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Wheelchairs 101

What If I Can't Afford A Chair?

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If you have health insurance:

  • Wheelchairs are usually paid for by health insurance. This includes both Medicare and Medicaid, both of which cover wheelchairs.

If you do not have health insurance and are not eligible for either Medicare or Medicaid:

Below are listed some possible sources for obtaining a wheel chair at little or no cost. The sources don't even have to be local. A national organization not present in your area may be able tol ship you a chair.

When contacting potential sources, ask about all possible alternatives including obtaining a chair as a donation or as a loan (for free or for a minimal amount of money). At worst, ask about reductions and discounts. You may be able to obtain a used or rebuilt chair at a dramatic discount.

Places to contact are:

  • Wheel chair manufacturers:
    • Many manufacturers have programs that make available used, rebuilt and demonstration models.
    • Some companies work through a non-profit organization. They can direct you to the organization if necessary.
    • To find a manufacturer, type in "wheelchair manufacturer" in your favorite search engine.
  • Medical equipment supply houses:
    • Frequently carry used chairs and have lease or rental programs available. Look in your local Yellow Pages.
  • Non-profit organizations:
    • Wheelchair Project matches donated wheelchairs with people in need. (To learn more, see: offsite linkor call Tel: 317.536.5219).
    • Your local disease specific non-profit organization and other groups which work with patients who may need chairs may have programs to make chairs available at little or no cost, or can connect you with groups that do.
  • Large medical facilities:
    • Hospitals, nursing homes, large medical clinics, museums and airlines often maintain "fleets" of chairs. Find out what they do with their older chairs when they're replaced.
  • Medical Providers:
    • Ask your doctor or his/her office manager/nurse and other medical providers about other sources of low cost or free chairs.

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