Does Medicare Cover Shower Chairs?

If you are at high risk of falling, there’s a good chance you will require or should have various devices and pieces of equipment to help reduce your risk for future injury. One of these items is a shower chair and does Medicare cover shower chairs? A shower chair can help provide you with stability and a place to rest to increase safety and prevent injury. Shower chairs are classified as Durable Medical Equipment (DME), and depending on the specific mobility or balance issues you have been diagnosed with, these chairs may or may not be covered by your Medicare insurance.

Medicare Benefits Solutions

May 28, 2021

 4 minutes read

What are shower chairs?

Shower chairs may also be called shower or bath seats, stools, or benches. All models should be waterproof and will likely be made from plastic or metal. They will also be anchored to the wall or have non-slip materials on the bottom to prevent them from slipping on wet surfaces. 

Some shower chairs may have wheels. Wheels can make it easier to move around for those with mobility issues; however, they can also increase risk of injury as they are more prone to slipping. If you do have a chair with wheels, it is critical to ensure the wheels are locked while you are not moving.
There are many varieties of shower chairs depending on your specific needs. Some chairs may have a backrest, which is ideal for those who need back support while showering. Chairs may also have arm supports. These can provide grips and increased stability when sitting or standing, and many chairs with armrests have back support as well.

Other chairs have neither back nor arm supports. These chairs provide individuals with increased mobility and range of motion while in the shower. When determining the best shower chair for you, be sure to consult with your physician to ensure you select a product that fulfills your needs and helps ensure your safety.

Medicare coverage for shower chairs

Does Medicare cover shower chairs? Medicare will provide coverage for certain Durable Medical Equipment (DME) items only if they meet certain criteria. These criteria are set by Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient costs, preventative services, and certain medical equipment.
In order for a shower chair to be covered by your Part B benefits, it must be intended to be used inside your home, able to be used repeatedly, expected to last for at least three years, and needed for a specific medical reason. In addition to meeting these criteria, the shower chair must also be prescribed by your physician. Once your physician grants approval, they will have to work with a Medicare-approved DME supplier to obtain the item and ensure Medicare coverage. You must use both a physician and supplier that have been approved by Medicare and that accept Medicare assignment. Now, even though you may feel that all the above criteria are met, it is important to know that Medicare does not usually deem shower chairs to be a medically necessary intervention. If you are in a hospital or a skilled nursing facility, you will have access to a shower chair if you need one. During your stays in these facilities, Medicare Part A will help cover the costs. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be more likely to get coverage for a shower chair. Medicare Advantage plans must cover at least the same as Original Medicare Part A and Part B. However, they may include additional coverage as well. This coverage can include over-the-counter allowances that may cover items like shower chairs.

If you do feel that you have a medical issue that requires the use of a shower chair for your safety, be sure to talk to your physician about it. They will be able to assess your needs and determine if your Medicare plan will offer coverage for this piece of equipment. You may also consider switching Medicare plans if there are numerous items you require that are not covered by your current policy.

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