When you get off the phone with your wheelchair provider, do you feel like pulling your hair out?
It can be frustrating to seek services or purchase a mobility device if your provider is, well, a poor ally to work with.
The good news is- you do NOT need to stick with your provider! You have options. In this article, we go over what to expect when switching providers.
Switching Mobility Providers: An Overview
No one likes spending half their day on the phone, being led in circles by an automated voice, or speaking with a service rep that isn’t so polite.
We’ve all experienced this, whether it’s canceling a phone line with a cellphone company or changing a flight with an airline.
Wheelchair users know this all too well, as poor service providers seem to be one of the biggest complaints.
It shouldn’t be, though! Not when you’re dealing with medical devices that are a) expensive and b) a necessity for people with disabilities.
But alas, some users cross paths with low-quality providers, and being new to the complex process of wheelchair ordering, they don’t realize that they can kick that provider to the curb if they desire.
Why don’t they know this? Here are a few reasons…
4 Common Reasons Why People Don’t Consider Changing Mobility Providers
If one of these reasons for not changing mobility providers pertains to you- know that it doesn’t have to be this way! Let us explain.
1. My Private Insurance Limits Me to This Provider
The truth is, the majority of private and government insurers have what’s called “preferred provider” lists that give wheelchair users a choice of multiple providers in their area.
There are exceptions, but this is incredibly rare. If you believe that you only have one provider at your disposal, it’s best to ring up your insurance and ask for a preferred provider list.
2. Medicare Limits Me to This Provider
Not so! There is nothing to keep a beneficiary from seeking out a new provider. The only requirement is that they are enrolled as a Medicare provider.
Once you select your new rehab technology provider, they’ll send your service paperwork to Medicare, and that’s it!
Bear in mind that some providers only service the wheelchairs they sell due to the user no longer having the original financial documentation.
The provider is required to have this before administering service, showing that the work is covered by insurance.
However, many providers are becoming flexible with this to generate more revenue.
So if you have Medicaid or Medicare, don’t be shy about switching wheelchair providers, and ask if your new team is willing to work with you to gather the right documentation together.
3. There’s Only One Provider Where I Live
In today’s day and age, all it takes is the click of a button to access all of the providers in your area.
The majority of wheelchair manufacturers have a search tool on their websites that allows customers to input their zip code and pull up the exact locations of providers within a close radius.
Before throwing in the towel, do some research and you might be surprised by the number of providers in your neighborhood.
4. Why Should I Switch? All Providers Are Terrible!
Either you don’t want to put the time into finding a new provider or you’re Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street.
Sure, there are always a few bad apples in the basket, but out of the hundreds of wheelchair providers out there, you can certainly find plenty of great ones.
As we mentioned before, it starts with research and taking the time to gauge a provider before making your choice.
A few ways to gain insight includes getting recommendations. This could be from your doctor, therapist, friends, or family members.
You could also look for customer testimonials, as this is one of the easiest ways to get the real scoop on all sorts of businesses nowadays.
The Long-Term Effects of Sticking With Poor Service
What good comes from sticking with a provider you don’t like? Not only do you dread the times you have to deal with them, but it can also negatively impact others with disabilities.
Simply put, a company that does bad business loses business, then gradually fades away.
But when a wheelchair user continues taking their business to a poor provider, it supports bad behavior and keeps the provider up and running.
This opens up potential consumers to a disappointing experience and further blocks the flow of business to an excellent provider.
Instead, basic market dynamics are clear: support the providers who deserve it, shun the lousy ones, and watch the overall quality of service rise.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
Switching wheelchair service providers isn’t always a seamless process.
You’ll have to put in the time to complete paperwork, get out that thick file folder holding your most important information, and transfer the correct documentation to your new provider.
No one likes to do paperwork, but if it means you won’t feel hassled by calling your provider, then it’s a small amount of effort that goes a long way and nixes a lot of stress down the road.
If you’re not happy with your current wheelchair provider, know that switching providers is not impossible, and it’s easier to stay stuck in an unfavorable situation.
Switching Providers: Our Final Thoughts
There are plenty of reputable providers who are courteous, reliable, and easy to work with. All it takes is a bit of research on your end to find the gems.
Switching providers start with talking to your insurance, whether private or federal, and securing a preferred provider list to ensure you’re covered by insurance when you switch.
You can also search for providers in your area to get an idea of all of the options close to home, then scout out customer testimonials and referrals from trusted individuals.
Resources & References:
- Find a QAP-Accredited Dealer, NMEDA.
- Find Medical Equipment & Suppliers, Medicare.