Navigating the world of healthcare coverage can be tricky, especially when it comes to finding out if Medicare will cover a free shower chair. While the short answer is “it depends,” there are a variety of factors, considerations, and potential avenues through Medicaid, VA benefits, or private insurance that could lead to you getting a shower chair at little to no cost.
In this blog, we’ll unravel the complexities, lay out the requirements, and guide you through the steps to take to secure this essential piece of equipment. Stay tuned to find out how to make your bathroom safer without breaking the bank!
Does Medicare Cover Shower Chairs?
If the use of a shower chair is deemed necessary by the Medicare Part B Advantage criteria under the Durable Medical Equipment for home use or Medicare Part A use in a rehabilitation or skilled nursing home, the cost of the shower chair is paid for at no cost to you.
What Types of Shower Chairs are Covered by Medicare?
Medicare covers pretty much every type of shower chair available, which includes the following:
- Shower Chairs That Fold Down – Since they are installed within the shower (making them one of the few permanent shower chairs available), these offer the maximum amount of support. When using the shower, you’ll find handlebars, a back, and sometimes another handlebar to help you stay upright.
- Transfer Bench – For those who have difficulty transferring in and out of the tub, this is the superior option. These are a bit longer than the average shower chair. Inside the tub, one leg is attached to each side, while the other leg is attached to the tub itself. Sit down and then slide your way to the tub.
- Shower Chair That Roll – These seats are mobile and secure. It’s not uncommon for a flip-up seat to double as a commode for emergency use in some models.
- Standard Shower Chair – The standard chair comes with or without a backrest. These chairs have four legs and appear to be a normal chair in appearance. To make getting in and out of the chair simpler, they often have handgrips. Depending on the level of support required, you may even choose one with a back.
- Folding Shower Chair – This is great for those who have difficulty getting in and out of the bathtub. They’re a bit longer than the average shower chair. Two of the chair legs are within the tub when the other two are outside the tub. A person can sit in the tub and then glide to the location where they are washing.
What are the Medicare Requirements for Shower Chairs?
A shower chair is considered a piece of durable medical equipment or (DME) which is durable medical equipment that must be reusable and designed to be used mostly in the patient’s home.
As the need for in-home care services grows, so does the demand for medical equipment to be used in the residence.
The individual must have a disease or injury that affects their ability to stand for any period of time, balance problems that could cause them to fall and get injured.
Medicare-Approved Suppliers – Where to Buy a Shower Chair through Medicare?
You can visit the Medicare supplies directory at Medicare.com for a list of suppliers in your area. Just type in your zip code and the type of shower chair you need.
Will Medicaid Pay for a Shower Chair?
Medicaid is a federal-state partnership program that offers low- or no-cost health insurance to low-income Americans. Some low-income families, women who are pregnant, the elderly, and those with disabilities are included. Medicaid is funded in part by the federal government, which establishes rules and regulations for the program.
Medicaid does pay for shower chairs for people who a physician has deemed a shower chair medically necessary.
If you are low-income but have a Medicaid insurance plan instead of the government-state-funded program, you may have to pay a small portion of the cost of the shower chair.
Free Shower Chairs for Veterans – How to Get One?
Yes, veterans are eligible for shower chairs. There are a few programs that specifically help veterans with their medical needs, including shower chairs.
When a doctor determines that a piece of medical equipment is medically required, Tricare will pay for it.
Cash & Counseling
Community services called (Cash & Counseling) also help veterans. They are a program sponsored by the Veterans Medical Hospital. Each local hospital has its own program. Each program includes the following – For veterans, it gives them care within a budget that they can manage themselves. As a result, medically necessary durable medical supplies are covered by the program.
There are also three grants available for veterans – SHA, SAH, and HISA. All three of these grants are primarily designed for home modifications. However, they purchase medically necessary equipment such as shower chairs for veterans.
Is a program called Aid & Attendance that provides cash for low-income veterans. It can be used to buy anything, including shower chairs.
Does Insurance Cover Shower Chairs? What You Need to Know?
Traditional medical insurance does cover shower chairs. Usually, when an individual uses their health insurance through their place of employment, the injury or illness is expected to be temporary.
With most insurances such as Blue Cross and Blue Sheild, a deductible must be met, based on the amount of your weekly payments. In some cases, the individual usually has to pay 20% of the cost of the shower chair.
Free Shower Chair – Other Ways to Get a Shower Chair for free
People often donate shower chairs to organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Salvation Army, Goodwill, local churches, and senior community centers, making them great options for finding a free or low-cost shower chair.
Most of the time, these chairs are offered at no cost, though a small donation is always appreciated. If this search proves fruitless, consult your doctor, who can leverage their extensive network to help you find one.
Alternatively, you can borrow a shower chair from these organizations temporarily, or rent one from a local medical supply company at a reasonable rate if purchase is necessary.