Is the UPWalker Covered by Medicare?
- Walkers offer security and stability to seniors with mobility challenges. Learn why Medicare doesn't cover the UPWalker and what alternatives are available.
For seniors who live with mobility or balance challenges, the right walker may help them remain active, offering stability and security when walking.
Although both Medicare and Medicare Advantage benefits include reimbursement for walkers, not every device is covered. In this article, you’ll learn why Medicare benefits don’t reimburse beneficiaries for the UPWalker and what other options are available.
What Is the UPWalker?
The UPWalker is a mobility device produced by LifeWalker Mobility Products. This walker’s elevated design is intended to help users stand more upright than its conventional counterparts, and it includes a built-in seat with a backrest so seniors have portable, supportive seating. The unit is foldable and lightweight, and it's customizable to suit individuals with different body types.
Two versions of this device are available: the original UPWalker and the UPWalker Lite.The original UPWalker comes in three sizes — small, standard and large — to accommodate users of different heights and weights.
How Much Does an UPWalker Cost?
As of January 2021, the UPWalker Lite can be purchased online for $545, which includes shipping and handling as well as several standard accessories. Small and standard-size original UPWalkers are listed for $645, which also includes shipping and handling and standard accessories. The large UPWalker costs $695.
Is the UPWalker Covered by Medicare?
Although the UPWalker is considered to be durable medical equipment by Medicare's standards, it isn't a covered device. Because UPWalker’s supplier doesn’t accept Medicare, neither version of the UPWalker is reimbursable through Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage benefits.
Medicare beneficiaries who are interested in purchasing an UPWalker must pay with a credit or debit card. The supplier also offers a monthly payment plan through company-sponsored financing.
Does Medicare Cover Other Upright Walkers?
The answer may vary by device. Medicare considers walkers to be durable medical equipment, which is a covered benefit. Walkers and rollators may be rented or purchased through Medicare Part B and Medicare Advantage as long as they meet the following criteria:
- Determined by a qualified health care provider to be medically necessary to treat a condition or illness
- Prescribed by a Medicare-approved physician
- Purchased or rented through a supplier that accepts Medicare assignments
- Deemed cost-effective
Upright walkers that meet these criteria should be eligible for full or partial reimbursement through your Medicare coverage. To find approved suppliers of upright walkers near you, visit Medicare's medical equipment and suppliers page and plug in your zip code or the desired supplier’s name.
What Does a Walker Cost Through Medicare?
If you participate in Medicare Part B, your coverage should take care of 80% of the cost of a walker once you've met your annual deductible, as long as you've met the plan criteria. You're responsible for covering the remaining 20%. This 80/20 split is applied to the Medicare-approved amount, which is determined by which fee is lower: the manufacturer's price or the Medicare-contracted rate.
Because Medicare Advantage plans vary widely by region and carrier, the cost for walkers may vary for beneficiaries. You should consult your carrier, who can help you navigate costs and other plan specifics.
Is the UPWalker Covered by Other Insurance?
When it comes to commercial insurance, benefits typically differ by carrier and plan, and coverage for the UPWalker and other mobility devices is determined by your individual policy. To find out if the UPWalker is reimbursable under your policy, you should contact your insurance agent or plan administrator, who can provide you with information about relevant benefits and coverage determinants.