Obtaining Financing and Reimbursement for Walk In Bathtubs
A walk in bathtub can make bathing safer and easier for the elderly who have to deal with physical conditions that make getting in and out of standard bathtubs difficult. Instead of having to lower your bodyweight into a supine position as with traditional tubs, walk in bathtubs only require the user to step over a small lip and transfer to a normal seat height. These tubs can help many people regain independence in the bathroom and turn the chore of bathing into a pleasure again.
Even though a walk in bathtub can make a dramatic difference in a person's quality of life, it's not considered a medical necessity by Medicare or Medicaid. Since walk-in-tubs don’t qualify as durable medical equipment, Medicare won't help finance or reimburse the purchase price of a walk in bathtub. It may be worth it to apply for reimbursement if your doctor actually prescribes the tub as a medical necessity, but it is unlikely Medicare or Medicaid your application. Fortunately, there are other options.
Finding help financing your walk-in-tub may be difficult, but there are resources available. The main reason it's so difficult to acquire funding is because there are other, less expensive options for easier bathing, such as bath lifts, that are designed specifically for those with disabilities and physical limitations. A walk in bathtub is something that anyone can and may use, which means that it is often considered a luxury item.
Some organizations may be able to help, especially if you have documentation from your doctor stating that the walk in bathtub is necessary and/or will greatly improve the quality of your life. First, check with any private health insurance and Medicare supplement plans you have. While it's unlikely that they'll help, it's worth looking into. If you're a veteran, contact the United States Department of Veteran Affairs. They may be able to help you find organizations that finance and assist veterans in things like home accessibility and modification issues.
Another option for low-income customers is to contact the USDA. The Rural Housing and Community Facilities Program may have grants or low-interest loans available to help you with the cost of a walk in bathtub and any necessary modifications to make your home more accessible. If you make too much and don't qualify, they may be able to point you to resources that are harder to find on your own.
The National Home Modification Action Coalition, Inc. is an organization with the sole purpose of helping people modify their environments to make them safer. They may be able to help you find financing including grants and loans. And don't forget organizations designed for the disabled and seniors, like the AARP, which can help with things like lower-interest loans and other resources.