Are Stair Lifts Covered by Medicare?
It is a question we are often asked – Are stair lifts covered by Medicare? Unfortunately, the short answer is no. Stair lifts are not covered by Medicare because Medicare identifies a stair lift as a home modification rather than Durable Medical Equipment (DME).
However there are a few instances where some form of Medicare may cover the cost of a stair lift, such as through select Medicare Advantage plans. Additionally, there are other ways to reduce or cover the cost of a stair lift. Below is a detailed description of what Medicare covers and how to reduce the cost of installing a stair lift in your home.
Which plans cover stair lifts?
Medicare is the federal health insurance program covering individuals over the age of 65 and younger individuals with disabilities. Original Medicare consists of Part A and Part B coverage. Part A covers multiple types of care, including inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing, nursing home, hospice, and home health care. Part A does not offer any type of stair lift coverage.
Part B is typically where many think a stair lift may be covered. While Part B does cover various types of equipment, coverage is limited to what Medicare outlines as Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Wheelchairs, hospital beds, oxygen, infusion and monitoring equipment are all examples of DME. Medicare does not consider a stair lift to be Durable Medical Equipment. This is because a stair lift attaches to the treads of the steps. Therefore, Medicare identifies a stair lift as a Home Modification. Medicare does not cover Home Modifications of any type.
Medicare Supplemental Insurance/Medigap
There are a number of supplemental insurances that can be paired with Original Medicare for additional coverage. However, none of the supplemental plans offer any type of coverage for a stair lift. This includes all of the additional Parts: C, D, F, G, K, L, M, and N.
There are a few Medicare Advantage plans that may cover some or all of the cost of a stair lift. Medicare Advantage plans “are offered by Medicare-approved private companies that must follow rules set by Medicare” (Medicare.gov). Medicare advantage plans are required to provide at least the same level of coverage as Original Medicare, and they often include Medicare Part D (drug coverage). However, since Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are issued by private companies, the provider has the ability to offer additional coverage. In some cases a Medicare Advantage plan may pay for part or all of a stair lift. Not every MA plan offers this type of coverage though. MA plans vary from provider to provider and even plan to plan. Because of the inconsistency in coverage across MA plans, the best way to determine if your plan covers a stair lift is to contact your Medicare Advantage provider.
In most states, including Illinois and Missouri, Medicaid can cover part or all of the cost of installing a stair lift in your home. Please visit our page: Are stair lifts covered by Medicaid? for more information.
Long Term Care Insurance
Some long term care policy holders have had luck with their plan covering the cost of a stair lift. If you believe you may be covered, contact your insurance provider.
Less Expensive Alternatives
For individuals who do not have the cost of a stair lift covered by Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicaid, there are other options for lowering the cost of installing a stair lift. We offer stair lifts as new, used, or rental. This allows you to make a decision that fits both your needs and your budget.
If you are unable to find any payment assistance, financing may be a great option. It allows you to break the cost of a stair lift into affordable monthly payments. Learn more about our financing options here.
Stair Lift Policy - Popular Providers
Below are links to some of the major provider’s policies on stair lifts and a description of where on the page they can be found. Just click on the name of the provider to read their policy exactly as written.
AARP – Policy is highlighted
Aetna – Policy is highlighted
Blue Cross Blue Shield – Bottom of page 1, under “Benefits Application”
Cigna – Bottom of page 1, third paragraph of “Coverage Policy”
Humana – Policy not stated
United Healthcare – On page 21, under “Non-covered Items”