Woman says insurance won't pay to replace wheelchair's bald tires

Posted: Updated:

A Bridgeport woman says her insurance company won’t pay for new tires on her 2-year-old wheelchair, even though she claims they could potentially pop and leave her stranded.

Tracey Fuller, 48, suffers from severe arthritis and says without the wheelchair, she would be stranded in her apartment.  News 12 Connecticut helped Fuller get her wheelchair in 2016 because she says her insurance company refused to cover the cost of one, and rejected numerous requests from her doctor.

"I was in the house for two years, two years doing nothing, in the house. Because I didn't have no way to get around or nothing, I was just on crutches,” she says.

After using her wheelchair for the last two years to go everywhere around the city, Fuller says the tires are bald and ready to pop. She says she is terrified she's going to have an accident.

Her doctor asked her insurance company if it would pay for new tires for the wheelchair, but it was denied.

Dr. Lee Forest, vice president of the Fairfield County Medical Association, says insurance companies, as a rule, almost never pay for wheelchairs.

"It's a torture fest trying to get insurances and Medicare and Medicaid to pay for things for patients, especially durable medical equipment -- wheelchairs, hospital beds,” he says. “Big business is ramping the prices up on everything and the little guy loses out."

Fuller says she's going to continue using her wheelchair, even with its dangerous bald tires, because not using it would mean not getting to her doctor's appointments and receiving the medical care she needs.

Fuller's insurance company did not respond to News 12’s request for a comment.

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