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Free Walker for Seniors: How to Get a Free Walker Near Me

By Maurice

free walker for seniors

Seniors want to maintain their mobility. In some situations, the use of a walker or rollator will make that possible. Seniors searching for a free walker should consider their options. This may include Medicare, Medicaid, veteran’s organizations, and other agencies. While some providers only cover a part of the cost, there may be other supplementary resources available.

Getting a Walker through Medicare: How It Works

Coverage for walkers and rollators falls under Medicare Part B. This section of the Medicare insurance program for seniors specifies medical and mobility devices that have received approval for funding or reimbursement as durable medical equipment (DME).

In order for the walker or rollator to be covered for full or partial reimbursement, the following conditions must be met:

  • The item must be considered "medically necessary" based upon the professional opinion and determination of a physician or qualified health care provider.
  • The item must be prescribed by a physician, podiatrist, or other properly credentialed medical professional that assumes responsibility for issuing the prescription.
  • The doctor issuing the prescription and the supplier must also have a relationship with Medicare in which they are enrolled participants who have agreed to abide by Medicare policies in order to receive payment for their services or equipment provided.
  • The item must be considered a "cost effective" solution or equipment to address the medically necessary situation. This means that you may receive a basic walker, rather than one of higher quality, based upon Medicare's determination.

Here are other important considerations:

Generally, Medicare Part B does not cover the full cost of these devices. Medicare Plan B covers 80% of the approved price. You will most likely be responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses, usually amounting to the remaining 20%.

You may be able to get a free walker using Medicare, if certain conditions are met:

Getting a Walker through Medicaid: How It Works

Medicaid and Medicare cover different groups, though there may be some overlap in eligibility. Similar to Medicare, Medicaid only reimburses walkers or rollators that are deemed to be medically necessary. Medicaid generally covers cost-effective DME prescribed by a doctor. It is possible that you may not receive the equipment you want, based upon the prescription submitted and Medicaid's determination of what you require.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is administered by individual states. Lists of covered equipment and definitions of services and devices covered may vary from one state to another. To investigate coverage options and limitations under Medicaid, you should contact the Medicaid administrator in your state of residence.

Medicaid in most states covers walkers or rollators for individuals who meet eligibility requirements defined by state laws and regulations. Most have similar basic requirements to Medicare:

  • The item must be medically necessary.
  • The item must have a prescription issued by a doctor or practitioner with proper credentials.
  • The doctor and supplier must be enrolled in Medicare/Medicaid for reimbursement.
  • The item provided must be cost effective.

State procedures, rules, and income limitations may vary widely. Those planning to use a Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver may have to take additional steps that differ from Medicare. The monthly income cap in one state may be noticeably different than in neighboring states.

Despite these additional requirements that vary by state, Medicaid usually does provide full funding for walkers and rollators. This differs from Medicare, the federal program that generally caps coverage at 80%. Since many seniors are eligible for both programs, they should determine which option offers the best coverage for their walker or rollator.

Getting a Free Walker for Veterans: How It Works

In addition to the options above, veterans with military service should consider programs and financial assistance offered to them through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and state-level offices with a similar mission. Although offices in different states may have varying responsibilities and levels of support, the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs (NASDVA) does coordinate between these units and shares information about state-based resources.

Most veterans offices define DME as assistive equipment that has a medical purpose and is created for repeated use. There are three notable programs:

  • TRICARE plans include varying levels of coverage and may require enrollment fees. These plans should cover the remaining 20% co-pay for DME not available in Medicare.
  • CHAMPVA for Life (CFL) covers some military family members who are ineligible for TRICARE. This coverage through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) should generally cover the remaining 20% co-pay.
  • VD-HCBS, or the Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services, may also offer some support for costs related to DME.

Getting a Free Walker for the Disabled

Elderly Americans who have disabilities should be able to secure a walker from one of the programs above, depending on their age, income level, and military service record. They may also want to consider locally-based agencies and groups who provide used medical equipment. Qualification requirements vary by geographic location and the local organizations involved.

Closing Thoughts

This resource offers helpful information to serve as a starting point for seniors who want to get a free walker. Contacting the offices of these providers is an important first step. Good luck with your search!

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