Medicare Coverage for Home Modifications

There are very few accessibility items or home modifications that Medicare specifies it will cover. Some items, such as commode chairs, can be covered if they are deemed medically necessary. In those cases, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost, leaving you with 20% after you meet your deductible.

Christian Simmons, writer and researcher for RetireGuide
  • Written by
    Christian Simmons

    Christian Simmons

    Financial Writer

    Christian Simmons is a writer for RetireGuide and a member of the Association for Financial Counseling & Planning Education (AFCPE®). He covers Medicare and important retirement topics. Christian is a former winner of a Florida Society of News Editors journalism contest and has written professionally since 2016.

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    Matt Mauney
    Matt Mauney, Senior Editor for RetireGuide

    Matt Mauney

    Financial Editor

    Matt Mauney is an award-winning journalist, editor, writer and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience working for nationally recognized newspapers and digital brands. He has contributed content for ChicagoTribune.com, LATimes.com, The Hill and the American Cancer Society, and he was part of the Orlando Sentinel digital staff that was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2017.

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  • Published: May 3, 2021
  • Updated: November 1, 2022
  • 3 min read time
  • This page features 10 Cited Research Articles
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APA Simmons, C. (2022, November 1). Medicare Coverage for Home Modifications. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/home-modifications/

MLA Simmons, Christian. "Medicare Coverage for Home Modifications." RetireGuide.com, 1 Nov 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/home-modifications/.

Chicago Simmons, Christian. "Medicare Coverage for Home Modifications." RetireGuide.com. Last modified November 1, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/home-modifications/.

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Home Modification Coverage at a Glance
Medicare PlanHome Modifications Coverage
Part A (Inpatient) N/A
Part B (Outpatient) Covers 80% of specific and limited home modification costs after you have reached your Part B deductible.
Part C (Medicare Advantage) Coverage mirrors Part B. Select plans may offer additional benefits.
Part D (Prescription Drugs) N/A
Supplemental InsuranceCan help cover out-of-pocket costs related to home safety modification. Coverage varies by plan.

What Accessibility Items Does Medicare Cover?

There are few instances when an accessibility item falls under Medicare’s classification of durable medical equipment (DME). Meaning that you will probably have to pay for most other items.

DME is largely focused on equipment that is medically necessary, not convenience or comfort based. This means that items such as grab bars, bathtub seats and stairway elevators are unlikely to be covered.

Since there are many items that simply are not specified by Medicare, there is a chance that exceptions could be made on some equipment under certain conditions and needs.

While the accessibility items that Medicare will help pay for are very limited, commode chairs are covered if you can’t use a normal toilet and the item is deemed medically necessary. Unlike regular toilet seats, commode chairs can be mobile and are designed to help people who are immobilized or injured.

Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of a commode chair, leaving you with 20% after you meet the Part B deductible. The cost itself can vary due to certain circumstances, such as if Medicare requires you to rent instead of purchase it. Your doctor and supplier must be enrolled in Medicare.

Did You Know?
The Medicare Part B deductible for 2023 is $226.
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Does Medicare Cover Modifications to the Home?

Medicare typically does not cover modifications to the home of any kind.

Home modifications can span a wide range of areas, from simple equipment additions to large construction projects. They are usually added to reduce risk of injuries and falls by increasing accessibility.

In most cases, Medicare does not cover:
  • Rails or bars
  • Ramps
  • Stairway elevators or lifts
  • Shower seats
  • Handheld shower heads
  • Tub modifications
  • Widened doorways

Many of these changes can improve or ease your living situation and may even be recommended by a health care provider. But since none of them are typically considered a medical necessity, Medicare will not cover them under DME.

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Alternatives to Paying for Home Modifications

Medicare provides little coverage for home modifications, but there are some alternatives to paying for these updates.

Medicaid is more likely than Medicare to help thanks to home and community-based service waivers. The point of these waivers is to help you get long-term care at home instead of living in a facility, so some home modifications could be covered under this.

In past years, more than half of Medicaid’s long-term care spending has gone toward home and community services. HCBS waivers vary by state.

Modifications to your home can also be covered under a Medicare Advantage plan, which is an alternative to Original Medicare provided by private insurance companies.

Medicare Advantage also provides — at minimum — the same level of coverage as Medicare Part A and Part B.

Last Modified: November 1, 2022

10 Cited Research Articles

  1. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022, September 27). 2023 Medicare Parts A & B Premiums and Deductibles 2023 Medicare Part D Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2023-medicare-parts-b-premiums-and-deductibles-2023-medicare-part-d-income-related-monthly
  2. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2022, March). Get Help With Your Medicare Costs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10126-Getting-Help-With-Your-Medicare-Costs.pdf
  3. U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020, August). Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment & Other Devices. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11045-Medicare-Coverage-of-DME.PDF
  4. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2019, March 6). 10 things to Know about Medicaid: Setting the Facts Straight. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/10-things-to-know-about-medicaid-setting-the-facts-straight/
  5. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Commode Chairs. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/commode-chairs
  6. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Coverage. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/durable-medical-equipment-dme-coverage
  7. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2021, January). Your Medicare Benefits. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/10116-Your-Medicare-Benefits.pdf
  8. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Home & Community Based Services. Retrieved from https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/home-community-based-services/index.html
  9. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Home & Community-Based Services 1915(c). Retrieved from https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/home-community-based-services/home-community-based-services-authorities/home-community-based-services-1915c/index.html
  10. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (n.d.). Older Adult Homes Modification Program. Retrieved from https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/spm/gmomgmt/grantsinfo/fundingopps/oahmp