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Thread: Power assist add on to manual wheelchair

  1. #1

    Power assist add on to manual wheelchair

    When I had to choose a wheelchair three years ago I wanted a manual wheelchair because the electric ones are too bulky and heavy to maneuver around the house. I was worried that I might get weaker and not be able to use the manual for the five years that is necessary to have Medicare / Medicaid pay for it. He said don't worry, if you get worse, you can get a power assist add-on before the 5 years is up. Now I need one and they have changed their policies. Medicaid won't buy those at all anymore and Medicare will only rent them but at such a low cost that the dealers won't accept that amount of money. Has anyone else had this problem? Are there any other options for getting a power assist add-on to a manual wheelchair?

  2. #2
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    There are options. There are used power-assist for sale and in great condition. Sometimes they are barely used or not used at all. I have seen some at $1,000. A friend help me find one but I am not sure how he found it himself. Maybe lots of Google searching. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Please indicate which power add-on you are referring to.
    I have a rigid TiLite chair and 4 years ago added a ZX-1 power add on, at my expense. Since then my understanding is that Medicare will cover zx1 if a new wheelchair is part of the same order. Probably to guarantee that they both are fitting correctly.
    I've not heard of Medicare 'renting' this type of order. Suggest you investigate that issue further - lots of questions for you to ask your DME (durable medical equipment supplier).
    If you proceed with a Medicare order, be prepared for referral for a physical therapist to evaluate your need and your doctor's approval and review of the PT's report. My husband is a wheeler also and went through this process for Medicare coverage of a Smart Drive power device. They did not require new wheelchair with that device.
    Please google "zx1 power add-on" and "Smart Drive power add-on" to get information.

  4. #4
    I got a referral from my physical therapist a neurologist to get an add-on - power assist. When my local home medical store turned it in a Medicaid it was turned down. They said that Medicaid and Medicare won't pay for it anymore because the laws changed a year-and-a-half ago. I called another Home Medical Group and they also said the same thing. They gave more details though. They said that Medicare will now only rent power assist but the amount they are willing to pay is too low for the home medical place to rent it to them. Medicaid will have nothing to do with power assist anymore. So basically, I can get an electric wheelchair. That' it. Where else can I research this information? I really don't want a big bulky electric wheelchair. I just want a little help with my manual one.
    Last edited by; 06-04-2016 at 11:46 AM.

  5. #5
    The power assist I was wanting was just a 7-pound motor that is under the wheelchair, it's not the one where the wheels are any different. I believe it was smart drive by Max Mobility. But I would accept any sort of power assist. . My wheelchair is a quickie.

  6. #6
    If I find a used one, how do I know if it will fit my wheelchair? Would I need for professional to install it?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by View Post
    If I find a used one, how do I know if it will fit my wheelchair? Would I need for professional to install it?
    They come with adapter shims. Or you might have to get and additional cross member if you have a folding Quickie. What model Quickie do you have? And, this is Do-it-yourself.
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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