Does Medicare Cover Shower Chairs?

If you’re in need of a shower chair and wondering, “does Medicare cover shower chairs?” you’re not alone. While most often Medicare policy excludes shower chairs from coverage, exceptions based on medical necessity can occur.

Navigate the intricacies of Medicare with us to discover if your situation qualifies for an exemption and learn about other avenues for financial aid that could help you secure this important piece of bathroom safety equipment.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare generally does not cover shower chairs as they are not considered durable medical equipment (DME) necessary for patients at home; however, if certain criteria are met, a shower chair may be covered.



  • In cases where Medicare does not provide coverage, alternatives such as Medicaid, private insurance, or Medicare Advantage may cover the cost of a shower chair when it is deemed a medical necessity.

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Exploring Medicare Coverage for Bathroom Safety

Medicare coverage for bathroom safety equipment, including shower chairs, is a maze of regulations and exceptions. While inherently simple in design, shower chairs play a vital role in ensuring safety in the bathroom, particularly for those grappling with mobility or balance issues.

However, obtaining Medicare coverage for these essential devices is not always straightforward, especially for patients not in a skilled nursing facility.

Medicare’s stance on shower chairs leans towards the restrictive side. Generally, it does not provide coverage for shower chairs used at home, as they are not considered medically necessary. However, exceptions exist for shower chairs that meet the criteria for durable medical equipment (DME).

Exploring Medicare Coverage for Bathroom Safety

The Role of Durable Medical Equipment (DME) in Medicare

Medicare coverage heavily relies on Durable Medical Equipment (DME). DME refers to medical equipment that is durable, serves a medical purpose, and is suitable for home use. The relevance of DME to Medicare lies in the potential coverage it provides for such equipment when prescribed for home use.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that not all DME falls under Medicare cover. For example, does Medicare cover equipment such as:


  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Oxygen tanks
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Hospital beds
  • Blood sugar monitors


These are common forms of DME necessary for assisting patients in their daily living activities. However, shower chairs are usually not considered eligible for coverage.


Criteria for Medicare Coverage of Shower Chairs

Even though Medicare typically does not medicare cover shower chairs, there are certain criteria that, if met, could lead to Medicare considering coverage. For instance, if a shower chair is prescribed by a physician and obtained from an authorized supplier, it may be considered for coverage. Arm support shower chairs may also be eligible for coverage if they meet the necessary criteria.

When a doctor issues a written prescription for a shower chair, stating its necessity for the patient’s medical treatment or safety, Medicare may include the chair as a DME item eligible for coverage. However, in most cases, Medicare generally does not cover shower chairs.

Medicare Part B and Shower Chair Eligibility

Medicare Part B generally offers limited coverage for shower chairs. While Part B provides coverage for many types of DME, it does not typically cover shower chairs or other bathroom safety equipment. However, exceptions may be made based on medical necessity, which is determined by specific medical criteria.


How to get a free shower chair



Even though shower chairs can be highly beneficial for individuals with mobility or balance issues, Medicare Part B usually does not cover these items. As such, there is typically no specific Medicare-approved amount for these items.


Understanding Medicare Approved Amount for DME

Understanding the Medicare-approved amount for DME involves recognizing that this amount refers to the maximum amount that Medicare will pay for a specific DME item or service. Typically, Medicare covers 80% of the approved amount for DME after the Part B deductible has been met, provided there is a specific medical necessity for the equipment.

However, the Medicare-approved amount for DME can vary based on the specific DME item and the region. For instance, competitively bid payment amounts may differ in areas that are not designated as competitive bidding areas. Hence, patients should have a thorough knowledge of their Medicare benefits and their application to DME.


What Happens When Medicare Denies Coverage?

In the event that Medicare denies coverage for a shower chair, there are steps that patients can take. One option is to file an appeal. This process typically involves:


  • Providing more detailed documentation from the doctor about the necessity of the chair
  • Gathering any additional supporting documents or medical records
  • Submitting the appeal form and all supporting documents to Medicare for review


By following these steps, patients may have a better chance of getting coverage for a shower chair.

Another option for patients is to explore alternative coverage options. If Medicare denies coverage for a shower chair, patients might look into coverage through other insurance providers such as Medicaid or private health insurance, depending on individual eligibility and plan specifics.

Medicare Advantage: Expanded Benefits for Shower Chairs?

Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage plans provide an alternative to Medicare, potentially offering expanded benefits for shower chairs. These plans are offered by private health insurance companies and provide coverage that is at least equivalent to Original Medicare, with the potential for additional benefits.


Does tricare cover shower chairs



Certain Medicare Advantage Plans do provide more extensive coverage for items such as shower chairs, although the extent of coverage may differ depending on the specific plan. For instance, an over-the-counter (OTC) allowance is a benefit offered by certain Medicare Advantage plans that allows for the purchase of eligible items such as shower chairs.


Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans for DME Coverage

Comparing different Medicare Advantage plans proves beneficial for DME coverage. While these plans are required to provide coverage for the same medically necessary categories of DME as Original Medicare, there may be variations in out-of-pocket costs and the selection of suppliers for DME across individual Medicare Advantage Plans.

This means that some Medicare Advantage plans may offer better coverage or lower costs for certain types of DME, including shower chairs. As such, it’s crucial for patients to thoroughly compare different plans to find the best coverage for their DME needs.

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Additional Assistance Beyond Medicare

Although Medicare provides significant coverage for many, it’s not the only available option. In fact, there are several other sources of coverage that could potentially help with the cost of a shower chair. For instance, certain Medicare Advantage plans and different private insurance plans might provide coverage for shower chairs, although the specifics and criteria can differ significantly.

Medicaid, in addition to Medicare Advantage and private insurance, is another potential coverage source. Medicaid generally provides coverage for essential shower chairs that are deemed medically necessary for individuals with mobility limitations.


Seeking Coverage Through Other Health Insurance

Beyond Medicare, other health insurance plans may also provide coverage for shower chairs. For instance, private health insurance might offer coverage for DME such as shower chairs, provided that they are deemed medically necessary and prescribed by a physician.


Does humana medicare cover shower chairs



To request a shower chair reimbursement from a private health insurance provider, one must adhere to certain procedures. These include consulting your physician and obtaining confirmation of the medical necessity of the shower chair for your health and safety, and acquiring a prescription for the shower chair.


Private Insurance and Bathroom Safety Devices

Private insurance can also be a source of coverage for bathroom safety equipment. It’s important to note that the coverage details for shower chairs may vary among private insurance plans. Therefore, it’s advisable for patients to inquire with their specific plan to ascertain if shower chairs are covered.

When seeking coverage for bathroom safety equipment from private insurance, one should also be aware of any pre-approval requirements. Different insurance companies may have different policies regarding pre-approval, so it’s important to inquire with your specific insurance provider regarding their policy on this matter.

Preventing Falls: The Importance of Shower Chairs

Shower chairs can play a vital role in bathroom safety. These simple yet effective devices can significantly decrease the likelihood of falls and promote heightened safety within the home.


Does medicare part b cover shower chairs



Shower chairs are particularly valuable for the elderly and individuals with limited mobility who are at higher risk of falls. By offering a stable, non-slip surface for these individuals to sit on during showering, shower chairs can effectively reduce the risk of slipping and falling in wet bathroom conditions.


Shower Chairs and Home Safety

Shower chairs, more than just a bathroom accessory, significantly enhance bathroom safety. By offering individuals a stable seating option and maintaining a suitable and secure height, shower chairs minimize the risk of slipping or falling during showering. This significantly improves the safety of the showering experience for individuals susceptible to falls.

There are multiple categories of shower chairs, including:


  • Standard with or without a back
  • Folding seats
  • Transfer benches
  • Stool style chairs
  • Aluminum bath chairs


Each category offers stability and addresses specific needs for comfort and safety in the bathroom.


From Shower Seats to Grab Bars: A Range of Bathroom Equipment

Other types of bathroom equipment, in addition to shower chairs, can enhance safety and accessibility. For instance, shower seats and grab bars can provide additional support and stability, particularly for individuals with mobility issues.

Shower seats offer a comfortable and safe place to sit during a shower, while grab bars provide robust support for standing, sitting, or transferring. Both of these bathroom accessories can effectively reduce the risk of accidents in slippery bathroom settings, making them invaluable additions to any bathroom.

Navigating the Medicare System for DME

The task of navigating the Medicare system for DME coverage can often feel daunting. From understanding the role of DME in Medicare to knowing the specific criteria that must be met for coverage, the process can be complex and challenging.

However, with a bit of guidance and understanding, patients can successfully navigate the Medicare system to acquire the necessary equipment. Whether it’s understanding the role of a doctor’s prescription or knowing the importance of purchasing from an approved supplier, each step is crucial in the process of obtaining Medicare coverage for DME.


Steps to Acquire a Medicare-Approved Shower Chair

A few crucial steps are involved in acquiring a Medicare-approved shower chair.

First and foremost, it involves having a discussion with your doctor regarding your medical condition and the essential nature of a shower chair. This conversation will help your medical team assess the medical necessity of the equipment and, if deemed necessary, your doctor can issue a detailed prescription outlining your requirement for the shower chair.

Once you have a prescription, the next step is to obtain the shower chair from an authorized DME vendor. Medicare-approved suppliers for shower chairs can be located using the Supplier Directory on the official Medicare website.

This tool enables individuals to search for suppliers by inputting their ZIP code and obtain pertinent information regarding the purchase of Durable Medical Equipment, including shower chairs.


Dealing with Out-of-Pocket Costs

Despite Medicare helping to cover many DME items, shower chairs aren’t always included. As such, patients should be prepared to handle some out-of-pocket costs if Medicare does not cover their shower chair.


Does medi-cal cover shower chairs


To manage these out-of-pocket costs, individuals can:


  • Explore financial assistance programs
  • Gain a thorough understanding of their insurance and Medicare benefits
  • Contemplate various types of bathroom safety equipment that could potentially be covered by Medicare.


In conclusion, while the journey to understanding Medicare coverage for shower chairs can be complex, it is certainly navigable with the right knowledge and guidance. From understanding the role of DME in Medicare to exploring alternative coverage options such as Medicare Advantage plans and private insurance, there are numerous ways to potentially secure coverage for a shower chair.

Remember, the safety and comfort that a shower chair provides can make a significant difference in your daily life, particularly if you struggle with mobility or balance issues.

Frequently Asked Questions



Can a doctor write a prescription for a shower chair?

Yes, a doctor can write a prescription for a shower chair if it is medically necessary for your health and safety.


Why are shower chairs not covered by insurance?

Shower chairs are not covered by insurance because they are not considered durable medical equipment (DME) by most insurance plans. This is why they are generally not covered by Original Medicare.


Is a shower chair an assistive device?

Yes, a shower chair is considered an assistive device, providing support and safety for individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities. It is a popular tool for those experiencing loss of mobility due to a disability.


Will Medicare pay for a shower?

No, Medicare does not typically cover the cost of walk-in showers or walk-in bathtubs as they are not considered “durable medical equipment.” Therefore, you may need to explore alternative payment options for these items.


What is Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) refers to medical equipment that serves a medical purpose, is durable, and suitable for home use, but it is important to note that not all DME is covered by Medicare.

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Russell Noga
( Medicare Expert )

Russell Noga is the CEO of ZRN Health & Financial Services, and head content editor of several Medicare insurance online publications. He has over 15 years of experience as a licensed Medicare insurance broker helping Medicare beneficiaries learn about Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, Medigap insurance, and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.