Powerchairs, Scooters and Medicare Competitive Bidding

Special rules for power chairs
Patients who reside within the competitive bidding area and require power chairs and scooters may have those devices purchased for them by Medicare. In other areas of the country this process will change as of January 1, 2011, and those devices will only be rented.

Beginning in January Medicare will rent scooters and power chairs for patients who reside outside of the competitive bidding area. These devices will be rented for 13 months. After the 13th month ownership of the chair will transfer to the patient. If the patient no longer needs the power chair or scooter before the 13th month ownership of the device remains with the provider. The provider may refurbish and reuse this chair on a new patient.

Upgrading your power chair or scooter
Regardless of whether you live within a Medicare competitive bidding area or not, you may choose to upgrade your power chair or scooter with the features you want. You can do so by paying the difference between the Medicare allowed rate and the cost of the item. You will be required to complete an Advanced Beneficiary Notice (ABN). See your provider for details.

Repairs to Scooters and Power Chairs
Powe rchairs and scooters often require repairs and maintenance. If you reside in a Medicare Competitive Bidding area the program may affect where you will be able to get your power chair or scooter repaired.

Under Medicare Competitive Bidding virtually all replacement parts, including batteries, are considered "bid items". This means that only a contracted provider may bill for these products. Oddly, the labor can be performed by any provider.

As a practical matter though, if your chair requires repair parts you will need to find a company who is contracted with Medicare as a power chair or complex-rehab power chair provider. Use our search feature to find a company that is contracted for these items.


Information for patients who use have Medicare and use home medical equipment.

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Info for hospitals about Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program for home medical equipment.

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Information for prescribers about the new Medicare Competitive Bidding program.

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