Will Medicare Pay for a Stair Lift?
It seems like stair lifts should be paid for because given Medicare pays for wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and canes. Stair lifts are becoming a popular in-home mobility assistance device with a quickly aging baby boomer generation. Let’s take it one step at a time, including a review of stair lift coverage options with Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans as well.
Stair Lifts Are Becoming Popular with Retirees and Seniors?
Falling down causes over 34,000 deaths every year for people over the aged over 65 years. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, nearly 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 and older by 2030. Over 10 million Americans are reported to have difficulty in walking or climbing stairs, and depend upon mobility aids such as stair lifts, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, or scooters to independently move within their home. Stairways and steps are reported to be the most common challenge for 1 in 4 seniors. The baby boober generation is getting older and the need for in-home devices that improve mobility and independent living is driving a rise in demand for stair lifts.
Homes Are Not Properly Constructed for Elderly People
The US Census reports that only 10% of United States’ 115 million housing units are able to accommodate the mobility and independent living needs of seniors.
Pandemic Related Increase in Stair Lift Demand
COVID-19 related impacts and fears associated with senior care facilities and nursing home deaths are creating a growing preference for aging-in-place. As a result, retirees are actively seeking stair lifts for homes to manage mobility issues. Additionally, stair lift systems are in demand with people suffering from musculoskeletal disorders like osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, as well as other health conditions that impair safe physical movement and an independent quality of life.
Age-in-Place (definition): A preference for individuals who resolve to remain in their home of choice as long as possible regardless of age, income, or ability level.
Stair lift manufacturers like Acorn Stair Lifts, Bruno Stair Lifts, Stannah Stair Lifts and Handicare Stair Lifts continue to introduce improvements to stair lift technologies which make the device easier and more affordable for different types of stair case systems.
What Do Stair Lift Costs Without Medicare Payment Assistance?
The average cost of a stair lift is ranges between $5,000 and $10,000 (including installation). However, the price can vary depending on the type of stair lift, the installation, and other factors. Is it worth the investment? That depends on your mobility needs and design preferences.
Outdoor stair lifts are generally more expensive than indoor stair lifts because they require aluminum, stainless steel, or galvanized steel stair lift parts to withstand the elements of rain, heat and other weather related wear.
According to Lifeway Mobility, stair lift prices range according to the model and type:
– Straight Stair Lift Pricing: $2,200-$8,000 (new or used).
– Curved Stair Lift Pricing: $10,000+
– Certified Pre-Owned Stair Lifts: $2,200-$3,000+ installed.
Will Medicare Pay for a Stair Lift?
No, Medicare does not generally cover the cost of a stair lift or the installation of a stair lift. Medicare (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) classifies stair lifts as a “home modification”, not a Medicare defined medically necessary Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers medically necessary (as approved by a Medicare-approved doctor) durable medical equipment supplies for in-home usage.
None of the largest Medicare insurance companies cover stair lifts. This includes UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield, CVS Health, Kaiser Permanente, Centene, Cigna, and GuidWell.
Mobility aids that are covered by Medicare as a DME include: Canes; Commode chairs (toilet chair); Crutches; Patient lifts and slings; Walkers; Wheelchairs; and Scooters.
Stair lifts are ‘essential’ to an independent retirement to many people. The absence of stairlifts in Medicare’s DME list is frustrating to people on Medicare who are disabled as well as aging seniors who are updating their home for long-term independent living.
There’s a need for awareness and lobbying of CMS by retirement associations to make change. Stair lifts are not a luxury to the average person on Medicare. These people have paid into Social Security for years, and rely on stair lifts to safely navigate stairs, and still, Medicare will not pay for stair lifts and does not provide financial assistance for stair lifts.
Original Medicare excludes stair lifts because physical therapy services are already included in Original Medicare benefits and stair lifts may be seen as duplicative or unnecessary.
Will Medicaid Pay for a Stair Lift?
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid will cover stair lifts in some case for qualified Medicaid recipients through Home & Community Based Services or HCBS Waivers. Medicaid is a healthcare program that provides coverage for individuals with limited financial resources. Medicaid coverage of stair lifts may vary state by state, and generally requires approval from a Medicaid-contracted doctor to confirm the recipient’s need as “medically necessary”.
Medicaid and Stair Lifts
People who are considering a stair lift privately should check out their local Medicaid office to find out if they qualify for a discount on the cost of stair lifts or stair lift installations services. Overall, while Medicaid eligibility requirements continue to evolve and varies state by state.
Variables affecting Medicaid eligibility and the necessary qualifications for a waiver program to pay for a stair lift varies by state. In some states there are specific qualifications based on household income relative to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Some states require the waiver seeking applicant to be disabled in order to qualify for a stair lift. Additionally, there are qualifying conditions related to “Level of Care” which involves the living situations where the waiver applicant is disabled, and is deemed to be “Nursing Home Eligible” with no support within the home from family members. State Medicaid Plans and Waivers.
Will Medicare Advantage (Part C) Plans Pay for Stair Lifts?
Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extensive medical coverage certain durable medical equipment like stair lifts. Before enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, it is important to review the extra benefits provided by the plan, including any limitations on coverage.
Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover stair lift installation costs, while others Medicare Advantage plans only cover a portion of these costs. Ultimately, it is up to each person on Medicare to evaluate their own healthcare needs and budget to choose a suitable Part C plan accordingly.
However, with careful research and consideration, Medicare Advantage plans can be an ideal way to help cover the cost of stair lift devices and other important medical supplies and treatments.
Certain types of stair lifts may be eligible for coverage under Medicare Part B if they are deemed medically necessary by your doctor. For example, if you have limited mobility and need a stairlift to safely get around your house, then Medicare may cover the cost of installing or renting one.
Which Mobility Devices are Included in Medicare’s List of Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?
When it comes to Medicare’s DME list, many different mobility assistance aides may be covered by the program. Some of the most common types of Medicare covered medical devices include things like walkers, lift chairs, wheelchairs, hospital beds, and oxygen tanks. These items are essential for people with certain disabilities or chronic health conditions, helping them to maintain their mobility and stay as healthy as possible.
In addition to these basic items, Medicare may also cover other types of medical equipment such as prostheses, specialized walkers, and medical supplies that are consumed at a rapid rate. Whether you are seeking coverage for yourself or a loved one, it is important to know what precisely is included in the Medicare DME program to get the best possible care.
“I Should Have Done This a Long Time Ago!” Benefits of Having a Stair Lift
There are a myriad of physical, mental, and logistical benefits that come from having a stair lift, including:
- Stair lifts provide seniors and disabled people with a healthy sense of independence, and remain active with improved mobility.
- Stair lifts mitigate the risk of dangerous falls and emergency room Medicare claims.
- Stair lifts reduce physical impacts and joint and muscle pain associated with climbing stairs.
- Stair lifts are not always permanent. They can be removed easily with minimal damage to the home.
- Stair lifts can be customize for comfort for people of all sizes, mobility, and healthcare needs.
- Stair lifts aren’t designed to replace a stair case; they complement stair case design.
Stair Lift Basics for Medicare Beneficiaries
A stair lift, also known as a chair lift or vertical platform lift, is a specialized type of home elevator designed to help disabled and elderly people with limited mobility make it up and down the stairs — in their own homes. A quality stair can be customized, but they’re typically a simple assembly of a rail system attached to both sides of the stairs, an electric motor, and a seating platform. Depending on the manufacturer and level of investment, stair lifts generally support 300 to 400 pounds and have different options for seating and footrest size and quality. Stair lifts move been 0.1 and 0.4 miles per hour and are engineered for safety and durability. Stair lifts are an effective solution for people looking to improve accessibility in their homes. Depending on where you live, stair lifts can even be leased.
Will the Veterans Affairs Cover a Stair Lift?
For low-income seniors who have military service-related disabilities, getting a stair lift can be quite challenging. Many seniors rely on the VA health care system to help them access the resources they need, but unfortunately, there are often long wait times and complicated application processes. This makes it difficult for many seniors to access the essential medical equipment they need to remain mobile and independent.
Military service members and veterans can get the assistive equipment that they need through VA health care. Those who qualify for VA benefits should be able to get a stair lift at little or no cost. Veterans Affairs has dedicated counselors who can help veterans navigate the complex VA system and ensure that their needs are met.
How Do You Get Financial Assistance for Stair Lifts from Your State?
There are several state assistive technology programs provide financial assistance for senior citizens who need a stair lift or other mobility assistance devices. These programs consider several different factors in awarding funding, including income level, insurance coverage status, and medical history.
In addition to providing funding assistance, many of these programs also offer comprehensive guidance on choosing the right type of device and connecting with local resources that can help with installation and maintenance. By taking advantage of these valuable resources, seniors can enjoy the benefits of stair lifts without having to worry about the expense.
A Comparison of the Various Types of Stair Lifts Currently Available on the Market
A stair lift is a mechanical device that is installed on stairs to assist people in safely and easily navigating them. There are many different types and models of stair lifts available on the market, each with its unique features and benefits, consider the following types of stair lifts:
- Straight Stair Lift: This type of lift is ideal for use in homes with straight staircases, and level stairs. Straight stair lifts typically have a seat that swivels to allow the user to get on and off the lift easily, and they also usually have a footrest to provide added comfort.
- Curved Stair Lift: Curved stairlifts are designed for use on stairs that have curved staircases or turn in them. These lifts typically have a seat that swivels to allow the user to get on and off the lift easily, and they also usually have a footrest to provide added comfort.
- Platform Stair Lift: Platform stair lifts are designed for use on stairs that have a landing or platform at the top or bottom of the stairs. These lifts typically have a seat that swivels to allow the user to get on and off the lift easily, and they also usually have a footrest to provide added comfort.
- Stair Climber Stair Lift: Climb stairs lifts are designed for use on stairs that have a series of steps or landings. These lifts typically have a seat that swivels to allow the user to get on and off the lift easily, and they also usually have a footrest to provide added comfort.
No matter which type of stair lift you choose, it is important to make sure that you select one that is designed for use on the type of stairs in your home. You should also make sure that the stair lift you select is certified by reputable stair lift manufacturers such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or the Underwriters Laboratories.
When you are ready to purchase a stair lift, you can find a variety of vendors online. You can also visit your local home improvement store or contact a professional stair lift installer to have the stair lift installed in your home.
How Do I Get a Stair Lift Installed in My Home?
Installing a stair lift in your home can be a great way to improve your mobility and independence. Stair lifts can be installed by a professional contractor, or you may be able to do it yourself if you have some basic carpentry skills.
Here are some steps you can follow to properly get a stair lift installed in your home:
- Choose the right location. The first step is to choose the best location for your stair lift. You’ll need to measure the staircase to make sure there’s enough space for the stair lift track, and you’ll also need to make sure that the track is level.
- Mark the holes. Once you’ve chosen the location, you’ll need to mark the holes for the brackets that will support the stair lift track. Use a level to make sure the holes are evenly spaced and at the same height.
- Drill the holes. Use a drill to create pilot holes for the screws that will secure the brackets. Be careful not to drill too deeply, as you don’t want to damage the staircase.
- Attach the brackets. Use screws to secure the brackets in place. Again, be careful not to over-tighten the screws, as this could damage the staircase.
- Install the track. The next step is to install the track for the stair lift. You’ll need to attach it to the brackets, and then secure it in place with screws.
- Install the stair lift. Finally, you’ll need to install the stair lift itself. This process will vary depending on the model of stair lift you choose, but most lifts come with easy-to-follow instructions.
With these tips, you can easily install a stair lift in your home and improve your mobility.
Is There an Alternative to a Stair Lift?
When it comes to navigating a flight of stairs, many people rely on the help of a stair lift. Stair lifts are essentially motorized platforms that carry an individual from one floor to another, making it easier for individuals with limited mobility to get around.
While these lifts can provide many benefits for those who use them, there is unfortunately no perfect solution when it comes to stairways. This is because stair lifts have certain limitations and can often require significant time and effort to install. As such, many people are now exploring alternative solutions that could be more accessible and efficient. Some potential options include:
- Adjustable ramps
- Retractable ladders
- Spiral staircases
Ultimately, while there is no single best choice for navigating a staircase, there are certainly plenty of viable alternatives to consider.