Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?
Lift chairs may be partially covered by Medicare if you meet certain requirements. If your doctor believes you might benefit from lift chairs at home, here’s what you need to know about how Medicare pays for these devices.
What are lift chairs?
Lift chairs have a motorized lift device that raises and lowers the seat of the chair to help you move from a sitting to a standing position more easily.
A lift chair is not the same as a stair lift chair, which moves up and down a staircase. It also differs from a patient lift, which helps caregivers move a patient from bed to chair.
How does Medicare cover lift chairs?
Medicare may treat lift chairs as durable medical equipment, or DME. To qualify for Medicare coverage, DME must be used in your home, have an expected lifespan of at least three years, and not generally be useful to someone who isn’t sick or injured.
Depending on the supplier and the type of durable medical equipment you need, you may either rent or buy the equipment. In some cases, if you own covered DME, Medicare may also pay a portion of the costs to repair the item and any necessary replacement parts used in the repair and maintenance process.
Before Medicare will pay for the motorized part of a lift chair under DME guidelines, your provider may have to fill out a certificate of medical necessity. You may have to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- You must have severe arthritis of the hip or knee, or suffer from muscular dystrophy or other qualifying neuromuscular disease.
- Your doctor must state that the chair is medically necessary to improve your condition or keep it from worsening, and he must include it as part of your written treatment plan.
- Your doctor must state that you are completely incapable of standing if you did not have the lift chair.
- You must be able to control the device yourself, and use it to stand or sit without other assistance.
If you qualify, lift chairs Medicare coverage is typically 80% of the allowable charges for the motorized lift portion of the chair only, even if the lift device is built into the chair itself. You generally pay 20% of allowable charges, plus any outstanding Part B deductible.
How do I find approved lift chairs Medicare suppliers?
Medicare has specific rules about coverage for lift chairs and other durable medical equipment. First, both the doctor who prescribes the equipment and the supplier who provides it must be enrolled in Medicare. Your doctor or other health care provider should be able to give you a list of approved suppliers in your area, or you can use the supplier locator tool on the Medicare website.
Depending on where you live, lift chairs and other devices may be under the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program. This is a cost-saving program that helps Medicare enrollees get the lowest prices on their covered devices. If you live in an area where the Competitive Bidding Program is in place, you can only get your lift chair from an approved supplier, even if there are other suppliers in the area that accept Medicare assignment.
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