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Medicare Could Save Millions by Eliminating the Lump-Sum Purchase Option for All Power Mobility Devices

In the future, Medicare could save millions if the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks legislation to eliminate the lump-sum payment option and requires all power mobility devices (PMDs) be provided to beneficiaries on a monthly rental basis.

Medicare Part B covers PMDs, which include standard and complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs (PWCs) and power-operated vehicles (POVs). (In this report, we refer to POVs and complex PWCs as nonstandard PMDs.) CMS administers the Medicare program. Effective January 1, 2011, the Affordable Care Act eliminated the lump-sum purchase option for standard PWCs, requiring suppliers to provide these devices on a monthly rental basis. Medicare currently makes payments for standard PWCs only on a monthly rental basis. From 2011 through 2014, we determined that Medicare saved an estimated $86 million by eliminating the lump-sum purchase option for standard PWCs. However, the lump-sum purchase option remains available for nonstandard PMDs.

We recommended that CMS seek legislation to eliminate the lump-sum payment option for all PMDs. If such legislation had been in place during CYs 2011 through 2014, Medicare could have saved at least an additional $10.2 million.

Filed under: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services