Does Medicare cover chair lifts for stairs?

Medicare may not cover chair lifts for stairs, but Medicaid will provide assistance under state-governed programs like HCBS. Health insurance is known for providing home modification for its recipients, but it's much different for Medicare insurance recipients. Compare other Medicare providers for better coverage.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Feb 3, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Standard Medicare may not cover chair lifts for stairs, but it depends on the state.
  • Medicaid is more than likely to pay for stairlifts.
  • Stairlift cost depends on the manufacturer and installation.

“Does Medicare cover chair lifts for stairs?” is a common question that creates more questions than answers. Fortunately, this guide will bring you solutions to clarify whether Medicare will pay for chair lifts.

Since Medicare is a federal health insurance program, your options to get stairlift coverage may be complicated, but it’s not impossible.

If your Medicare provider doesn’t cover chair lifts for stairs, try comparing health insurance companies in your area using our free online quote tool to see if you can find coverage.

For more information on Medicare stairlift coverage, continue reading.

Does Medicare cover chair lifts for stairs?

The short answer is no. A standard Medicare plan won’t cover the cost of stairlifts. However, Medicare Advantage (MA) could cover the cost. Coverage heavily depends on the state and condition of the insured. 

Some Medicare programs see stairlifts as an addition to the home rather than a need for the insured. There are many gray areas to chair lifts for stairs. It’s uncommon to get a stairlift from Medicare.

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Does Medicaid cover chair lifts for stairs?

Like Medicare coverage, Medicaid stairlift coverage depends on the state. However, you’re more than likely to get help through Medicaid.

HCBS waivers – or Medicaid waivers – cover home modifications.

States with Medicaid stairlifts coverage use Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers to provide Medicaid recipients with nursing level care. 

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid works with state-based home modification programs. This gives Medicaid recipient health care on the same level as a nursing home.

Does The Veterans Administration cover chair lifts for stairs?

Veterans Administration (or VA) recipients only need approval before a chair lift for stairs is installed. If you need a stairlift for reasons unrelated to military service, the VA Aid and Attendance benefit will provide assistance.

Also, the VA has a program known as Veterans Directed Home and Community-Based Services (VD-HCBS). It’s similar to the Medicaid program, but it’s more comprehensive.

Other Financial Options and Chair Lifts for Stairs Cost

What do you do when you don’t qualify for Medicaid or VA assistance? We did some research and found four options you can use to get chair lifts for stairs.

Get A Loan

New stairlifts are about $2,000 ($7,500 for higher-end stairlifts). The installation cost is between $500 and $1,500. If you get a personal loan or another type of loan, you could cover a stairlift cost.

Most installation costs are included with the stairlift, so you may pay less than what’s expected.

DIY

Installations can be just as expensive as the stairlift itself. If you’re skilled with putting things together, purchase a used stairlift, and install it yourself. You can save up to 50 percent off on a stairlift if you can install it yourself. You can even report it on your taxes.

Finance Through A Manufacturer

Some stairlift manufacturers have more cost-efficient options such as financing. Instead of paying a lump sum payment, you can make monthly payments to the stairlift manufacturer instead of getting a loan.

Here’s a list of stairlift manufacturers:

  • Acorn
  • AmeriGlide
  • Bruno
  • Handicare
  • Harmar
  • MediTek
  • Sterling
  • Stannah
  • Thyssen-Krupp

Check out each manufacturer and compare their services. You can find a great deal on stairlifts if you compare their prices, too.

Rent A Chair Lift for Stairs

If you don’t care to own a stairlift, you can always rent one. However, the cost to rent a stairlift is between $200 and $500 per month. Shop around for stairlifts to see if you can get a lower price.

Factors that Affect Chair Lift for Stair Price

Let’s examine a few factors that affect stairlift cost.

  • The shape of the stairway
  • Features of the chair
  • The stairway length
  • Outdoor vs. Indoor
  • Rider’s Weight
  • A folding rail

Consider the size and shape of your stairway. It may help to record measurements before you call the stairlift manufacturer.

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Alternatives to Stairlifts

If the chair lifts for stairs are still too expensive, think about alternatives. A strong handrail could be just as reliable with installation costs under $200. An inclined platform is also a reliable alternative. It depends on the needs of the person who needs it.

Medicare Stairlift Coverage: The Bottom Line

An original Medicare plan won’t cover stairlift costs. However, you could receive help from a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicaid, and the VA. If you’re not eligible for either program, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for a stairlift, or you’ll need to get a loan to pay for a stairlift.

And it may be just as difficult to get the best insurance companies to get on board with installing a new stairlift.

Use our free online quote tool by entering your ZIP code below and compare health insurance companies that could help you with chair lifts for stairs.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

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