Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs? 

Sitting and standing from a seated position are things most people take for granted, but if you experience joint pain, stiffness, or the inability to balance yourself in an upright position, sitting down and standing up can be challenging. To make life easier for people who experience these conditions, lift chairs are available to be used at home.

A lift chair is similar to a traditional recliner, but instead of sitting down on the seat and then standing again to get up, a lift chair features a mechanism that lifts and lowers the seat for you. Additionally, most lift chairs perform this action at an angle, allowing people who have a difficult time standing or sitting to be gently lifted onto and off of the chair.

How does Medicare cover lift chairs?

Medicare usually pays for durable medical equipment (DME) through Part B of your Medicare benefits. Items considered as DME include wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility and balance equipment. In most cases, Original Medicare benefits do apply toward the cost of lift chairs, but there are some important things to know before you purchase one.

First, Original Medicare coverage only applies toward the cost of the lift mechanism, meaning the chair may not be fully covered. The benefit is being provided to assist Medicare recipients with the ability to stand or sit, and since chairs and recliners come in all shapes, sizes and styles, it would be rather difficult for Medicare to offer blanket coverage for all types. As such, the device portion of a lift chair is what is covered.

Additionally, you must have a medical need for a lift chair as documented by your prescribing doctor. This means that you cannot go out and purchase a lift chair on your own and still receive Medicare coverage. If you purchase your own lift chair with no prescription or documented medical need, you will be responsible for the full cost.

Lastly, your lift chair must come from a Medicare-approved supplier of DME. This requirement should be given special attention as not all suppliers of medical equipment are approved by Medicare. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, check with your plan to obtain a list of approved DME providers in your area. Once again, if you purchase a lift chair from a provider not approved by Medicare, you are going to be stuck paying the full cost.

What part of Medicare covers lift chairs?

Medicare coverage for lift chairs comes from Part B. This is the outpatient benefit, and in addition to covering DME, it also covers visits to your doctor, surgery, lab work, and some preventive services. Medicare Part B plans require a monthly premium, and they will also have a deductible amount to meet each benefit period. Your deductible can vary based on your income as reported on your tax filings.

Medicare coverage through Part B is offered at 80%. This means that Medicare covers 80% of your Part B costs while Medicare recipients are left to pay the remaining 20%. In some cases, Medicare Supplement insurance, also known as Medigap coverage, can be utilized to assist in offsetting some costs associated with the use of Part B benefits. You can consider purchasing a  a Medigap plan of you have Original Medicare, have turned 65 years of age and are enrolled in Part B. 

Do Medicare Advantage plans cover lift chairs?

Medicare Advantage plans typically cover lift chairs in much the same way as Original Medicare plans. This is because Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide the same benefits as Original Medicare, so the DME benefits of Medicare Part B coverage apply in a Medicare Advantage plan.

You may notice a difference, however, in that Medicare Advantage plans typically offer additional benefits. While Original Medicare only covers the lift mechanism portion of a lift chair, your Medicare Advantage plan may offer more options when it comes to coverage for the actual chair or customizations.

Because each plan is unique, you will need to speak with your Medicare Advantage plan manager to learn more. You can also work with an independent Medicare Advantage insurance broker to shop around for plans to fit your specific needs.

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