Mobility is an issue for many seniors, and mobility issues really create a problem when you live in a home with stairs. As such, many seniors explore the option of having a stair lift installed in their homes. These devices can be quite expensive, so insurance coverage could be a big help to people who need to install a stair lift. If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you might wonder whether your Medicare coverage will help pay for a stair lift. Keep reading as we give you all the details about Medicare coverage of stair lifts for seniors, plus some other ways to get help paying for one.
Does Medicare Cover Stair Lifts?
Are stair lifts covered by Medicare? The short answer is no. Medicare does not cover the cost of stair lifts. You probably already knew that Medicare Part A does not cover this cost since your Part A coverage is hospital insurance. However, many people believe that Medicare Part B might cover stair lifts. Part B of Medicare does cover durable medical equipment (DME), but a stair lift is not classified by them as DME. Instead, it is considered as a modification to the home.
Examples of mobility devices that are covered by Medicare include wheelchairs, canes, scooters, walkers, hospital beds, crutches, and a few other devices. In very limited circumstances, Medicare might cover a small portion of the cost of a stair lift if the lift has a seat that moves up and down to allow the individual to get in and out of the chair more easily. However, this type of seat is a premium feature, and the extra cost of this feature would usually be more than the Medicare reimbursement.
You should also know that Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap plans) does not pay for stair lifts either. Medigap plans help cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with Medicare coverage, like deductibles and copays. Since stair lifts are not covered by Medicare, Medigap will not cover these devices either.
Average Cost Of Stair Lifts
The average cost of a stair lift is about $7,000. Given this cost, you can quickly see why it would be helpful to have insurance coverage for this device. The cost of stair lifts can range from just over $2,000 to nearly $20,000. Several factors affect the total cost. First, the height and configuration of the stairs in your home have a significant effect on the cost of the lift. The more stairs you have, the higher the cost is likely to be. Also, if your stairs are too narrow or if you have a curved staircase, the lift is likely to be more expensive. The installation will be more difficult on narrow steps, so the cost will increase.
The price of the lift is also affected by the number of features included with it. A simple plastic chair attached to the lift usually costs less. However, chairs that raise and lower to make getting into and out of the lift easier will cost more. Your location can also affect the cost of the lift, as the labor to install the product is more expensive in some areas than others. If you are considering a stair lift, you should find someone in your area who sells and installs the devices. They can provide you with a more exact quote of how much the total cost would be to install a stair lift in your home.
Other Coverage Options For A Stair Lift
Now that you know Original Medicare does not cover stair lifts, you might wonder what other coverage options are available. Here are some other options that you might be able to take advantage of to help cover the cost of a stair lift.
— Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare Part C plans combine your Part A and Part B coverage into a single plan that is easier to manage. Medicare Advantage plans are managed by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare. These plans must provide the same minimum level of coverage as Original Medicare, but many of the plans provide additional benefits beyond traditional Medicare coverage.
Some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for stair lifts and chair lifts. You would need to check your specific plan for coverage details. If you want to find a Medicare Advantage plan that provides this coverage, you should check the Medicare plan finder tool. You can quickly and easily compare the plans that are available in your area. You should contact the insurance company that manages the plan for enrollment details.
Medicaid’s coverage varies from state to state since the program is jointly funded by the federal and state governments. However, the Medicaid program in many states will cover the cost of installing a stair lift in your home. If you qualify for Medicaid, you should contact your state’s Medicaid office to determine whether a stair lift will be covered.
— State Programs
Many states have financial assistance programs available that might help pay for a stair lift. These programs are outside the scope of Medicaid. Some programs offer interest-free loans for home modifications, while others provide financial assistance to help seniors remain in their own homes. Eligibility for these programs is often based on age, income, and financial resources. To get more information about these community-based services, you should contact a local area agency in your state. They can provide more details about the programs available in your area.
— Veterans Programs
The Veterans Administration has several programs available to help pay for stair and chair lifts. If the lift is necessary for health care related to a combat injury, then the cost will be covered by VA health care. However, the VA might still cover the cost even if it is not related to your military service. In some cases, the VA might even pay for the lift if it is necessary for the spouse of a service member. Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) also specifically provides benefits to assist veterans in remaining in their own homes rather than going into a nursing home. If you are a veteran, there are many ways you can get a stair lift paid for. Contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to learn more about the available programs.
— Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance will sometimes cover the cost of a stair lift, but it depends on your specific policy. Unlike traditional health insurance, long-term care insurance usually covers things like assisted living or nursing home stays. In some cases, the insurance plan might cover a stair lift so that you can remain in your home. Contact your insurance provider for details on whether a stair lift would be covered.
— Workers Compensation
If you were injured on the job, workers’ compensation might be required to pay for a new stair lift in your home. Workers’ compensation benefits should pay for medical treatment and care related to your on-the-job injury. In some cases, this could include a stair lift for your home. Most people choose to hire an attorney to assist with workers’ compensation claims, and most law firms will provide a free consultation to discuss your case.
Getting A Stair Lift With No Insurance Coverage
If you don’t have insurance coverage that can help cover the cost of a stair lift, what other options do you have? There are a few ways you can potentially lower the cost of a stair lift to make it more affordable. First, you might consider purchasing a used stair lift. A used lift could be a much cheaper option for someone without insurance coverage, and it could make the device much more affordable.
Next, you might be able to take advantage of the financing options offered by many stairlift companies. Some companies allow you to finance the devices interest-free for a few years. This allows you to make smaller monthly payments until you can pay off the cost of the device.
You could also consider renting a stair lift, especially if your need is only temporary. If you have an injury or other condition that is expected to improve within a few months, then a rental could be a great cost-effective option. You can contact a stairlift company in your area, and most of them will provide a free quote.
The Bottom Line
Will Medicare pay for a stair lift? The answer is no. Original Medicare does not cover stair lifts or chair lifts. Medicare considers this assistive technology to be a home modification and not durable medical equipment. However, some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for these devices. Outside of Medicare, you might be able to get financial assistance for stair lifts through Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, state programs, and other programs. If you are unable to get any coverage for a stair lift, you should consider buying a used lift or renting a lift if your need is expected to be temporary.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get Medicare reimbursement for a stair lift?
Unfortunately, you cannot get Medicare reimbursement for a stair lift. Original Medicare does not cover these devices. The Medicare program considers these devices to be home modifications that are not covered under the insurance program. If you have already paid for the device, do not expect to receive any money back from Medicare.
What are the requirements for Medicare coverage of stair lifts?
There are no requirements for Medicare coverage of stair lifts because Medicare does not cover these devices. Even if you truly need the device due to mobility issues, Medicare will not pay for it. You should consider other options for getting help with the cost of a stair lift. Your other options could include a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicaid, veterans benefits, state programs, and other financial assistance programs.
How do I know if I am eligible for a stair lift?
Anyone can purchase a stair lift if they believe they need it. However, Medicare will not pay for the device even if you have documented mobility issues. If you have another type of insurance plan, like a Medicare Advantage plan or long-term care plan, you might have coverage available. You should contact your insurance provider to determine the requirements that must be met to get the cost of a stair lift covered.
What is the difference between a stair lift and a chair lift?
These two devices are quite similar, but there is one distinct difference. A stair lift is basically a chair that moves up and down the stairs. A person can walk to the chair, sit in the chair, and then ascend or descend the stairs in the chair. A chair lift, on the other hand, helps someone in a wheelchair up or down the stairs. The chair lift is similar to a platform that would lift the person in their wheelchair up to the next level of the home.