Your doctor may prescribe a walking cane or a walker to give you the support you need if you have mobility or balance issues. In most cases, if you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B, walking canes and walkers your doctor orders for you are covered as part of your Part B benefits.
What kinds of walking canes and walkers are available?
As noted by the National Institutes of Health, different types of walking canes or other walking aids are designed for various situations. Your doctor may prescribe a certain type of walking cane (or walker) depending on your specific needs. For example, if you need a walking cane because of pain when you put weight on one leg, you may need a different kind of cane than if you need one to help maintain your balance.
Your doctor (or physical therapist, if applicable) can work with you to make sure you’re holding the walking cane correctly and that it’s the right length for you.
How does Medicare cover walking canes?
If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you may already be familiar with Original Medicare. The program includes Part A (hospital coverage), which covers the allowable charges for care you receive as a hospital inpatient, and Part B (medical coverage), which generally covers doctor visits, equipment, and supplies, and certain outpatient tests and treatments. Walking canes and walkers are considered durable medical equipment (DME) by Medicare and are generally eligible for coverage under your Part B benefits if you meet the requirements listed below.
- Your health-care provider must accept Medicare assignment.
- Your doctor must prescribe this equipment for you.
- You must be enrolled in Medicare Part B or a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Your supplier for the walking cane must accept Medicare assignment.
If your doctor orders a walker for you instead of a walking cane, your supplier choice might be affected by Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program. You may have to use a medical equipment supplier contracted with the Medicare program.
Usually, Medicare Part B covers 80% of allowable charges for walking canes and walkers; you pay 20% plus any remaining Part B deductible.
A Medicare Supplement plan may be able to cover your 20% coinsurance for your walking cane, and other out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare Part A and Part B. Learn about Medicare Supplement plans.
Some people elect to receive their Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through the Medicare Advantage (Part C) program. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide all the same coverage as Original Medicare, except for hospice care, which is still provided through Part A. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, certain durable medical equipment, such as walking canes, is generally covered as long as you follow your plan rules and use a Medicare-assigned supplier.
If you have questions about how the various Medicare options may cover walking canes, I would be happy to provide answers for you. You can request information via email or schedule a phone call by clicking on the “Get Quotes” button on this page.
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