Learn How to get a FREE Mobility Scooter

28 January 2020 Assisted Living

Are you, or is someone you know, suffering from mobility issues? Have you ever come across an ad saying you can actually get a free mobility scooter? Doesn’t it seem a little too good to be true?

Balance and mobility are among the two key physical challenges associated with aging. This is why the thought of getting a free mobility scooter is a godsend. So if you or someone you know has trouble going to the bathroom without assistance, and wish to stop feeling like a burden to other people, this post is for you.

How does a mobility scooter help seniors?

For seniors looking to find a way to get around more easily, a motorized scooter is the ideal mobility aid to accomplish this. If you’re a senior with a mobility scooter, you will find that the equipment is an efficient, safe and convenient means of exploring your neighborhood or running quick errands.

If you are suffering from joint and or muscle problems, an injury or illness, or balance issues, a mobility scooter is a superior alternative to walking, riding a bus or getting a lift from someone else. Some senior residents of assisted living facilities also use their scooters to get around their homes easily and quickly.

A mobility scooter is also an excellent way to regain some of your independence. With quick access to a scooter, you can do some light shopping, meet up with friends, go to the bookstore, stay active and socially engaged, all without the need to depend on somebody else to help you to move around.

Get a free mobility scooter with Medicare

It is in fact possible to acquire free mobility scooters for seniors – a great piece of news if you’re in dire need of one. However, to take advantage of this benefit, you need to ensure that you are in compliance with Medicare Part B (medical insurance) guidelines. Check out the following points:

  • According to Medicare.gov, you are eligible for a Medicare-covered scooter if you meet Medicare Part B criteria. Scooters are defined in these criteria as “manual wheelchairs and power mobility devices.” Together, these are classified as durable medical equipment or DME, and must be prescribed by your doctor for use at home.
  • In order to qualify for a Medicare-covered power wheelchair (a.k.a. mobility scooter), you need to undergo a personal physical examination and provide a written doctor’s prescription to the equipment vendor or dealer.
  • Medicare can only cover power wheelchairs if it is established that these are a medical necessity for the person applying for coverage.
  • You can only purchase a Medicare-covered scooter from an enrolled DME supplier that will take the assignment cost from the federal government.
  • Your doctor and the DME seller must also be enrolled in Medicare for you to qualify for coverage. On their end, doctors and DME vendors need to adhere to strict guidelines be enrolled in Medicare. If not, you cannot take advantage of any cover and you won’t be paid for any claims you make.
  • Make sure you ask your DME vendor if they are enrolled with Medicare before purchasing anything. Participating suppliers are required to accept the assignment cost. However, suppliers enrolled with Medicare but not participating in the provision have the right to refuse assignments. In the latter case, there’s no limit to what amount the supplier can charge you.
  • If your DME vendor accepts the Medicare assignment expenses, you need to pay 20 percent of the amount approved by Medicare. This, in turn, initiates the Part B deductible.
  • According to Medicare.gov, you can either rent or buy the DME depending on the type of equipment in question.
  • Once your face-to-face examination with your Medicare enrolled doctor is done and you received your scooter prescription, you can proceed to your Medicare-enrolled DME vendor who will, in turn, suggest options for you to choose from.
  • The price range for decent, relatively newer scooters is from $750 to $2,000.

The Bottom Line: Following a rise in the number of incidents concerning unscrupulous scooter sellers, Medicare has imposed tougher guidelines for seniors wanting to acquire a free mobility scooter or DME. This includes limiting the free scooter to home use only.

The best you can do is to keep Medicare guidelines in mind, strictly adhere to them, and deal only with participating, Medicare-enrolled DME providers in your community.

Of course, if you do not qualify or plan on buying a scooter out-of-pocket, you can easily find new and used scooters online, or drop by a reputable DME supplier in your area.

Features to look out for in a mobility scooter

Whether or not you qualify for Medicare DME cover, there are specific features you need to consider when shopping around for a mobility scooter. Make sure you go over the following items:

  • Terrain: Do you plan on using it indoor or outdoor? Will you be riding it mostly on concrete, wooden, or sandy surfaces? Note that there are specific scooters meant only for indoor use. Others are more flexible and can be used on sidewalks and even on roads.
  • Transportability:If you need to use a car or bus, you need to ensure the scooter is lightweight enough to maneuver and also easy to fold and store.
  • Maneuverability: Check how easy (or difficult) it is to turn in the direction you want. Scooters with three wheels may have a limited turning radius as these are mostly designed for home use, so always consider where you will be using the equipment before making your choice.
  • Weight capacity: To ensure you’ll be able to drive your scooter smoothly and comfortably, check the maximum weight capacity if you have weight-related concerns.
  • Safety: Any form of mobility device can pose risks, so make sure you check for the following: Does it have non-tip wheels? Is the brake easy to use? Does it feature a convenient single-hand controller?
  • Battery range: Consider how long you will be using your scooter each day, and how far you may be using it on average. There are batteries that can only provide six to eight miles of range, although there are some that can run up until 30 miles.
  • Comfort features: If you plan on using your scooter for extended periods of time, find a unit that’s comfortable enough to sit on for long periods. Also, check if it has moveable arms, a well-padded seat, and an adjustable backrest.

Types of mobility scooters

There are four distinct types of mobility scooters discussed below:

  • Three-wheelers: Best for indoor use, these are usually lighter and smaller than their full-sized cousins. Due to the tighter turning radius of their wheels, outdoor use may be limited so consider your needs in choosing one.
  • Four-wheelers: A better option for outdoor driving, four-wheelers provide the extra stability you need to safely get around outside your home.
  • Heavy duty scooters: Mobility scooters that belong to the heavy duty category are designed to handle a capacity of up to 500 pounds or more. So individuals within this weight category can be sure that they will be comfortably accommodated by heavy duty scooters.
  • Travel scooters: Since travel scooters are designed for travel or transport, it makes sense that these are the lightest in terms of weight and can be easily folded to fit into the trunk of a car.

There are also specific models that feature a canopy to protect the user from the sun, snow, and rain.

Mobility scooters are also categorized into two classes:

  • Class 2: Scooters considered to be class 2 are only meant to be used indoors or driven on sidewalks. Class 2 scooters are intended for pedestrian use, and can legally be driven up to a speed of 4mph. These cannot be used on roads and highways.
  • Class 3: Those scooters belonging to the class 3 category are deemed to be highway-worthy. These feature lights and indicators, and can legally be driven up to a speed of 8mph.

For your safety and peace of mind, make sure to use only a class 3 scooter if you need to drive it on roads or highways, and a class 2 scooter for pedestrian-friendly settings and at home.

All you need to know about mobility scooters

According to 2017 U.S. census figures, about 47 million senior citizens live in the United States. With this huge senior market growing all the time, it’s no wonder ads about mobility scooters are quite common. Aside from advertising the latest models and their excellent features, these ads we find online, radio, TV and on print also tell us how easy it is to get one.

This is all true, of course, as there are already a great many stores selling these mobility aids. They are also pretty easy to acquire – that is, if you are ready to spend between $800 and $2,900 right now. This is certainly not a small amount to hand over, especially if you are dependent on a fixed amount of money each month.

So if you are resolute about your decision to purchase a scooter, better go over the following FAQs to become better informed and to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

  • Will Medicare pay for my scooter? Again (and we cannot emphasize this enough), advertisers usually talk about how easy it is for qualified users to get Medicare coverage for their scooters. However, this only applies if all parties adhere to the strict requirements set by Medicare. If you are set on getting a mobility scooter because you need it, you must be prepared to pay for it out-of-pocket. This is just in case Medicare does not cover it in spite of your best efforts.
  • Should I get a new or used/reconditioned model? If you’ll be spending your own money to buy a scooter, you can always consider purchasing a used or reconditioned unit. Most owners are devoted to and care for their scooters the way they would their own car, so you might be surprised at the mint condition of some units. With a used/reconditioned scooter, you can save some while also getting the scooter you need. Just make sure to examine what you’re buying closely, as well.
  • How much should I spend on a scooter? New mobility scooters are usually priced from $750 up to $4,500. The price is influenced by several factors including the features, model, type/class, quality, and durability. Beyond the price, you also need to factor in your comfort. You need to be comfortable when you sit on the equipment, and be able to easily and smoothly operate it. To ensure the unit is good for the long term, be sure to take it for a quick spin. Consider the legroom, too, as well as accessories, and any storage features if you plan on using it outdoors for some light shopping or quick trips to the grocery store. You can find one online, of course, but you’ll still have to visit a neighborhood seller and give it a test drive. If it ticks all the right boxes, then surely the price you’ll pay would be worth it.
  • Which scooter brands are the best? When it comes to customer ratings, feedback and reviews, going online is your best bet. Be sure to read through to get a fair idea about the quality of the model you are considering.
  • Will it come with a warranty? Brand new units will have a warranty. Remember that repair and any type of service work on mobility aids can be pricey and require time and effort, so make sure you read the fine print, and ask questions if you have doubts.
  • What arrangements should I make to be able to maximize my scooter? If you plan to use your scooter outdoors, you need to have a reliable transport for your scooter, especially if you purchase a class 2 scooter which can’t be used on roads and highways. If you have a car, you need to have someone who can help you load and unload it for you. Van lifts are a good option, but if you don’t have one, you need to consider this aspect of scooter ownership.