Thursday, May 10, 2012

Buying medical equipment on Ebay

wheelchair pic
The wheelchair I'm bidding on
I started writing this post while the auction was still active, but decided to post it post-auction.  Originally I was leery to post it while it was active.  You might be asking why.  Because it's hard to find a chair that fits my booty, looks sporty, will be able to withstand sporty things, possibly be usable for dance (assuming I can find a teacher or professor willing to take the mixed-ability dance plunge), and is in my budget.

Here's the thing.  Why on earth would someone need to look at buying medical equipment on Ebay?  I crunched the numbers, and here's why I'm taking the risk.  Assuming that my insurance will even pay the 80% that the policy book says they will, I have to jump through a number of hoops to get them to pay it.  I have the prescription in hand, so that's the first major step.  Next was to figure out which supplier of "durable medical equipment" (or DME) were on my insurer's list of providers.  The next one, according to the DME supplier, is to make an appointment with a physical therapist for a proper fitting, an appointment that a rep from the DME supplier needs to be at.  My insurer doesn't cover physical therapy, and I failed out of PT a long time ago, so I don't have a current relationship with a PT that I know and trust (which is something I find to be a big deal).

So from here, I'm already paying a good chunk of money just to have someone day "yes, I agree she needs a wheelchair" and to have them measure my butt (I know, there's more to it than that).  Next adventure really involves a dance between the DME supplier, my clinic, and the insurer...a dance that normally takes two or more months, and probably some rejections and appeals.  Assuming that they say yes, I still have a deductible to pay, and then my 20%.  When all is said and done, that's a lot of time and money being bounced around while I have a lot of people that don't know me validate my status as a disabled person.  A lot of people that may decide that since I'm fat and disabled may just say "lose weight and your nerve problems will magically disappear" (statistically untrue, by the way).

BTW, for a really detailed list of the steps it takes to get a chair, check out UsersFirst Mobility Map.  It's an amazing resource.  It also demonstrates how complicated this process is.

me on my triathlon bike in 2007, pre-injury
Me on my bike on the MS 150, 2007 & pre-injury
So I've been looking on Ebay for wheels, and finally found a chair that should fit.  If it doesn't, I'll "rEbay" it (a term I coined last night while talking to my SO.  It's a risk, and a decently expensive one.  This char costs as much as my beloved triathlon bike (that I can't bring myself to sell because of the good memories we've had...see the look of determination in the photo on the right?).  I suppose being able to compare the price of the chair, which is made by a company that produces sports chairs, to the price of a fancy bike is allowing me to not balk at the cost as much.  At least that's my excuse at the moment.

And now?  That chair above has been paid for and will hopefully be shipped soon.  I've never made a Paypal transaction of that size before, and I'm thankful that I have money in my savings account to make this happen, especially on a day where I'm having trouble even walking around my office because of pain.  Here's hoping that it works and that my measurements are good :-)


  1. E-bay is one of the most trusted online stores. Buying will never be a problem, but caution is advised. Always see to it that the person who's selling the item has a good seller information, and see to it that the positive feedback of its previous customers is 100%.
    - Cami Hood

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