Funding Freedom: One iBOT® User’s Journey to REACH, CLIMB, GO!
Kris Uscinski first encountered an original generation iBOT® back in 2006, when he met a gentleman using one in Boston. “His confidence and dignity are something that stood out at that very moment, and I decided that if my disability progresses into a wheelchair, an iBOT® is what I want,” Kris said.
Since 2006, Kris tracked the progress of the iBOT® throughout the years, before the new generation iBOT® Personal Mobility Device launched in 2019 by Mobius Mobility. “That year I got my first ‘off-the-shelf’ power wheelchair which allowed me to travel around the world. But I quickly hit the limitations of a normal power wheelchair,” he said. And so, he contacted the iBOT® team.
Kris’s first time seeing the new iBOT® PMD was at the Abilities Expo in Houston. “I sized it up next to my power wheelchair and was surprised by its size. It was only 2″ longer and wider than my wheelchair and that was the moment I was sold.” The size of the iBOT® PMD – the powerbase at 25 inches wide and 32 inches long – meant that Kris would be able to dock the iBOT® in his wheelchair-accessible SUV, as well as maneuver it around his office with ease.
The Journey to Funding Freedom
Soon after, Kris started the pre-approval process with his insurance and the Mobius Mobility team. The approval process took about 6 months, starting with the first seating assessment appointment. His initial request for approval was denied, but he persisted nonetheless, figuring that this was just a normal part of the process.
Self-advocacy is one of the biggest factors in funding a personal mobility device, Kris said. After he was denied, Kris got to work. He regrouped with his doctors, collected more reports, scheduled another seating evaluation, and upgraded his medical insurance for better coverage for durable medical equipment. And when he appealed the initial denial, he got approved to go ahead and make the purchase for reimbursement.
For other potential iBOT® users looking to fund their device through insurance reimbursement, Kris offered valuable advice: “Don’t give up. Keep faxing, calling, and requesting guidance from your insurance. Understand your plan, especially the coverage for durable medical equipment. Keep all your correspondences from your insurance,” he said.
In May of 2023, Mobius Mobility announced that the company is able to bill some private insurances. Mobius Mobility will work with all medical professionals involved to obtain the necessary information for each submission and prior authorization.
Each situation is unique; insurance coverage may vary. Mobius Mobility encourages all interested potential users to reach out for assistance.
The Mobius Mobility team was helpful throughout the funding process, Kris said. “The Mobius team was very responsive at answering all my questions, both technical and dealing with my insurance.” The team also has established partnerships with local hotels and accessible vehicle rental places to pass down discounts to iBOT® trainees. “The discounts were significant and a pleasant surprise,” Kris said.
Life With iBOT®
So far, Kris’s experience in his iBOT® has allowed him to engage in parts of life he wasn’t able to before. 4-Wheel Mode allows him to explore his backyard beyond his patio. That means he can play with his dog and contribute to cleaning up after him. 4-Wheel Mode also allows him to access parts of his house he had a hard time accessing before, using the additional height to reach important areas such as the circuit breaker box and the mailbox.
“That same day I attended my iBOT® training, I accepted a new position…. [The iBOT®] will bring me back to the office more and interact with coworkers in person. I’m looking forward to using the Balance Mode for those eye-level interactions,” he said.
What Kris loves about the iBOT® is the incredible reach that all the modes offer. “It allows you to park your vehicle in inaccessible places – the iBOT® takes it from there, navigating through tough terrain, down curbs, and still looking classy and amazing arriving at your destination,” he said. Kris was able to dock the iBOT® in his SUV and attend his daughters’ school awards ceremony and end-of-the-year school picnic.
“The Balance Mode and the 4-Wheel Mode give you a sense of getting a part of your life back. That is an amazing feeling,” Kris said.
Kris will also be able to use the iBOT® to spend quality time with friends and family. Kris’s twin sister has had to assemble, tear down, and re-assemble many ramps around her home to make it accessible for him when he visits her. “The Stair Mode will make the visits with family easier and less stressful,” Kris said.
One of Kris’s friends is an avid fisherman. “He’s been asking me to go fishing with him at the lake next to my house. When I got the iBOT®, the first thing I did was buy a fishing rod and invited him on a fishing trip. The 4-Wheel Mode will allow me to comfortably and safely fish with my friend,” Kris said. “The iBOT® does everything. Plus, more. You just can’t compare it.”
How Mobius Mobility Can Help YOU!
If you’re curious about ways to fund your own personal mobility device, check out the Funding Your Mobility page for options offered by Mobius Mobility, as well as a directory of nonprofit resources. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 833-346-4268 for any questions.