Saturday, June 19, 2010

Medicare takes a while to "buy" wheelchair -

Mom's "free" wheelchair wasn't so free after all  and no one knew it - apparently, she had to pay for some of it even though deductibles and co-payments on her part had been met.   The whole situation has me frustrated and demonstrates that people just don't know all the rules and regulations about payments when dealing with Medicare and Medicaide.   I believe there may be some confusion over billing and with the three parties involved but I'm so frustrated with the matter, that I'll end up paying the $58 myself.

When Mom got her wheelchair  we were told "Medicare will buy it.." "Outright, completely, 100% paid for by Medicare?", I asked the assisted living facility?  "ABSOLUTELY", the staff at the ALF assured me several times... Well, that's absolutely WRONG!   Medicare pays for the rental of a wheelchair for 16 months or so.  If the patient still needs the wheelchair by then it's considered paid for, so it's a rent to own program.    When Mom transferred from assisted living to the nursing home, we didn't know the wheelchair had to go back to the medical equipment rental company so it went into storage.   After two months they reached me and I took the chair back immediately.   At that time, I was disgusted with the whole process and asked for some kind of receipt; they were reluctant to provide it but I insisted.   Good thing I listened to my gut, because 2 days later I got a call asking when I planned to return the wheelchair!!!  At that time, I asked about outstanding bills, payments, co-pays ANYTHING and was told it was paid in full....

They're FULL OF IT alright.....  yesterday an angry accounts receivable clerk from the rental company called wanting the $58.  It seems she's been sending invoices to Mom at the assisted living center. The ALF gave a forwarding address at the nursing home but they've received no money.   The nursing home finally told her to call me as the Power of Attorney (PoA).   Medicare has taken back two months worth of rent from the medical rental company because Mom was in a nursing home where wheelchairs are provided. Medicare wouldn't pay for the two months that the chair was in storage.  Thinking the chair was Mom's property, we put it in storage and that will cost us $58.  It's not a HUGE amount of money but it's money I'll have to take from her savings.  It's inconvenient.  It's frustrating to talk to people who assume you're trying to run-out on a bill.   It's frustrating that the "experts" don't know the process yet speak with certainty.  I've found this same situation over and over, things are so complex with billing Medicare, Medicaide, supplemental insurance, Medicare for health care, Medicare for prescriptions, Part B, Part D - never mind what happened to Part A and C!!- payments made, payments rescinded... It's all just too complicated.  I wish they'd put people to work figuring out how to make it easier, or put in some regional offices with case workers.  UGH!!

Will medicare buy mom dad a wheel chair? How can I get medicare to buy mom dad a wheelchair? Wheelchair rental for the elderly.