Does Medicare Cover Shower Chairs?
If you are dealing with mobility or balance issues at home you may want to know what kind of coverage Medicare provides for home safety items. Are you wondering: are shower chairs covered by Medicare?
Shower chairs, grab bars and other bathroom safety equipment typically aren’t covered by Medicare. But, depending on the health issues you have been diagnosed with, these chairs may be covered by your Medicare insurance if they qualify as durable medical equipment.
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Medicare Coverage for Shower Chairs
It is important to know that Medicare does not usually deem bathroom safety devices such as shower chairs used at home to be a medically necessary intervention. However, 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.
Medicare will provide coverage for certain Durable Medical Equipment (DME) items at home 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 Medicare 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
- 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.
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Medicare Advantage and Shower Chairs
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.
TIP: Use our handy plan finder tool to find a Medicare Advantage plan that provides additional benefits.
Home Safety Devices for Aging-in-Place
Are you at high risk of falling, due to balance or mobility issues? Then there’s a good chance that at some point in the future, you will need various devices and pieces of safety equipment to help reduce your risk for injury.
One of these pieces of bathroom safety equipment is a shower chair for the elderly. A shower chair can help provide you with stability and a place to rest to increase safety and prevent injury.
TIP: Read our Home Safety article to discover 10 top tips for seniors aging in place.
What are Shower Chairs?
Shower chairs may also be called:
- Tub seats
- Shower seats
- Shower benches
- Handicap shower chairs
- Medical shower chair
- Bath seats
- Bath stools
- Bath chairs
- Shower stools
- Shower wheelchair
All models should be waterproof and will likely be made from plastic or metal. They should either give you the option to anchor them to the wall or have non-slip materials on the bottom to prevent them from slipping on wet surfaces.
TIP: Use our handy plan finder tool to find a Medicare plan that provides coverage for shower chairs and other durable medical equipment.
Additional Shower Chair Features
Some shower seats for the elderly may have wheels. Wheels can make it easier to move around for those with mobility issues; however, they can also increase the 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.
Different shower chair options:
- shower chairs with arm support
- shower chairs with wheels
- shower chairs with backrests
- simple shower chairs without arm support or backrests
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.
TIP: You may also want to research Top Design Considerations for an Accessible Bathroom Remodel.
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