Medicare can help pay for part of a lift chair under the durable medical equipment (DME) coverage.1 But to get the payment approved, you must meet a few requirements.

Let’s take a look at the basics of a lift chair, Medicare coverage and the potential cost to you.

What is a lift chair?

A lift chair is similar to a typical recliner but with one special feature: a motorized lift device. The device is in the base of the chair and raises or lowers the seat on command. The angle of the seat assists with getting up or down from a sitting or a standing position, which can help with balance and mobility challenges as well as stiff joints and muscle pain.

Please note: A lift chair is different from a stair lift chair, which moves up and down a staircase. It’s also different from a patient lift, which caregivers use to move patients from a bed to a chair.

Will Medicare pay for a lift chair?

Yes, Medicare Part B does cover some of the costs of a lift chair. However, there are 2 important factors to consider:

  1. Part B only helps pay for the lifting device, not the chair itself. For example, the lifting device coverage does not include fabric, cushions or any accessories like heat foam or massage pads.
  2. Medicare will only help cover a motorized chair lifting device prescribed by doctors and provided through DME suppliers enrolled in Medicare.2 If they aren’t enrolled, Medicare will not pay the claims they submit.3

Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage plans, might pay for lift chairs as well. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your provider.

How do I qualify for Medicare to cover my lift chair?

First, you must get a prescription from your physician that states your lift chair is a medical necessity. Next, you and your physician will complete and submit a Certificate of Medical Necessity for Seat Lift Mechanisms Form, PDF opens new window.

For reference, here are some of the medical requirements for Medicare to help pay for your lift chair:

  • You have severe arthritis of the hip or knee, or a severe neuromuscular disease.
  • You can’t stand up on your own from a regular chair.
  • Without the chair, you’d be confined to another chair or bed.
  • Once standing, you can walk independently or with the aid of a walker or cane.
  • You do not reside within a skilled nursing facility, hospice or nursing home facility.

How much do lift chairs cost through Medicare?

If you qualify, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost of the motorized lifting device. You’ll pay your Part B annual deductible, the remaining 20% for the device and the cost of the chair itself. The total amount you pay can depend on any other insurance you have, where you get the lift chair and more.4

The bottom line

Lift chairs can be a safe and simple solution for anyone with hip, knee or muscle issues. If you feel you could benefit from a lift chair, reach out to your physician for more information.

Sources:

  1. “Patient Lifts,” Medicare.gov, last accessed July 6, 2020, https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/patient-lifts, opens new window.
  2. “Patient Lifts.”
  3. “Patient Lifts.”
  4. “Patient Lifts.”

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