Wheelchair Cost

The Cost of a Wheelchair

Last Updated on December 14, 2022 | Written by CPA Alec Pow
First Published on December 8, 2020 | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popivker

Wheelchairs differ nearly as much as the people who need them. Though the expense can be substantial, the chairs can offer movement and self-reliance. Make sure to speak to a physician prior to acquiring a wheelchair, for assistance in choosing what kind of chair is the best for you.

Common expenses to consider

A basic, manual wheelchair costs approximately $500, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A chair that is made for daily usage will cost somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on what you will need the chair to be able to do. This means that you can get features like a personalized seat, numerous kinds of wheels, and a lightweight frame. The Invacare Top End Crossfire All-Terrain Rigid Wheelchair retails for about $1,900 and consists of knobby, all-terrain wheels, a lightweight frame, and a range of color choices.

The final prices for a power wheelchair differ greatly, starting at around $1,200 to $1,500 and going as high as $30,000 or on some rare occasions, even more. One study, released in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, assessed 15 electric-powered wheelchairs, with an average expense of $7,000.

Expenses for power wheelchairs differ based on functions such as a customized seat, longer battery life, ergonomic functions, and the type of wheels. The Permobile C500 Lowrider has a price of about $10,000, with adjustable speeds, tight turning radius, greater weight capability, and an approximated 25-mile battery lifespan.

You might also like our articles about the cost of an EMG, Chiropractic Treatment, or Meniscus tear surgery.

Getting insurance coverage to buy a wheelchair can be quite difficult. According to the Mobility Advisor, private insurance providers and federal government programs normally cover somewhere between 50 and 80 percent of the expenses. A doctor will have to send out files showing that the client needs a wheelchair.

What should be included in the purchase?

A standard manual wheelchair consists of a seat, handles, armrests, footrests, manual brake, 4 tires, and a frame. Assembly might be needed. Additional functions can be a specialized ergonomic seat, leg rests, or a pouch to be able to carry valuables.
A basic power wheelchair will have to include a seat, manages, armrests, footrests, tires, a motor, power supply, battery, and maneuvering gadget. A power wheelchair can have additional features like a specialized maneuvering gadget, additional batteries, neck assistance, or a lifting gadget to help with transfer capability from the chair.
The majority of wheelchairs are covered by a general warranty. Search for a chair with a minimum of a three-year guarantee.
A doctor, nurse, or wheelchair business agent must offer a tutorial on utilizing the chair, consisting of details on charging the batteries, set-up requirements, and a steering tutorial.

Extra expenses to consider

Wheelchair TypeGetting any coverage under insurance or a federal government program such as Medicare for a wheelchair needs an in-person consultation with a doctor, to get written evidence of the need for a wheelchair. Typical costs for a consultation will apply and will differ depending on the doctor’s office and geographical area. For those with insurance coverage, normal coinsurance and copay rates vary from $5 to $50.

Though many power wheelchairs will include a battery, replacements will be needed and they can cost somewhere between $70 and $450 depending on the kind of wheelchair.

A basic wheelchair cushion made from foam will cost about $7 while a neoprene rubber wheelchair cushion created to restrict pressure point inflammation can cost more than $500.

Discount rates

Numerous nationwide and local programs provide low-income households totally free or reduced-cost wheelchairs, like LifeNets and Chariots of Hope. Eligibility can differ.
Some regional and local associations will also offer help to people who need a wheelchair due to a particular health problem or accident. For instance, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and some chapters of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association offer assistance for qualifying households and people.

Buying an already-used wheelchair can aid to reduce expenses. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, second-hand wheelchairs typically cost half of the initial cost. Get a second-hand wheelchair verified by a qualified dealership and ask a physiotherapist to ensure the devices will fit the client’s requirements and body type and size. Insurance providers generally do not cover pre-owned medical devices.

The expense of a wheelchair might be tax deductible if the person has a doctor’s letter laying out the requirement.

Looking for a wheelchair

  • Speak to the physician or physiotherapist about the person’s requirements. Ask if she or he will recommend any particular brand names or types of chairs.
  • The University of Iowa offers a list of questions for people thinking to purchase a wheelchair.
  • The University of Washington recommends refraining from buying at least until you check out different medical supply shops and certified websites, and talking to enough users to know exactly what you need and want to buy.
  • Some online sellers such as Spin Life.com will provide competitive costs and telephone guidance concerning the many choices.
  • Prior to buying, talk to an insurance agent about insurance alternatives. A lot of insurance providers will cover anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of the expense, however, only if the insurance coverage standards are followed.
Alec Pow
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