Thursday, September 03, 2009

Medicare pays $4,000 for a $1,000 power chair

More than 173,000 Medicare beneficiaries received power wheelchairs in the first half of 2007, at a cost of about $686 million, the report said. The cost could have been reduced considerably had Congress not delayed a planned system of competitive bidding for what Medicare classifies as "durable medical equipment," such as wheelchairs and oxygen tanks, the report said.

Competitive bidding would have cut Medicare's average cost of a standard power wheelchair by nearly $1,000, the inspector general found.