For years wheelchair users have been advocating for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to allow insurance coverage for seat elevation systems, like iLevel, in wheelchairs. In August 2022, CMS finally took action on this issue by opening up a comment period where wheelchair users and other advocates could provide open feedback to CMS on why seat elevation technology should be covered.
In February, we shared an update that the CMS issued its proposed decision on coverage for seat elevation technology that would allow coverage of seat elevation technology for individuals who perform weight bearing transfers. This means any person who uses a wheelchair and bears weight on their arms for an uneven transfer (such as transferring from a wheelchair to a bed that is higher) and anyone who bears weight on their legs for a sit-to-stand transfer would be eligible for coverage through Medicare.
While this was great news because it would allow many wheelchair users to finally have access to seat elevation technology, the proposed rule leaves out people with disabilities who cannot perform weight bearing transfers, such as some people with quadriplegia, SMA, or ALS (among many other disabilities).
However, it’s not too late to advocate for CMS to broaden the rule so that everyone who needs seat elevation technology can get coverage for it!
Until March 17, 2023, wheelchair users and other advocates can submit another comment to CMS. Wheelchair users can explain all the ways that seat elevation helps them live their best lives, such as being able to reach cupboards, cook on a stovetop or perform personal hygiene tasks. It’s important to remind CMS that while seat elevation does help with transfers, the benefits of seat elevation go far beyond that! We can commend CMS for the proposed rule they have published and then urge them to expand the proposed rule to allow everyone to have coverage for seat elevation, whether they can perform weight bearing transfers or not!