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Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs for The Elderly? (Guide)

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You or a loved one may wonder, does medicare cover lift chairs for the elderly?

A lift chair can be a critical piece of equipment for helping to maintain mobility and independence, particularly for seniors struggling with lower limb mobility issues.

The only problem is, that these chairs are expensive pieces of equipment.

Understanding will medicare pays for a seat lift mechanism for elderly patients helps you make the right decisions regarding your or your loved one’s living situation.

READ MORE: VIVE Health Reviews

What is a Lift Chair?

Simply put, a lift chair is a chair that can assist with getting up and out of a chair. It is a good option for those with limited mobility who can’t use traditional recliners.

The chair is typically designed as a recliner that allows users to lower the back and extend leg supports for maximum support and comfort while sitting in a reclined position.

The added bonus is that these chairs contain a mechanical lift that is remotely operated and elevates the chair while tilting the seat and back forward while the user is in a seated position.

This function helps users to stand up from the chair, particularly if there are mobility issues that prevent users from getting up with their own strength.

See how these seats work and differ from a regular chair in this video.

7 Different Types of Lift Chairs

There are several types of lift chair recliners, depending on your specific needs.

  1. Power lift chair
  2. Two-position lift chair – allow the back to be positioned at 90 degrees to the seat or reclined to 45 degrees with the leg support raising to 45 degrees.
  3. Three-position lift chair – are the same as two-position but can also be reclined so that the back of the chair is nearly completely flat.
  4. Zero-gravity chairs
  5. Those with a leg elevator
  6. Those with 45-degree angle positions
  7.  Infinite position chairs – allow the back and leg support to be moved in any position independently of one another because they use two separate motors.

So now that you know exactly what a mobility chair is, let’s get into the details of does medicare covers lift chairs for the elderly?

Are Lift Chairs for Seniors Covered by Medicare?

old woman thinking

Does medicare pay for lift chairs for seniors? The simple answer to the question is: it depends. Your Medicare eligibility will determine what level of coverage of lift chairs you receive.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a chair, seniors must be enrolled in Medicare parts B or C. [1]

Enrollment in Medicare part B, which provides medical insurance, requires participants to be at least 65 years of age and have appropriate citizenship requirements (US citizen or green card holder) or to have been on disability for at least 25 months. [2]

The level of coverage regarding premiums owed by participants is determined by one’s income levels.

Part C relates to Medicare advantage plans that pertain to HMO or PPO coverage and covers such expenses as prescription drugs.

a doctor showing an elderly something

In order to be approved for lift chairs covered by medicare, an application for coverage will require that the chair be deemed a medical necessity.

A deemed necessity is a medical condition where you need the equipment to be able to recover from or function with your condition.

Applicants need a doctor’s approval and will need to be experiencing one of the following conditions:

  • severe arthritis of the hip or knee
  • neuromuscular disease of the lower extremities
  • an inability to stand up from a normal chair
  • the ability to walk normally or with the air of a walker or cane when in a standing position
  • the chair will lead to recovery or slow deterioration based on the patient’s condition

There are a variety of chairs for those with mobility issues here’s one of the best recliner for elderly people.

What Lift Chair Costs Are Covered By Medicare?

If you qualify to receive coverage for a chair, the only component that will actually be covered as a medical necessity is the mechanical lift. [3]

The expense of the chair will not be covered, since the lift can be configured and incorporated with a pre-existing reclining chair.

Additional expenses will include the cushions, fabric, and any massage pads that would be necessary to make the chair comfortable.

As with all qualifying expenses, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost, with the patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket expenses covering the rest. Depending on one’s location, a mechanical lift will cost approximately $300 dollars.

That helps but is still expensive for some, so how do I get medicare reimbursement for a lift chair?

How To Apply and Get Medicare Reimbursement For a Lift Chair?

old woman signing something

Seniors interested in acquiring a chair should first contact their physician for a medical review.

The physician will need to complete CMS-849 to indicate what the qualifying condition is to warrant Medicare approval for the lift. [4]

Once the form is complete and submitted, seniors can approach a Medicare supplier who sells patient lifts and will often be able to file a claim regarding the chair to be submitted for coverage.

For suppliers who don’t participate in Medicare, applicants can download a form from the Medicare site to be submitted as a request for coverage and reimbursement for the lift portion of the chair.

This video is helpful in explaining more about the qualifications needed for Medicare cover.

Where Can I Get Covered and How For The Costs That Medicare Does Not Cover!

If you cannot afford the entire cost related to a chair, Medigap coverage can completely cover the additional costs. [5]

As long as you are enrolled in Medicare parts A and B, you are eligible to apply for Medigap coverage. [6] Participation in Medigap will allow you to submit a claim to cover the additional costs associated with the chair.

FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions to help guide purchasing a chair.

What type of lift chairs are considered lift chairs?

There are three primary lift chair conformations. Two-position chairs, three-position chairs, and infinite-position chairs.

Are power lift chairs covered by Medicare?

Yes, all motorized chair lifts that are essential for the chairs are covered by Medicare.

How much do lift chairs cost?

a man opening his wallet

Chairs cost between $600 dollars to over $1000, with two-position chairs being less expensive and infinite-position chairs being more expensive. [7]

Can I get a lift chair if I already have been reimbursed for a scooter or electric wheelchair?

Yes, if you have already received Medicare coverage for other medical equipment, such as walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs, then you are still eligible to receive reimbursement.

What would disqualify someone from being eligible to be reimbursed for a lift chair?

If you are still in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility, then you will not be eligible to be covered for a chair until you return to your permanent residence.

How long do chair lifts last?

While the chair itself will last indefinitely, the motor typically lasts between 10 to 20 years depending on how often it is used and if there are any adverse environmental factors, such as high humidity or damage to electrical equipment.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you or your loved ones won’t be in a position where a mobility chair becomes a necessity.

If the situation does arise, enrollment in Medicare can help you or your loved one find the right chair to help with your condition and make life comfortable AND affordable.

Now that you know does Medicare cover lift chairs for the elderly, you can rest assured that an affordable chair is out there to lift your spirits. 

What Lift Chair Costs Are Covered By Medicare

Should Medicare give more benefits to the elderly aside from lift chairs? Let us know your thoughts down below!

Resources

  • 1. “Will Medicare Pay for a Lift Chair?” Medicare & Medicare Advantage Info, Help and Enrollment, 8 Aug. 2018, www.medicare.org/articles/will-medicare-pay-for-a-lift-chair/. Accessed 13 May 2022.
  • 2. Enrolling in Medicare Part a & Part B CENTERS for MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES.
  • 3. “Does Medicare Pay for a Lift Chair? – Humana.” Www.humana.com, www.humana.com/medicare/does-medicare-pay-for-lift-chair. Accessed 13 May 2022.
  • 4. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. https://www.cms.gov/medicare/cms-forms/cms-forms/downloads/cms849.pdf
  • 5. “Will Medicare Pay for a Lift Chair.” MedicareFAQ, 20 July 2021, www.medicarefaq.com/faqs/medicare-coverage-for-lift-chairs/#:~:text=Typically%2C%20you. Accessed 13 May 2022.
  • 6. “How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan?” Medicareresources.org, www.medicareresources.org/faqs/how-do-i-know-if-im-eligible-for-a-medicare-supplement-medigap-plan/. Accessed 13 May 2022.
  • 7. “A Guide to the Best Lift Chairs for Seniors.” Forbes Health, 1 Sept. 2021, www.forbes.com/health/healthy-aging/best-lift-chairs/. Accessed 13 May 2022.
About Haley Burress

Haley has been working with seniors and their caregivers for more than 17 years. She has held local and national leadership roles in a variety of senior services and senior care agencies. Today, she is a sought after writer specializing in topics for older adults, their family members, and professional caregivers. When she isn't at her computer sipping coffee, you can find her hiking with her husband, son, and dog or trying a new cookie recipe in the kitchen. Follow her on LINKEDIN. Read her LATEST POSTS. Learn more about her HERE.

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