled with Medicare and has a Medicare supplier number. Unless the supplier has a Medicare number, you will pay the full cost of the hospital bed.

      Medicare has to approve the amount for the bed, and you will be expected to pay 20% of that amount. You can elect whether you want to rent or purchase your bed. You have to pay an annual deductible of $135 on items that are covered under Part B, before Medicare begins to pay its share. Also realize that Medicare will not cover a total electric hospital bed, a big board, and over the bed table or a trapeze bar with a bit attachment when used on a normal bed.
  6. Does Medicare cover physical or occupational therapy?
    • Yes, Medicare will help to pay for medically necessary outpatient physical, occupational and language therapy services, but only up to a yearly limit of $1840. To take advantage of speech therapy, the service must be provided in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. But physical and occupational therapy can be provided by a Medicare approved provider in private practice.
  7. Does Medicare cover seat lift mechanisms?
    • Maybe. Seat lift mechanisms are only covered for individuals who have severe arthritis of the hip or knee or have a severe neuromuscular disease. It must be part of the doctor’s recommended treatment plan for improving or preventing the deterioration of your condition.

      When Medicare covers a seat lift mechanism it will only cover the mechanism itself, not the cost of the entire chair. The supplier must be enrolled with Medicare and have a Medicare supplier number. If you purchase the chair from a non-Medicare supplier, you will not receive a reimbursement.

      Seat lift mechanisms are subject to the annual hundred $35 deductible for Medicare Part B services, but you are not required to pay 20% of the cost.
  8. Does Medicare cover therapeutic shoes.
    • Maybe, if you have severe diabetic foot disease and the doctor writes a prescription for therapeutic shoes and inserts. Dishes and inserts must be provided by a podiatrist, orthotist, prosthetist, or pedorthist. You will be limited to one pair of therapeutic shoes and/ or inserts each year, subject to the $135 annual deductible. Costs for fitting the shoes are also covered. You can expect to pay 20% of the Medicare approved amount.
  9. Does Medicare cover alternative therapies such as acupuncture or biofeedback?
    • No, Medicare does not cover most alternative therapies, though it will cover chiropractic care.
  10. Does Medicare cover you if you travel outside of the United States?
    • No, unless you are traveling to one of the United States territories such as Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Northern Mariana islands, in most cases you will not be covered by Medicare.

      There are some exceptions. If you are near the Canadian or Mexican border when an emergency occurs, and the nearest hospital available to treat you resides in one of these countries, Medicare will pay inpatient hospital services. Also if you are driving through Canada, and route to Alaska, you can be treated in a Canadian hospital in an emergency as long as the Canadian hospital is closer than the stateside hospital. You may also go to a Canadian or Mexican hospital for routine care if it is closer to your legal residence than the nearest US hospital.

      These rules apply only if you have Medicare Part A benefits.

Did you discover some things you didn’t know about Medicare? Or were you already a Medicare expert?

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