Medicare walk in tubs can be vital for health and wellbeing, but can be cost prohibitive. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people who are 65 and older, and was created by the federal government in order to give health assistance. And since walk in tubs are sometimes essential for health and wellbeing, you might be wondering if medicare covers them.
The short answer is that medicare is built to cover things like “durable medical equipment,” and walk in tubs are often not considered durable medical equipment. However, you’ll have a few options for financial assistance for walk in tubs. We’ll take a look at some options in this article.
There are a number of ways that you might be able to fund your walk in tub. There are potential veterans programs, there are grants available, and there are also tax deductions and financing plans that can make the walk in tub more affordable. While purchase and installation costs can be prohibitive, there are ways to get your walk in tub funded from outside sources.
Financial Assistance & Options For Walk In Tubs
Medicare Advantage (Ma) Plans
Medicare Advantage plans are additional medicare prescription plans that have additional coverage for prescription drugs. While plans and benefits change from year to year, it is unlikely that some of the main plans will cover walk in tubs.
Moreover, there are additional plans offered by private companies under the banner of Medicare Advantage Plans that might offer assistance for walk in tubs. If you’ve got a pre existing
Medicare Advantage plan might be able to get you assistance for a walk in tub. If you don’t currently have Medicare Advantage but think that you might want to get your walk in tub later in life, you should start looking into an advantage plans now. You might really benefit in the future from having the right insurance.
Medicaid For Walk In Tubs
Medicaid has different plans, so you may have to check your own rules. However, just like with Medicare, it covers durable medical equipment. Durable medical equipment has some room for interpretation but the general interpretation of walk in tubs thus far has been that walk in tubs are low-threshold showers and not durable medical equipment. This being the case, many basic medicaid plans don’t actually cover walk in tubs.
What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicare? Medicare is a federal program that helps cover people over 65 or people that are under 65 but have a disability. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state and federal program that helps people with low income.
Home And Community Based Services (HCBS)
However, there is a way that you might get Medicaid to cover your walk in tub. The best way to do this under many Medicaid plans is to get your walk in tub considered a home and community based service (HCBS). Home and community based services are created for people who receive Medicaid to allow them to remain in their own home.
The program recognizes that remaining in one’s own home and community can be vital for one’s health, rather than moving to a different community. A walk in tub can qualify for Medicaid through HCBS rules.
Veterans Benefits and Walk In Bathtub
TRICARE and CHAMPVA
Another way that you might be able to fund a walk in tub is through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can help pay for tubs for the spouses and children of veterans who have been disabled permanently or killed while in service.
CHAMPVA is the program that might be able to help with this, and it is not available for people who qualify for TRICARE. This means that if you have served for over 20 years and have TRICARE, you may not also get CHAMPVA on top of this.
TRICARE on the other hand, is a health insurance plan for retired members of all seven uniformed services and their family members. This includes people who have at least 20 years of service. Remember that if you have less than 20 years of service, you are probably not eligible for TRICARE but you might be eligible for CHAMPVA. Anyone with TRICARE or CHAMPVA might be able to use those insurance programs to help fund a walk in bathtub.
Home Modification Grants
Home Modification grants are offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and they are available for certain veterans who need housing modifications or special housing to live well.
The Specially Adapted Housing and the Special Housing Adaptation are both grants that let certain qualifying Veterans make modifications to their homes. It might fund a new home with a walk in tub, and it also might fund a major modification to a home that is currently owned.
Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services (VD-HCBS)
The Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services program has been renamed the Veteran Directed Care Program. The Veteran Directed Care Program was created to help people who have served to continue to live in their own homes instead of moving to a nursing facility or alternative housing.
It is basically the veteran equivalent of the home and community based service that Medicaid offers. It allows veterans to use their own long-term service and support to maintain a lifestyle of more of their own choosing.
VA Aid and Attendance, Housebound and other Pensions
Aid & Attendance and Housebound is a pension that is provided to veterans and survivors who have a VA pension and need the attendance of another person. If a veteran or survivor is houseband, they might be eligible to get additional payments.
These benefits are given in addition to the pension. Because the walk in tub can be essential to someone’s lifestyle, it can be included in the VA Aid & Attendance and Housebound pension bonus.
Grants For Walk In Tubs
There are a variety of grants that may be available to seniors and others who have trouble remaining in their own home with a good lifestyle. For example, the USDA has a Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Grant that can help seniors who have a low income in rural areas.
It helps seniors in low-traffic, rural locations who need assistance to remain in their own homes. The grant is explicitly to cover various modifications to your house that allow you to remain at home with a healthy lifestyle.
A walk in tub can be covered through these grants. There are local USDA centers that can allow people to start the grant process.
Purchase and Installation Costs of Walk In Tubs
Walk in tubs have costs that vary widely. The hardware itself can be a few thousand dollars and the installation can be an extra few thousand. In total, a basic walk in tub can be around $6,000. It can go up to about twice that much if you get extra options installed wit the tub, or if you need additional fixtures.
Sometimes more extensive bathroom remodels are necessary to accommodate the size and space of the tub. Additionally, some walk-in tubs need bigger hot water heaters installed in order to accommodate the fixtures of the tub.
You can see from those costs and installation costs, as well as any maintenance or upkeep fees, that insurance or grants might be essential to helping you afford the walk in tub.
Financing Plans For Walk In Bathtubs
As with many expensive products, there are financing plans that can be offered through the company selling the bathtub or through a bank or local credit union. Let’s focus on the company’s financing. There are lots of different types of payment plans. Most of them are built to help people who can’t pay a lump sum for the thousands of dollars that a walk in tub can cost.
There are different types of financing plans. Don’t take out a loan that is much higher than you can afford, and pay attention to interest rates and associated fees. There are some tub manufacturers that start to offer no interest financing.
This is the best kind of financing. When you get no interest financing, you aren’t paying additional money for the loan product itself. You’re only paying for the actual product, delayed over time.
Tax Deductibility of Walk In Tubs
Walk in tubs are generally not tax deductible if they are purchased for lifestyle considerations, but they can be tax deductible if they are purchased for reasons of medical safety. Walk in tubs are tax deductible if they can be claimed as a medical expense. Medical expenses are defined as anything that costs money that contributes to the overall health or wellbeing of a person.
The specifics on medical expenses should be looked into by your tax professional, but for the most part it requires that something bring your life back to a certain standard of living. Expenses that improve your standard of living beyond something considered normal may not qualify. But in many cases, walk in tubs are something that is tax deductible if they are purchased to maintain or restore quality of life.
Often, Medicare will not pay for your walk in tub. Medicare is built to cover things that are considered durable medical expenses, and walk in tubs have not been considered durable medical expenses at this time. But this may shift at some point in the future. For the most part, there are other ways you might be able to fund your walk in tub.
Get creative. There are ways that buying a walk in tub can become more affordable, even if you don’t have a Medicare plus plan that also covers your walk in tub. If you get, for example, 18 months no interest financing and then use the walk in tub to get a tax deduction, you can begin to fund it. You can also try to get a grant and then look into the specifics of Medicare, Medicaid, and other insurance plans.