You may benefit from a lift chair if you have certain medical conditions, such as severe arthritis of the hips or knees, or neuromuscular disease.
To get coverage from MedicareOriginal Medicare is a fee-for-service health insurance program available to Americans aged 65 and older and some individuals with disabilities. Original Medicare is provided by the federal government and is made up of two parts: Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance)., you need a prescription for a lift chair from a Medicare-approved physician.
No matter what type of lift chair you choose, Medicare will only cover 80% of the chair’s lifting mechanism.
If you need help to go from sitting to standing, a lift chair can be a lifesaver. People who receive Medicare are eligible to get a portion of the cost of lift chairs covered, provided certain criteria are met.
Lift chairs look like standard recliners but contain a motorized lifting mechanism that tilts the seat of the chair up. This supports you to go from sitting to standing. You may benefit from a lift chair if you have certain medical conditions, such as severe arthritis of the hips or knees, or neuromuscular disease.
To get coverage from Medicare, you need a prescription for a lift chair from a Medicare-approved physician.
Lift chairs must also be purchased or rented from a Medicare-approved supplier, who accepts assignment. Medicare will determine if your chair lift must be purchased or rented. In some instances, you may be able to choose the option you prefer.
Once eligibility requirements are met, Medicare will pay 80% of the Medicare-approved cost of the lifting mechanism in the lift chair. You will be responsible for the other 20% of the cost of the lifting mechanism. You will also be responsible for the cost of the chair’s other parts, such as the frame and upholstery.
If you have Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap), your plan may cover the 20% you are responsible for.
In addition, you will have to meet your Part B deductible, before Medicare will pay its portion of the cost. For 2021, the Part B deductible is $203.
The lift chair you choose must be able to boost and support you into a standing position unassisted. If it doesn’t contain a mechanical or electrical lifting mechanism, Medicare won’t pay for it. Medicare doesn’t cover lift chairs that rely on a non-mechanical, spring device, so avoid those.
Acquiring a chair from a Medicare-approved provider will help ensure that you purchase or rent a chair Medicare will pay for.
Lift chairs have several names and come in a variety of types. They include:
- Pop-up chairs
- Power lift recliners
- Infinite position recliner
- Two-position recliner
- Three-position recliner
- Zero-gravity lift chair
- High-weight capacity lift chair
They are also available in a range of sizes, styles, and fabrics. Some are equipped with special features, such as heat and massage. Others provide a napping position option.
Lift chairs can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The type of chair, fabric and design, plus the special features you choose, determine the overall cost.
No matter what type of lift chair you choose, Medicare will only cover 80% of the chair’s lifting mechanism. Your Part B deductible will also apply. Medicare’s portion of the cost of a lift chair varies by state. Usually, it ranges from $270 to $280. The rest of the cost of the chair is not paid for by Medicare.
Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans are required to cover at least as much as Original Medicare does. If you have a Part C plan, it will cover as much or more than Original Medicare for your lift chair. Part C plans vary, so check with your provider before you rent or buy.
If you get Social Security (SSI) benefits or Railroad Retirement (RRI) benefits, you can use your benefits to help cover the out-of-pocket costs of a lift chair.
These programs don’t pay suppliers directly for durable medical equipment.
A Medicare-approved physician must write you a prescription for a lift chair. They may also need to fill out a form for your lift chair supplier, that will be sent to Medicare for reimbursement.
Your prescription will typically be supplied to you after a face-to-face doctor’s appointment has taken place. In the prescription, your doctor must indicate that the chair is medically necessary, and meant for your use at home. Your doctor must also indicate that the chair is a needed part of your treatment plan and that its use may treat or improve your condition, or slow down its progression.
Other eligibility criteria include:
- You must be unable to stand up from a sitting position in any chair other than a lift chair.
- You must be able to walk once you’re standing, either on your own or with the help of equipment, such as a cane or walker.
- If Medicare has already paid for a wheelchair or scooter for your use, they may not pay for a lift chair.
- Medicare will not pay for a lift chair if you are in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility.
Stairlifts can boost the quality of life, and allow people to stay in a home they might have to leave otherwise. However, unlike chair lifts, Medicare doesn’t usually pay a portion of the cost of the stairlift itself. That’s because stairlifts are categorized as home modifications, not as durable medical equipment.
However, if the stairlift has a modified seat that contains a mechanical lifting mechanism designed to help you stand up, Medicare Part B may cover 80% of the cost of the lift mechanism in the chair.
Are there grants available for stairlifts?
If you qualify, there may be grants you can use to pay for a stairlift. In some instances, you may have to provide proof of medical need, in order to be eligible.
Medicaid may also pay a portion of the cost of a stairlift.
Keep in mind that Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of the chair itself. It is the lifting mechanism, not the chair type, that determines coverage.
Medicare will cover their portion of the cost of a mechanical lifting mechanism in any type of lift chair. You can choose an easy lift chair or a reclining one, whichever you feel is best for you.
Before purchasing a lift chair, talk to your doctor about the type that may be best for you. Since you will incur most of its cost, keep your budget in mind, as well.
Two-position lift chairs are the most basic. They give you the option of sitting upright or reclining at a 45-degree angle, with your legs elevated.
Lift chairs aren’t meant to be used as beds. However, if you plan on using yours for napping as well as sitting, you may wish to purchase a three-position lift chair. This type of chair allows you to recline in a near-flat position.
Infinite position lift chairs are the most versatile. This type is also sometimes referred to as a zero-gravity lift chair. They include several motors so that you can position your legs and upper body in a wide range of positions. The number of motors the chair contains won’t alter the payment portion you can expect to receive from Medicare.
Your lift chair may be front and center in your living room, or in a more private area of your home. Either way, it may be important to you that your chair is attractive, and doesn’t look like a piece of medical equipment. When possible, try to get a chair that enhances your décor, and feels like a welcoming addition to your room. You have the right to enjoy your chair, and to feel at home in it.