Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?
This article was updated on: 06/12/2019
Lift chairs can be used to help you stand up and sit down. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare and you need lift chairs or other mobility aids at home, Medicare Part B might cover these devices if you meet certain requirements.
This article will help you understand how Medicare covers lift chairs and other medical equipment.
What are lift chairs?
Lift chairs resemble a typical recliner you might already have in your home, but they are equipped with a motorized device that raises and gently tilts it forward to help you get to a standing position more easily. They are generally available in two-position and three-position styles. You may be able to find some “infinite position” chairs that let you customize the settings to one most comfortable for you.
Don’t confuse a lift chair with a stair lift chair, which is a motorized chair that takes you up and down the stairs. Lift chairs are also different from patient lifts, which come in different forms and are used to help a caregiver or family member move you, for example, from a wheelchair to a bed.
Will Medicare pay for a lift chair?
If your doctor certifies that a lift chair is medically necessary for you, Medicare Part B might cover 80% of allowable charges once you’ve met your Part B deductible for the year.
In order to qualify for Medicare coverage, your doctor must submit a certificate of medical necessity for lift chairs. The medical necessity form asks your doctor to certify that you:
- Have severe arthritis of your knee or hip, or other qualifying neuromuscular disease
- Are unable to stand up on your own from any other type of chair
- Can move around once you are in a standing position
- Have tried other therapies and devices to help you get from a sitting to standing position, but they have failed. This must be documented in your medical records.
If you have a Medicare Supplement insurance plan, your plan might pay some or all of the Medicare Part B out-of-pocket costs associated with lift chairs.
Can I use any Medicare-approved lift chair supplier?
Lift chairs may be listed as “seat lift mechanisms” in Medicare’s list of durable medical equipment, or DME. Medicare Part B generally only covers DME you get from an approved supplier enrolled in Medicare. The doctor who prescribes lift chairs must also accept Medicare assignment. You can ask the doctor who prescribes your chair for a list of Medicare-approved DME suppliers in your area.
Medicare might require you to rent equipment such as a lift chair (as opposed to buying it). Medicare Part B usually pays 80% of your monthly rental charge. After 13 months, you may get to keep the equipment with no additional rental fees. Medicare may also pay a portion of the cost to maintain and/or repair your lift chair.
Does Medicare Advantage cover lift chairs?
Medicare Advantage is simply an alternative way to get the Medicare benefits provided by Part A and Part B. If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, the plan may cover lift chairs under the durable medical equipment benefit.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you might have additional benefits not available under Part A and Part B. Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies, and once they meet minimum coverage requirements, the insurers are able to offer extra coverage for things such as routine vision and dental coverage.
Medicare Advantage plans are allowed to offer extra home health benefits that may be helpful for people with lift chairs. For example, some Medicare Advantage plans might cover home health aide services for custodial care and housekeeping assistance, as well as non-medical transportation to and from medical appointments. Plans are also allowed to offer an annual allowance for home safety equipment and devices such as wheelchair ramps and pull bars.
Plans are not required to offer these supplemental benefits, so you’ll want to compare plans if you’re interested in this coverage. Depending on where you live, you may be able to enroll in a plan with these extra benefits to help you live independently at home.
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