Transport wheelchairs are one of the most common pieces of medical equipment available to consumers, and allow an individual to maintain mobility with limited use of his or her legs. These mechanisms allow for highly efficient personal transportation when walkers or canes do not provide the support necessary for a person to get around on foot. Wheelchairs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes to fit each patient's specific needs, and can be outfitted with a wide array of add-ons and attachments. Seat cushions, arm rests, attachable baskets, trays and a number of other bells and whistles can be added to give patients a more comfortable and user-friendly wheelchair.

Consumers should be aware that certain manufacturers may try to sell you a specific type of wheelchair that will not be covered by Medicare for your specific medical condition. While most of the medical equipment distributors are friendly and honest, there are a few bad apples in the bunch. Medicare is working to prevent such fraudulent activity, and encourages all individuals enrolled in the federal health care program to take caution when seeking out new medical equipment manufacturers.

What are transport wheelchairs?
Transport wheelchairs are a specific type of durable medical equipment (DME), that allow an individual to maintain mobility if they have lost the ability to use their legs or experience difficulty getting around on foot. These transportation mechanisms are very similar to standard wheelchairs, with exception to the rear wheels. Transport wheelchairs do not have large back wheels and must be pushed manually by a standing individual from behind. This specific type of wheelchair is usually constructed using lightweight materials, so that it can be easily folded up and carried if necessary. 

Does Medicare cover transport wheelchairs?
Yes, transport wheelchairs are covered under Medicare Part B as DME. Only certain medical issues necessitate the use of transport wheelchairs under the guidelines of Medicare. If you are unsure whether or not your specific conditions merit the use of an in-home transport wheelchair, consult your regular physician or plan administrator to discuss in further detail what options will work best for you to maintain your personal wellness. 

Do I qualify for a transport wheelchair?
To qualify, your doctor must present a written assessment that stipulates the need for an in-home transport wheelchair to better facilitate your health care requirements and promote optimal health. 

How much does a transport wheelchair cost?
You will be required to pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved cost, while the remaining 80 percent will be covered by the federal health care program. Transport wheelchairs usually cost between $80 and $350, though some higher-end models may be considerably more and cost $500 or more.

Where can I get a transport wheelchair?
A  variety of medical equipment distributors carry a wide selection of transport wheelchairs that can be rented or purchased outright and are sure to fulfill your specific needs. If your area is part of a Competitive Bidding Program, you may be required to to rent or purchase all DME through a Medicare-designated vendor.