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Motorized Wheelchair: Purchasing, Features, Cost, Medicare

motorized wheelchair is a mobility device that is propelled using an electric motor rather than manual power, allowing the user to use a joystick to move the chair around. The standard motor wheelchairs come with a heavy frame, which makes it harder for transporting it and storage.

"Motorized wheelchair" is usually a synonym and most often referred to as a “power wheelchair".

Manufacturers are now designing lightweight power wheelchairs that are more compact but also foldable for easy storage and transport. The newly designed power chairs on the market today, have lighter frames and the same standard features as other motorized wheelchairs with the added benefits of being able to fold and easy storage.

Buying a Motorized Wheelchair

When purchasing a motorized wheelchair, consider where you will be using it the most, indoors or outdoors, what features you require and what is your budget. Buying the right motorized wheelchair that best fits your needs and lifestyle, will provide you with comfort and stress-free way to get around daily.

Answering the following questions will help you make an informed decision before buying your motorized wheelchair.

  • Do you plan to use a motorized wheelchair outdoors, indoors or both?
  • Will you be transporting your wheelchair in cars, airplanes or cruise ships?
  • What top speeds will you need the wheelchair to be able to reach?
  • Do you need special seating options for extra comfort?
  • What is your budget?

Key Features of Motorized Wheelchairs

Here are some of the main key features of motorized wheelchairs:

  • Durability – The motorized wheelchair you decide to purchase, should be built with high-quality materials. The chair should be durable and have the capability of getting you around to move freely with no problems.
  • Comfort – If you are not comfortable in your motorized wheelchair, you will not be happy and not pleased with the use of your chair. An uncomfortable seat can cause sores to develop and encourage you to have a poor posture.
  • Maneuverability – When choosing your motorized wheelchair, you may need to make sure that it can support you in getting your daily tasks done. Your chair should be maneuverable in helping you run errands, go shopping, visiting the park, and going to see your family or friends.

How Much is a Motorized Wheelchair?

The average price of a new motorized wheelchair is $750 to $2,000. The price depends on the size, model type, weight capacity, and features of the motorized wheelchair. Higher-end and more expensive models will have more features, technology, and customized options.

Motorized Wheelchair vs. Mobility Scooter

Mobility scooters do not have the options of accommodating the individual needs of a user disability and often come with limitations.

Scooters usually have two or three wheels, swivel seat, handlebars and run by chargeable batteries. Mobility scooter users must have the right balance and the capability to use both hands for steering purposes.

Mobility scooters are larger than wheelchairs and are not foldable. They also require specific equipment such as a scooter lift to attach to the car. Mobility scooters are often used by people who can walk a few steps, stand on their own and sit upright without support.

Medicare Coverage

Medicare may cover some of the costs of purchasing a motorized wheelchair and can provide coverage for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) if you meet some specific requirements that your doctor prescribes.

Before getting approved for coverage, you must have a face-to-face examination, and a written prescription from an accredited doctor or other treating provider before Medicare coverage of your motorized wheelchair.


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