Upright Walkers are a great way to maintain posture while providing support. This article answers the question: “does Medicare pay for an Upright Walker” and other questions.
Many readers ask us: does Medicare pay for an Upright Walker? We decided to investigate this question in detail.
An Upright Walker has immense benefits: most prominently, it helps you maintain a good posture, unlike regular walkers and rollators on which you have to hunch while walking. Hunching down on your walker, especially if you are using it regularly, can create big problems for your back.
There are many other benefits: they are lightweight, portable, and very easy to use. That is why many people are taking an interest in buying an Upright Walker. But the problem is that they are expensive and every elderly person cannot afford them.
This high cost is where the question arises: does Medicare pay for Upright Walker? Medicare normally covers walkers and rollators under its Durable Medical Equipment (DME) section for people above 65 years, the physically disabled, or those who have kidney problems in the final stages.
Considering the popularity of Upright Walkers, it would seem obvious that Medicare should cover them. In this article, I will discuss Upright Walkers in detail and answer this core question: does Medicare pay for Upright Walkers? But before we begin, let us talk a bit more about Upright Walkers and their benefits.
What Is An Upright Walker?
In a regular rollator walker, you have to lean forward to walk for a short distance. But, bending forward for a long time can cause back pain and joint pain.
But, in an Upright Walker, you can stand and walk straight on the road, which helps in improving your posture. Many Upright Walker models also come with movable seats to sit with your back straight and move around.
The frame of the Upright Walker usually consists of aluminum alloy and polyurethane. There are two versions of Upright Walkers available in the market, i.e., original up walker and walker lite, a lighter and narrower model meant for better portability.
What Are The Benefits Of Upright Walker?
With all these conditions, older people find it difficult to walk alone. They need support to walk independently. It’s not always possible that your near and dear ones are always with you to help while standing or walking. You should try to walk and stand independently.
If you choose an ordinary walker, it may cost you less but may increase your back pain with time because you have to bend forward and walk all the time. It will make you frustrated within a short time.
You should choose a walker which will provide you all the necessary comforts and can make you healthy. An Upright Walker will be a good decision because the design is unique and different from normal walers.
Here you don’t have to bend and walk. Instead, you can walk straight, which improves your posture and health. Using an Upright Walker can also boost your confidence and make you feel better. So, I think you can understand how the necessity of an up walker in your day in and day out life.
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Anatomy Of Upright Walker
The Upright Walker usually has four-inch front wheels, which have a rubber coating for durability and traction. You can turn the wheels in any direction. There is a tab that helps you to lock or unlock your wheel. You can even lower the armrests of the Upright Walker according to your choice by the height adjustment tube.
Make sure that the armrest should be at such a height where your forearms will get full support.
You will see two handles with brakes on both left and right sides. You can slow down your Upright Walker with these brakes.
Again you find a movable seat where you can sit and take a rest for a while walking. There is a beverage holder to carry any water bottle or beverages. You will find a personal bag in an Upright Walker here; you can carry various essential items. Also, there are other accessories for the walker that you can add to it.
Benefits Of Upright Walker
#1. Light Weight
The Upright Walkers are pretty light—most Upright Walkers weigh 18.5 pounds. So, you can easily carry it during transportation.
#2. Improves stability
In traditional walkers, you need to lean forward while walking, making you exhausted within a short time. Again you cannot see the obstacles. So, you are more likely to lose balance, and that may lead to an accidental fall.
These things you are not going to find in an Upright Walker. An Upright Walker improves the stability of a person by walking straight or upright on the road.
The adjustable features in Upright Walkers are beneficial for older and sick people. They can change the settings according to their preferences, which helps them walk appropriately on the road.
#3. Comfortable Seat
The Upright Walker has a movable seat. Whenever you feel tired while walking and want to sit for a while, you have to lock the wheels and push your seat forward. Then turn around and sit. While sitting in an Upright Walker, you find back support that helps in maintaining your posture. We have a separate article on the best rollator walker with a seat.
Most Upright Walkers use aluminum alloy or polyurethane, both of which are durable materials.
You can easily carry the Upright Walker from one place to another. You have to fold, which will take a few seconds. One needs to drop the two arms and then grab the seat, followed by giving clips on the front side.
#6.Helps In Maintain Posture
The Upright Walker allows you to walk straight. So you will be less likely to have back pain or muscle tightness. Your muscles will relax. Even your posture will improve.
#7. Helps In Increasing Step Count
The up walkers help the older people to walk for longer distances that also independently and confidently. When they walk, their muscles relax, and the stiffness of their joints reduces. They feel better. By walking more distance, the Upright Walkers keep the aged people healthy.
Cost Of An Up Upright Walker
The large size-up walker may cost you around $695. The cost may be high, but the quality and benefits are very important. Apart from upfront cost, there might be a bit of maintenance cost also from time to time. If you are planning to buy one, we wrote a guide on where to buy an upright walker.
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Does Medicare Cover Upright Walkers?
Coming back to the main question: does Medicare pay for Upright Walkers? It’s sad to say, but no, Medicare does not pay for Upright Walkers. However, it does pay for walkers in general, under the “Durable Medical Equipment” section.
You might be thinking why Medicare does not pay for an Upright Walker. To answer your question, we need to look into the Medicare rules and regulations and classified Durable Medical Equipment. There are four primary conditions that you need to satisfy, after which Medicare can cover your up walker.
- The up walker which you will use should be necessary to cure your illness or injury.
- You need a prescription to claim for an Upright Walker in Medicare. So, the doctor must prescribe the Upright Walker.
- The doctor and supplier of your Upright Walker should enroll in Medicare and accept the rules and regulations.
- The Upright Walker which you intend to purchase should be cost-effective.
Is Upright Walker A Durable Medical Equipment?
To be classified as a DME, the device should satisfy the following criteria.
- Durable: The device should be durable. The device should at least last for three years in good condition.
- Medical: One should use the device for a medical reason.
- Sick Or Injured: The device should not be helpful if you are not sick or injured.
- Home: A person can use the device comfortably at home.
Luckily the Upright Walker passes all the criteria. So, it is Durable Medical Equipment.
Then Why Does Medicare Not Cover Upright Walkers?
The first two rules are not a problem because you need an Upright Walker only if you have an injury or joint pain. So, it’s apparent that you must have a prescription from a well-qualified doctor.
But the last two rules create a problem because Medicare, America’s universal health coverage program, cannot pay for the Upright Walkers.
Unfortunately, there are no suppliers of Upright Walkers who have registered in Medicare. Secondly, most Upright Walkers are expensive, which tends to violate the fourth condition.
However, Medicare does pay for other stand-up walkers. To find the suppliers near your location, you can visit the Medicare.gov website and type in your zip code. After that, you can easily find the walker supplier near you.
What Are The Alternatives To Get An Upright Walker?
While Medicare does not cover Upright Walkers, this does not mean that Upright Walkers are completely out of your reach. There are various alternatives that you can explore.
Many insurance plans in the United States may cover the Upright Walker you intend to purchase. But ask your insurance provider or agent about the Upright Walker before purchasing.
Again, you can rent the Upright Walker from different websites by paying installments monthly or weekly.
Another option is that some inexpensive Upright Walkers are now available in the market, such as the ELENKER Upright Walker, which will cost you only about $200.
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How Can You Maintain Your Upright Walker?
The Upright Walker is usually a durable device. But still, you need to take care of your Upright Walker from time to time. If you do not maintain it properly, then there are high chances that your Upright Walker does not last for many years. There will be wear and tear within a short time. By the way, we have a separate article on how to use a rolling walker properly.
So, I have listed few ideas, and if you are going to implement them from time to time, your Upright Walker will work smoothly.
- You need to check your brakes from time to time. If the nuts and bolts are loose, then tighten them as soon as possible.
- Check your hand grips from time to time. If you find them loose, please don’t go outside and tighten them as soon as possible.
- The wheels of an Upright Walker may get wear and tear over time. Even it may catch dust and dirt. So, try to clean them from time to time. The wheels in your Upright Walker play a primary role while walking on the road. So, it should always be free from any debris.
- You should clean your Upright Walker regularly. One needs to wipe all the components of the Upright Walker with a wet cloth and allow them to dry before you use it.
- You should inspect all the hardware components from time to time because there may be a chance that they may break or corrode over time.
- You need to clean the handles and pads with antiseptic cleaner from time to time.
- You may apply silicone lubricant on various parts of your Upright Walker after cleaning for better performance.
If you are elderly and need support while walking for a short while or have had a lower limb injury or surgery, you need a mobility aid to either walk or stand independently.
There are many mobility aids available in the market like cane, rollators, walkers, crutches, etc. But choosing the right one is important.
Upright Walker gives you support while walking and ensures that you maintain your posture, thus supporting your back to gain strength.
Since Upright Walkers are costly, people ask whether Medicare pays for an Upright Walker. The answer, unfortunately, is no. However, the Upright Walker is durable medical equipment, Medicare doesn’t pay for it, largely because there are no suppliers listed with Medicare that manufacture an Upright Walker. But you can rent an Upright Walker from various websites or contact your insurance agent.
Please post your comments and suggestions for this article, and if you buy an Upright Walker after reading this article, share your pictures and write what your experience was after buying an Upright Walker.