Electric wheelchairs, also known as power wheelchairs, can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $20,000.

Why is there such a large difference in prices? There are many different aspects of an electric wheelchair that can affect its price, such as:

  • The type of power wheelchair

  • Additional features needed

  • Add-ons

  • Weight capacity

  • Materials

  • And more!

Power wheelchairs get more expensive the more features you need. Also, higher weight limits and higher-quality materials can also up the price.

Learn more about what factors into the cost of an electric wheelchair here.

How Much Do Electric Wheelchairs Cost?

Depending on the type of electric wheelchair you need, as well as additional functionalities, the full price can be anywhere from a few thousand to upwards of $20,000. However, the cost mainly depends on the type of wheelchair you need, as well as additional functionalities or features.

Pricing tiers vary, but here's a general range:

  • Low-cost: $1,000-$2,000

  • Midrange: $2,001 - $5,000

  • High-end: $5,000+

What Affects the Cost of a Power Wheelchair?

There are many factors that affect the price of a wheelchair, including the type, seating/positioning systems, weight limits, size of the wheelchair, and the quality of the materials.

Type of Power Wheelchair

There are many different types of power wheelchairs, from lightweight to bariatric, and this is one of the largest determinants of price. For example, lightweight electric wheelchairs tend to be lower priced, but are less likely to be covered by insurance. On the other hand, bariatric power wheelchairs weigh more and are usually covered by insurance, as they are deemed medically necessary. 

In some instances, even if you prefer a lightweight wheelchair, you could be better off opting for a regular power wheelchair if insurance will cover it.

Different types of electric wheelchairs, from least to most expensive, include:

  • $ Lightweight/portable electric wheelchairs

  • $$ Regular electric wheelchairs

  • $$$ Heavy-duty electric wheelchairs

  • $$$$ Extra heavy-duty electric wheelchairs

  • $$$$$ Standing electric wheelchairs

Seating & Positioning Systems

Advanced seating and positioning systems are one of the best parts of power wheelchairs. They can be life-changing for many wheelchair users, as it helps users feel comfortable, safe, and even sit at eye level.

Of course, these functionalities come with their own price tags. However, if you have medical needs that require advanced seating or positioning systems, it will likely be covered by insurance.

Weight Limits

Weight limits coincide with the type of power wheelchair. Wheelchairs with higher weight limits also tend to carry a higher price tag. For example, a heavy-duty bariatric power wheelchair with a weight capacity of 600 lbs. will cost more than a lightweight power wheelchair with a 200 lb. weight limit.

Upgrades & Add-Ons

Just like buying fancy upgrades on a new car, add-ons to power wheelchairs also come at a cost. A lot of these are optional, and some you might have to pay out of pocket for if you're using insurance to cover your power wheelchair.

Common add-ons include:

  • Larger batteries

  • Bigger tires

  • Custom colors

  • Choosing a different joystick

  • USB chargers

  • Different leg rests (i.e. elevating or swing-away)

Are Electric Wheelchairs Covered by Medicare?

Yes, electric wheelchairs can be covered by Medicare. However, there is an in-depth process you have to follow to obtain a medicare-covered wheelchair.

Even if you're approved to get an electric wheelchair through Medicare, it won't cover 100% of the cost. You will still have to pay:

  • Your Part-B deductible for the year, which is $233 in 2022 (unless you've already met this)

  • 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for the wheelchair

While this is the general rule of thumb for Medicare, the actual amount you're on the hook for can vary depending upon other health insurance you might have and where you're getting your power wheelchair from. For example, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan (also known as a Medigap plan) or Medi-Cal, these secondary insurances will usually cover your Part-B deductible and 20% coinsurance resulting in no out of pocket expense to you.

How Do You Get Approved for an Electric Wheelchair?

If you have a medical need for a power wheelchair, the majority of the cost should be covered by insurance. To get approved for an electric wheelchair, you'll need help from:

  • Your doctor

  • A medicare-approved power wheelchair provider

First, you'll need a diagnosis that qualifies you for a power wheelchair. This is ultimately up to your doctor, but a few common diagnoses include MS, ALS, Parkinson's, Cerebral Palsy, COPD, obesity, and many others.

Once your doctor determines you have a qualifying diagnosis, you'll work with your wheelchair provider to complete an in-home evaluation, obtain a quote for a wheelchair that meets your needs, and get insurance authorization.

What Is the Lifespan of an Electric Wheelchair?

Electric wheelchairs are built to be durable and long-lasting — a well-cared-for power chair should last at least five years.

However, the lifespan of an electric wheelchair varies depending on how much it's used on a daily basis, if it's serviced regularly, and if repairs are kept up.

Do You Need Help Obtaining a Power Wheelchair in California?

If you're in the state of California, we can work with your doctor and insurance to help you obtain a power wheelchair!

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, CA, our staff of Assistive Technology Professionals (ATPs) is trained and ready to help you on your journey to regain independence.

Ready to get started? Contact us today for a consultation!

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