Medicare Coverage for Canes

Do I need a Cane?

Mobility is extremely important to every person and anything that can be done to improve or maintain mobility is extremely helpful. There are several ways in which mobility can be maintained in people that have an illness, injury or are recovering from surgery including wheelchairs, crutches or canes. A cane is a very common short-term and long-term solution to mobility issues for people. If you have a degenerative disease that makes it difficult to walk, then you may find that a cane makes it easier to move around. If you have just had surgery on your knee, hip or leg, then you may find moving around extremely difficult. A cane can make it easier for you to move around and get to the places where you need to go.

Choosing the right Cane!

The worst thing that people can do is assume that they can just go out and buy a cane that will do the job. For a cane to be effective, it needs to be the proper height and have the ability to support you weight. A cane also needs to have all of the necessary implements to be safe in all weather conditions. It can be extremely tragic if you put all of your weight on a cane and it either gives way under your weight or it slips out from under you because it is not properly equipped. A cane that is the wrong height can make walking difficult and even painful. If you use an incorrectly sized cane for an extended period of time while recovering from surgery or an injury, then it could leave permanent damage.

Does Medicare Cover Canes?

One of the ways to avoid all of these potential issues with an improper cane is to follow the necessary processes to have Medicare help you get a proper cane. As long as you follow the guidelines for getting approved for a cane by Medicare, then Medicare will cover 80 percent of the costs of your cane. The primary requirement is that your doctor assigns you a certificate of medical necessity based on his examination of you. You must also have Medicare part B coverage to have Medicare pay the majority of your cane costs. If you have Medigap insurance (Medicare Supplemental) then you may not have to pay your 20 percent co-payment. That means that, after you have paid your Medicare deductible, that your cane would not cost you anything out of pocket.

How to get approved for a can?

A cane is one of the most common answers to prolonged mobility, but it is not the only answer. When your doctor examines you to determine your mobility needs, there will be three primary things that he will be looking for. The first prerequisite is that you must have the necessary body strength to be able to walk with a cane. A cane is not going to replace any of the motor activities involved in walking in the same way that a scooter or wheelchair would. Your doctor wants to make certain that your upper body and lower body have the necessary strength to be able to safely use a cane.

If your doctor determines that your body strength is adequate for a cane, then the next thing he will look at is if you have the proper motor skills coordination to be able to walk using a cane. You may have the strength to use a cane, but if you are unable to keep you balance, then you pose a threat to yourself and everyone around you. Another factor that the doctor will use is whether walking with a cane will create more damage in your legs, hips or knees. The doctor may determine that you would be better served by using a wheelchair that trying to walk around on a cane. If you have a degenerative condition, then the unpredictability of that condition may also rule out the use of a cane.

Talk to your doctor first!

You should avoid assuming that you can go out and buy a cane without first talking to your doctor. If you try to buy a cane without a doctor's analysis, then Medicare will not pay for it. Once the doctor has issued a certificate of medical necessity and Medicare has approved the purchase of a cane, then you can go out and make your purchase. But you need to find a participating Medicare supplier to make sure that your out of pocket expenses are low.

Medicare Suppliers for Canes

A participating Medicare supplier is one that agrees to be part of the program. A participating supplier that accepts assignments from Medicare is one that agrees to only charge the maximum amount that Medicare allows. That is why you should only use suppliers that accept assignments. If you use a participating supplier that does not accept assignments, then you will wind up paying more for your cane and your Medicare gap insurance may not cover your co-payment.

You can ask your doctor or specialist for a referral to a participating Medicare supplier that accepts pricing assignments. If they cannot offer referrals, then use the phone book to find suppliers and start calling until you find one that is a Medicare participants that accepts assignments. If you choose a supplier that is not a participating Medicare organization, then you will be liable for all of the costs associated with your cane or any other mobility device.