Does Medicare pay for stair lifts?
The short answer is “No,” but that’s also not a very helpful answer. And we want to be helpful.
That’s why we want to use this blog post to explore some of the ways you can pay for a stair lift.
Why doesn’t Medicare pay for stair lifts?
Medicare pays for what it calls “durable medical equipment” and not “home modifications,” and under their guidelines, a stair lift is the latter, not the former.
So, who can help pay for a new stair lift?
While the answer to the question “Does Medicare pay for stair lifts?” might be “No,” Medicaid is a different story.
Medicaid’s rules differ depending on your state, but the program will typically help fund stair lifts if they will allow you or your loved one to stay at home and avoid moving to a long-term care facility.
Applying for funding involves filling out a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver, which cover the cost of home modifications. This program is open to Medicaid recipients in many states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
There’s also a Medicaid program called Money Follows the Person, which allows people living in nursing homes to move in with family members. On occasion, this program will pay for home modifications such as stairlifts.
Money Follows the Person is available in most states, except for Alaska, Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
Beyond Medicaid, there are also several state-based programs that can help pay for a stair lift. Click here to see what’s available in your state, and talk to your local Area Agency on Aging for further guidance.
Stair lifts for veterans
If you spent time with the military, the U.S. Veterans Administration (or the VA) can help you pay for a stair lift.
If you or a loved one has a disability stemming from military service, the cost of the stair lift might be covered by VA healthcare. You should talk with your local VA branch to schedule a home visit to get the process started.
If you have a disability that’s unrelated to your time in the military, you still might be eligible for programs such as the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, as well as a collection of state programs known as Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services.
The cost of a stair lift
The cost of installing a stair lift in your home will depend on the model you choose. But there are other factors that can affect the price of your lift, including:
- The length of your staircase – Most stair lifts come with enough track to cover 15 feet. If you have a longer stairway, you’ll need to purchase additional track.
- The shape of the staircase – Installing a stair lift on stairways with curves or multiple landings can add as much as $1,000 to your purchase price.
- The weight of the user – Most stair lifts are built for people weighing 300 lbs. or less. There are specially-designed bariatric lifts for heavier people, but this can add $500 to $1000 to the cost.
- Outside or inside? – If you need a stair lift for outdoor use, plan on spending a few hundred dollars extra for weatherproofing.
- Extra features – You’ll need to spend extra to add features such as footrests, swivels, padding and folding seats or arms.
So, does Medicare pay for stair lifts? No. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have options for purchasing a stair lift.
If you’re ready to install a lift in your home, Pennsylvania Stair Lifts can help. We offer a variety of lift options, as well as stair lift rentals, used stair lift sales, installation and maintenance.
Contact us today to learn how we can make your home more accessible.