There are many different kinds of wheelchairs and many different kinds of people who use them. For this reason, the cost of a wheelchair varies greatly depending upon the specifications of the chair and the needs and abilities of the user. In this article, we provide some basic information about the cost of a wheelchair. Read on to learn more.
Generally speaking, wheelchair cost ranges from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Just as when purchasing a car, the cost is influenced by the brand and features you choose.
It is possible to get a very basic manual wheelchair for as little as $100 to $300. This is especially true with used chairs. Transport chairs intended only for brief use can also be purchased quite inexpensively. It is possible to buy a new, lightweight transport chair for as little as $135.
The next step up would be a medium price chair ranging between $300 and $500. This type of manual wheelchair would be a bit better quality and probably lighter weight than a basic chair.
Very lightweight, specialty manual wheelchairs can easily cost well over $500, especially with bespoke features, add-ons and materials.
It is important to note that wheelchairs in general are well-made, and the money spent is well spent. You can expect your investment to last a lifetime.
What Should You Look For in a Manual Wheelchair?
Components of a basic manual chair should include:
A manual wheelchair intended for extended, daily use equipped with an individualized seat, lightweight frame and wheels especially intended for the users needs would cost considerably more. It's not unusual for this type of manual wheelchair to cost as much as $2000. Other variables, such as custom color options would add to this expense.
Extra features may include:
There are several different types of manual wheelchairs including:
Manual wheelchair cost is dependent on all of these factors and a number of others, such as features, accessories, and the materials and components used in the construction of the chair.
How Much Does a Power Wheelchair Cost?
Naturally, motorized wheelchairs are much more expensive, with basic chairs costing as much as $1500.
Basic components of a motorized wheelchair include:
Extra features may include:
Additions of specialized features will typically increase that cost to about $7000. Highly specialized chairs could easily cost is much as $30,000.
Some specialty features include:
An electric wheelchair is an excellent investment for a non-ambulatory individual. This type of chair makes navigation indoors and outdoors safer and easier. Even though power wheelchairs can be extremely expensive, they are an excellent investment in independence, safety and quality of life.
Make the Most of Warranty and Training
One thing that should be included with the purchase of any new wheelchair is a good warranty of at least three years.
Additionally, when you buy a new wheelchair you should be able to reasonably expect clear instructions and training on its use from a qualified individual such as a wheelchair company rep, a doctor or nurse.
How Can You Save Money When Buying a Wheelchair?
It's easy to see that purchasing a wheelchair is not a small expenditure. Fortunately, there are programs that can help people with reduced incomes to obtain low-cost or free wheelchairs. Examples include the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, among others. If you're in need of assistance, talk with your doctor and/or social worker for good referrals.
While it is possible to get insurance coverage to help with the purchase price of a wheelchair, it can be difficult to do so. Generally speaking, it's possible to get between 50% and 80% of wheelchair costs covered by a combination of private insurance and government programs. To do this, you'll need to get complete documentation of need from your physician.
To get documentation, you'll need to have an in person visit with your doctor to get the necessary for an exam and to explain the need. It can be helpful to know what sort of chair you have in mind in advance of this visit. This will enable you to discuss the pros and cons and explore your options.
It's also possible to save quite a bit of money by purchasing a used wheelchair. Just like cars, wheelchairs lose a great deal of value as soon as you roll them off the lot. If you're planning to look for a used chair, be sure to get a certified wheelchair dealer to check it out, just as you would have a mechanic check out a used car before purchase. Additionally, have your physical therapist look it over to be certain that it's a good fit for you.
Keep in mind that if you do decide to purchasing used wheelchair, you will probably not be able to get any assistance from your insurance company or from any government agency. In some instances, you may be able to deduct your costs for purchasing a used wheelchair from your taxes. To do this, you would need to get a letter from your doctor documenting your need for the wheelchair.
Are There Hidden Wheelchair Expenses?
Naturally, you or your insurance provider will need to pay the doctors fees, and you'll need to pay any out-of-pocket fees, such as co-pays.
With the passage of time, you'll also need to pay for things that wear out and need to be replaced. For example, if you have a motorized chair, you'll eventually need to replace the battery. This cost can range anywhere from $70 to $450, dependent upon the type of battery and the type of wheelchair.
Items such as wheelchair cushions eventually break down and need to be replaced. A cheap, simple cushion may cost you about $7, but a specialized, heavy duty rubber wheelchair cushion may cost you as much is $500.
Specialty and Custom Chairs are More Costly
Naturally, specialty wheelchairs are more expensive than basic manual or power wheelchairs. For example, a super-light, ergonomic wheelchair that is especially designed and engineered to suit the needs and physiology of its user would be considerably more costly than any basic chair.
These types of wheelchairs are typically used by very active people and are designed to minimize the effort involved in maneuvering and operating the chair. These chairs are typically made of strong, lightweight materials such as aircraft grade aluminum and/or titanium. A manual ergonomic chair may weigh under 20 pounds and yet have a cost of $1000.
Interestingly, a heavy duty or bariatric wheelchair, which is much larger, heavier and made of sturdy steel costs quite a bit less. These chairs have the focus entirely on strength and durability and are intended to carry weight up to 700 pounds, yet it is possible to get a very good quality, new manual bariatric wheelchair for $300.
Pediatric wheelchairs, while naturally small for children can be quite expensive depending upon the features needed for the child in question. Pediatric wheelchairs come in both manual and power styles and range in price accordingly.
Tilt in Space wheelchairs enable the user to tilt the chair and/or adjust the chair back to the most comfortable angle. This type of wheelchair can be had as a manual or motorized chair. These chairs are very heavy, strong and durable and cost a minimum of about $1600.
Standing wheelchairs are also available as manual or power chairs. These chairs allow the user to rise from a seated to standing position and to perform tasks in a standing position. Naturally, these types of chairs can be quite costly and are usually especially made to suit the individual. An off-the-rack, basic standing wheelchair costs about $9000.
Medicare’s Wheelchair & Scooter Benefit