stair lifts and medicare

Stair Lifts and Medicare

Nathan Colburn Information

A question that always comes up in every stair lift conversation is, “Does Medicare pay for a stair lift?” Unfortunately the short answer is no, Medicare does not cover anything installed into a home.

The long answer to that question is somewhat more involved though equally definitive. Essentially Medicare doesn’t cover anything that attaches to your house, including a stair lift. For example Medicare may cover the cost of a wheelchair or scooter but they will not cover the cost of a ramp to get it in and out of the house. Another example is that Medicare may cover the cost of a hospital bed but they won’t cover the cost of a grab bar in the shower. Essentially if it attaches to the house then Medicare considers it a home improvement. And consequently, because Medicare does not pay for a stair lift neither does Medicare supplemental insurance. A Medicare supplement follows the Medicare mandate and definitions.

Though not funded by Medicare stair lifts can often be funded by other public funding entities including the Veteran Administration (VA), Medicaid, Long Term Care Insurance, and some grant program. Both of these programs require an evaluation of the participant, either by a VA doctor or an occupational therapist assigned by a Medicaid case manager. There can be many steps to this process with either organization so if one is going to pursue this type of funding it is better to start the process well before the need becomes urgent.

The good news Is that even though Medicare does not pay for stair lifts, they can be relatively inexpensive.   When compared to the cost associated with hospitalization after to a fall or having to sell a house and move, a stair lift can be downright inexpensive indeed.  Every week, we happily surprise home owners when they find out how affordable a stair lift is.  We will help you discover the best model for you and your home, and we do help with advocating for funding when it is available.