Obtaining Financing and Reimbursement for Your Walk In Bathtub
A walk in bathtub can make bathing easier and safer for the elderly and those with physical conditions that make getting in and out of standard bathtubs difficult. Instead of having to sit and stand in a small tub, walk in bathtubs require only a small step over the lip and the ability to sit at about a normal height. This can help many people regain some independence in the bathroom and turn the chore of bathing into a pleasure again.
Even though a walk in bathtub can make such a dramatic change in a person's life, it's not considered a medical necessity by Medicare or Medicaid. Because such a tub isn't considered durable medical equipment that falls into Medicare's guidelines, they won't 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's unlikely Medicare or Medicaid will accept that and help pay for it. Fortunately, there are other options.
Finding a way to help pay for walk in bathtubs might not be easy, but there are resources available to you. The reason it's so difficult is because there are other options for easier bathing, such as bath lifts, that cost far less and are designed specifically for disabilities and physical limitations. A walk in bathtub is something that anyone can and may use, which helps qualify it as 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.
One option for some people who are fairly low-income is the USDA. The Rural Housing and Community Facilities Program may have grants that you don't have to pay back or low-interest loans available to help you with the cost of a walk in bathtub and any necessary modifications to your home to make it safer. Look into these programs even if you think you don't qualify because of income. 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.