As far as rooms in a typical home go, bathrooms are by far the most dangerous for seniors. Most bathroom accidents happen because seniors needed to stabilize themselves on something that wasn’t designed with this extra weight in mind – such as towel racks, shower doors, or other bathroom fixtures.
Unfortunately for the average senior citizen, Medicare generally won’t pay for a walk-in bathtubs, simply because it is not officially considered a durable piece of medical equipment. Medicare therefore probably won’t cover most people’s costs involved in buying and installing a walk in bathtub.
There are, however, some exceptions. If you can get Medicare to agree that a walk in bathtub is a medical necessity for you, they will pay for your purchase of the walk in tub, as well as the installation. So how do you get them to agree to this claim?
You will need to have some sort of official medical diagnosis as proof that you do, in fact, require a walk in tub. In addition to that, you would have to have an actual prescription that states, in writing, the exact reasons for why you specifically need a walk in bathtub installed in your home. Even with all of these steps fulfilled there is no guarantee that Medicare will decide to provide you with the reimbursement. It is your best bet to submit your claim with them, but be ready to pay for the walk in bathtub with your own money either way.
While Medicare can be awfully stingy when it comes to reimbursing senior citizens for their walk in bathtubs, Medicaid is a much more realistic option. The tricky part with Medicaid is that it is made up of more than one program, since every state has its own Medicaid program. This means that Medicaid, unlike Medicare, does not have one standard policy or set of rules for the reimbursement of various things (including walk in bathtubs). For this reason you are going to need to do some research on the policies of Medicaid in your area, so you know if it is indeed a possibility for getting reimbursed for the purchase and installment of your walk in tub.
Other Forms of Assistance
While Medicare and Medicaid are the two most widely known options for receiving financial assistance when purchasing a walk in bathtub, they are by no means the only choices available to you. Veterans Benefits, for example, can be a good option for you if you fall into the category of veteran. Check into their individual programs to see what exactly they can offer you.
If, like most of us, you are not a veteran and still would like financial insurance for buying and installing a walk in bathtub, you should look into grants that could come from organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There is one specific grant that they provide that is specifically for the elderly folks living in rural locations that are also low-income.
Depending on which state you are living in, you might be able to find another financial assistance program for elderly people that can also cover walk in bathtubs. Otherwise there are sometimes non-profits that won’t pay for the purchase of the tub itself, but will help with the installation costs. One such initiative goes by the name of Rebuilding Together.
If nothing else, the tub manufacturer you are purchasing from should be able to let you pay off the walk in bathtub monthly ($100-$150 per month) instead of one big cost right away.