Medicare FAQ


General Medicare questions answered.

We do not Bill Medicare:
Visit a local Medicare Provider/Store for Medicare coverage or reimbursement for a eligible products. Medicare claims must be submitted electronically by your local supplier. Medicare may no longer accept (paper) billing from a beneficiary when a product is purchased over the Internet.

Medicare Competitive Bidding Program (Round 2)

The round two rates, amounting to an average reimbursement cut of 45% across affected product categories, kicked in for 91 competitive bidding areas today.

We'll provide you with (what we believe are) the best links to Medicare's pages for finding a product and a supplier in your area capable of billing Medicare. It's confusing. Some designated suppliers for your area may be 2000 miles away! Suppliers may only carry/stock what they call "economy" products for Medicare billing.

*** Find a Medicare Supplier in your area: Medicare Supplier Directory (Opens in new window)
Enter your Zip Code, press Go, check the product category you're interested in, then press "Search" at the bottom of the page.
Note: Many rural areas have been omitted and are exempt from Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program.

Beneficiary Complaint Hotline:
*** Phone number for beneficiary complaints: (800) 404-8702
The phone number above is to live operators and is staffed 24/7. Use this number if you are unhappy with the lack of service and quality equipment you receive resulting from the Medicare bidding policy.

Questions for Medicare:
Medicare phone number:
1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), (TTY users: 1-800-486-2048)

Use this link to lookup a supplier in your postal zip area: Medicare Supplier Directory




RESNA Wheelchair Service Provision Guide

RESNA published a provision guide that describes, step-by-step, what is involved in providing a wheelchair for a patient. Download the RESNA Wheelchair Service Provision Guide. (opens in new window)



Medicare FAQ


Quick answers to frequently asked Medicare questions
  • Assigned vs. non-assigned claims: Assigned means no out of pocket, non-assigned means you pay up-front (reimbursement for purchase). More on Medicare Assignment and Non-Assignment.
  • Capped-Rental: Paid as a monthly rental and not as a reimbursable purchase. More on Medicare Capped Rentals.
  • Compression Hose: At this time Compression Hose are not covered by Medicare.
  • Diabetic Shoes and inserts: In order for Medicare to cover Diabetic Shoes they must be fit to your feet by a local foot specialist. You cannot bill Medicare for shoes sold over the Internet. More on Diabetic Shoes Medicare Coverage.
  • Hospital Beds, Adjustable Beds: Hospital Beds are Capped-Rentals, Adjustable beds are not covered. See your local store for rentals. More on Medicare and Hospital Beds.
  • Lift Chairs: The lift-mechanism is covered, about $280 reimbursement. Files as non-assigned claim, meaning you pay up front. See your local store if you want Medicare to cover Lift Chair. More on Medicare Coverage of Lift Chairs.
  • Patient Lifts: Patient Lifts are a capped-rental item. See your local store for rentals. More on Medicare Coverage of Patient Lifts and Hoyer Lifts.
  • Manual Wheelchairs: Capped-rental. All manual wheelchairs are covered by Medicare as rental only. See your local store if you want Medicare to cover a manual Wheelchair. More on Medicare Coverage of Wheelchairs.
  • Oxygen Concentrators, Nebulizers, CPAP:Capped Rental items. For products such as Oxygen Concentrators, CPAP, Nebulizer and related supplies are covered as a capped-rental. Visit a local supplier that rents these products and bills Medicare. More on Medicare Coverage of Respiratory Products.
  • Power Wheelchairs: Power wheelchairs are now a capped rental. Visit a local store/supplier that is approved by Medicare to bill for a Power Wheelchair Rental. More on Medicare Coverage of Power Wheelchairs.
  • Power Scooters (POVs): Power scooters purchased over the Internet cannot be filed as a non-assignment claim. More on Medicare Coverage of Power Scooters.
  • Walkers and Rollators: Visit a local supplier if you want Medicare to cover your walker or rollator. More on Medicare Coverage of Ambulatory Aids.


How to Obtain Medicare Coverage QUESTION: How do I obtain Medicare coverage for medical equipment I need in the home?

ANSWER: In most cases a Doctor's written prescription (Rx) is all that is required, or Dispensing Order written by the treating physician. Some items require a Detailed Written Order (DWO) prior to delivery or a Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN). You can view or Download Medicare Forms here.

A Dispensing Order (prescription) must include:
  • A description of the item
  • The beneficiary's full name
  • The date of order; and
  • Physician's signature and date
A Written Order must include:
  • Detailed description of the item and accessories
  • The beneficiary's full name
  • An ICD-9-CM diagnosis code
  • Start date of the order
  • The length of need
  • Physician's signature and date


Medicare Assignment and Non-Assignment Billing

QUESTION: What does "assigned" and "non-assigned" mean?

ANSWER: "Assigned" means the supplier accepts the Medicare-approved fee for the equipment. Medicare pays the supplier 80% of the approved fee. Secondary insurance usually picks up the 20% Medicare doesn't cover.. The beneficiary is responsible for the remaining 20%. "Non-assigned" means the beneficiary pays the supplier in full for the equipment and the supplier submits the claim to Medicare. If the item is covered, Medicare reimburses the beneficiary 80% of the approved fee.



Which products are covered by Medicare
QUESTION: What is Covered by Medicare?
ANSWER: Medicare Part B helps pay for durable medical equipment, including;
  • manual wheelchairs (capped rental)
  • power wheelchairs (capped rental)
  • some positioning devices
  • walkers , rollators
  • scooters
  • seat-lift mechanisms for lift-chairs
  • mattress over-lays (capped rental)
  • hospital beds, semi-electric type only (capped rental)
  • patient lifts (capped rental)
  • oxygen equipment (capped rental)
  • artificial limbs
  • orthotics, splints
If you want Medicare coverage on one of the product types listed above visit a local dealer that sells/rents equipment and bills Medicare. Many people are surprised that Manual Wheelchairs and Hospital Beds fall under "capped rental" items. For these "capped rental" items, the dealer (provider) is required to maintain the equipment over the lease period (13 months). You must visit a local dealer for these products.
Durable medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, are covered only when prescribed by a doctor and the coverage criteria is met. You can find out what equipment is covered, and whether a supplier is approved, by calling Medicare's durable medical equipment (DMERC) regional carrier for your area.

Products Not Covered by Medicare

QUESTION: What is NOT covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: Equipment not covered by Medicare includes; adaptive daily living aids such as: ramps, automobile lifts, reachers, sock-aids, utensils, transfer benches, shower chairs, raised toilet seats, adjustable based beds , pulse oximeter and grab bars. Basically, Medicare stops at the bathroom door. For more detailed information regarding coverage, call 1-800-MEDICARE.



Coverage in Nursing Home

QUESTION: What is covered in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility?

ANSWER: Under Part A, orthotics and durable medical equipment are not covered. Under Part B, only orthotics can be covered. If you are about to be discharged from a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, medical equipment can be delivered two days prior to discharge to allow the staff and family to learn how to use the equipment.



Coverage for your Home

QUESTION: What is considered, Home?

ANSWER: Home medical equipment must be appropriate for use in the home. Your "home" is your house, assisted living facility, apartment, a relative's home, or a group home in which you live. However, certain facility's are NOT CONSIDERED YOUR HOME: a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or nursing facility.




Capped Rental
QUESTION: What does capped rental mean?
ANSWER: For the majority of products covered by Medicare, 80% of the rental is covered for 13 continuous months of use. Most secondary insurers pick up the remaining 20%.

Products covered as capped rental:

  • Hospital Beds.
  • Respiratory Equipment such as Oxygen Concentrators.
  • Manual Wheelchairs.
  • Power Wheelchairs.
  • Patient Lifts.
  • Support Surfaces such as Low-Air-Loss, Alternating Pressure and Rotational mattress.

After Medicare has paid for 13 months of continuous use, the supplier may transfer the title to the beneficiary.

Respiratory Products: Some Respiratory products have longer rental periods. Oxygen Concentrator (Medicare) rentals may be covered for up to 36 months.




Medicare Coverage of Manual Wheelchair

QUESTION: Are manual wheelchairs covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: In almost all cases, manual wheelchairs are covered by Medicare as a "Capped Rental." This means that Medicare pays approx. 80% of the monthly rental and you are responsible for the remaining 20% or this may be covered by secondary insurance. You must use a local dealer that rents chairs and bills Medicare for the monthly rental fees. Some Ultra-lightweight wheelchairs have a K0005 Billing code and can be billed as a purchase.

All manual wheelchairs on our website are for purchase only. Medicare does not reimburse for the purchase of a wheelchair.

See all manual wheelchairs




Rollator & Walker Coverage

QUESTION: Are Walkers and Rollators covered?

ANSWER: Medicare will allow a walker or rollator every 5 years. They cover 80% of the allowed amount set by Medicare. If you have a supplement insurance that covers the 20%, reimbursement is usually about $125.00. Regardless of whether your rollator cost $150 or $350, the reimbursement amount is basically the same, unless qualifying for heavy-duty or Bariatric walker. Rollators are coded as walkers with appropriate accessories (wheels, seat, hand brakes). Visit a local supplier that bills Medicare if you want Medicare assistance with walkers and rollators.

QUESTION: What should the doctor's prescriptions say for a Rollator?

ANSWER: Walker with 4 wheels, seat, and handbrakes.

See all Walkers and Rollators




Adjustable Bed Coverage

QUESTION: Does Medicare pay or reimburse for Adjustable Beds?

ANSWER: Medicare coverage for a bed is limited to a Semi-Electric Hospital Bed and all hospital beds are covered as a capped rental only. Medicare does not cover Adjustable Beds. See next FAQ answer for coverage details.

See all Adjustable Beds




Hospital Bed Coverage

QUESTION: Does Medicare pay or reimburse for Hospital Beds?

ANSWER: Medicare covers hospital beds as a Capped Rental item. This means that you must use a vendor in your local area that rents equipment and bills Medicare for the monthly fees. Your local dealer will install and maintain this "capped rental" equipment. Medicare does not consider a full-electric hospital bed, Adjustable Bed, or other Luxury beds to be medically necessary. Medicare coverage is for a Semi-electric twin-size hospital bed.

See all Hospital Beds




Overbed Tables

QUESTION: Are Overbed or Bedside Tables covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: Over-Bed Tables an Bedside Tables are not classified as a medical necessity and are not covered.

See all Bedside Bed Tables




Respiratory Equipment Coverage

QUESTION: Are Oxygen Concentrators, CPAP and Nebulizers covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: Oxygen Concentrators, CPAP and other respiratory products such as Nebulizers are Capped Rentals thru Medicare.

QUESTION: If you purchase a Portable Oxygen Concentrators will Medicare reimburse me?
ANSWER: No. Medicare does not allow for, or provide, coverage for both a home oxygen concentrator and additional Portable Oxygen Concentrator. For these products you should seek a local dealer that rents equipment and bills Medicare.

See all Respiratory products.




Transfer Boards

QUESTION: Are Transfer Boards covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: Transfer boards may be considered medically necessary for patients with medical conditions that limit their ability to transfer from wheelchair to bed, chair, or toilet. For Medicare coverage of these products visit a local supplier. See all Transfer Boards.




Patient Lift Coverage

QUESTION: Are Patient Lifts covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: Patient Lifts are covered as a capped rental item. This means that you must visit a local supplier that rents such equipment and bills Medicare for the monthly fees. Medicare reimburses 80% of rental for up to 13 months. This capped-rental coverage is for a standard hydraulic-manual lift and sling. Power Lifts and Standing Lifts are not covered. For Medicare coverage of these products visit a local supplier.

QUESTION: Are Stand-up Patient Lifts covered by Medicare?

ANSWER: No. Patient Lift coverage is for a Manual/Hydraulic Patient Lift only. Visit a local supplier to rent a Patient Lift.

See Patient Lift Catalog




Power Wheelchair Coverage

QUESTION: What is Medicare's coverage criteria for motorized or power wheelchairs?

ANSWER: Medicare may partial rental for a motorized wheelchair. A power wheelchair is covered when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The patient's condition is such that without the use of a wheelchair the patient
    would otherwise be bed or chair confined.
  • The patient's condition is such that a wheelchair is medically necessary and the
    patient is unable to operate a wheelchair manually.
  • The patient is capable of safely operating the controls for the power wheelchair.
A patient who requires a power wheelchair usually is totally non-ambulatory and has severe weakness of the upper extremities due to a neurological or muscular disease/condition. If the documentation does not support the medical necessity of a power wheelchair but does support the medical necessity of a manual wheelchair, payment is based on the allowance for the least costly medically appropriate alternative. However, if the power wheelchair has been purchased, and the manual wheelchair on which payment is based is in the capped rental category, the power wheelchair will be denied as not medically necessary. Options that are beneficial primarily in allowing the patient to perform leisure or recreational activities are non-covered.

See all Power Wheelchairs.




Power Scooter Coverage

QUESTION: What is Medicare's coverage of power operated Vehicles (POVs) or scooters?

ANSWER: A power operated vehicle (POV) is covered when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The patient's condition is such that a wheelchair is required for the patient to get around in the home.
  • The patient is unable to operate a manual wheelchair.
  • The patient is capable of safely operating the controls for the POV.
  • The patient can transfer safely in and out of the POV and has adequate trunk stability to be able to safely ride in the POV.
Most POVs are ordered for patients who are capable of ambulation within the home but require a power vehicle for movement outside the home. POVs will be denied as not medically necessary in these circumstances. A POV that is beneficial primarily in allowing the patient to perform leisure or recreational activities will be denied as not medically necessary. If a Mobility Scooter is covered, a wheelchair provided at the same time or subsequently will usually be denied as not medically necessary.

See all Power Scooters




Lift Chair Coverage

QUESTION: Will Medicare pay for a Lift Chair?

ANSWER: For Medicare coverage of these products visit a local supplier. Only the seat lift mechanism on a Lift Chair could be considered medically necessary if all of the following coverage criteria are met:

  • The patient must have severe arthritis of the hip or knee or have a severe neuromuscular disease.
  • The seat lift mechanism must be a part of the physician's course of treatment and be prescribed to effect improvement, or arrest or retard deterioration in the patient's condition.
  • The patient must be completely incapable of standing up from a regular armchair or any chair in their home. (The fact that a patient has difficulty or is even incapable of getting up from a chair, particularly a low chair, is not sufficient justification for a seat lift mechanism. Almost all patients who are capable of ambulating can get out of an ordinary chair if the seat height is appropriate and the chair has arms.)
  • Once standing, the patient must have the ability to ambulate (walk).
Coverage of seat lift mechanisms is limited to those types which operate smoothly, can be controlled by the patient, and effectively assist a patient in standing up and sitting down without other assistance. Coverage is limited to the seat lift mechanism, even if it is incorporated into a chair. Medicare reimbursement is approximately $275.00. Read more about Medicare reimbursement criteria for Lift Chair or shop our Lift Chair Catalog.



Diabetic Shoes

QUESTION: Does Medicare cover the cost of Diabetic Shoes?

ANSWER: Medicare does reimburse for, or authorize the coverage of Diabetic shoes, if the shoes are fitted to your feet by a local Pedorthist or trained fitter. Most cases involve "heat molding" the shoe or insert to your feet such that the foot condition is treated properly. Even with this personal fitting, the shoes must be prescribed by a qualified physician treating a foot condition resulting from Diabetes. In addition, the person fitting and providing the shoes must be approved by Medicare and must be a Medicare provider in order to properly bill for the product. Medicare will cover 1 pair of shoes and 3 pairs of inserts per calendar year. Patients seeking Medicare coverage of shoes are usually diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.See all Diabetic Shoes and Footwear




Ramps

QUESTION: Does Medicare cover Wheelchair Lifts and Ramps?

ANSWER: Medicare does not reimburse nor authorize the purchase of mobility lifts or ramps for a wheelchair or scooter at this time. Such items are typically not considered a medical necessity because they can also be used by persons without a medical condition. See all Wheelchair and Scooter Ramps



Medicare Co-payments

QUESTION: Do I have to pay the 20% co-payment to Medicare?

ANSWER: After you have met your deductible, you're still responsible for paying directly, or through supplemental insurance, at least 20 percent of the Medicare approved amount. This co-payment may not be dropped by the supplier except in hardship situations and only on a case-by-case basis. A supplier who routinely drops the co-payment may be violating federal law.




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