Will Medicare Pay For a Lift Chair? Coverage Guide & How To Qualify

Medicare can help pay for a portion of a lift chair under DME (durable medical equipment) coverage if you qualify. Medicare will cover up to 80% of the approved cost of the motor, but you’ll owe any copies, deductibles and additional costs, such as cushions for the chair.

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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    Lamia Chowdhury
    Lamia Chowdhury, editor for RetireGuide.com

    Lamia Chowdhury

    Financial Editor

    Lamia Chowdhury is a financial content editor for RetireGuide and has over three years of marketing experience in the finance industry. She has written copy for both digital and print pieces ranging from blogs, radio scripts and search ads to billboards, brochures, mailers and more.

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  • Published: May 10, 2021
  • Updated: November 22, 2022
  • 5 min read time
  • This page features 5 Cited Research Articles
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APA Simmons, C. (2022, November 22). Will Medicare Pay For a Lift Chair? Coverage Guide & How To Qualify. RetireGuide.com. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/lift-chairs/

MLA Simmons, Christian. "Will Medicare Pay For a Lift Chair? Coverage Guide & How To Qualify." RetireGuide.com, 22 Nov 2022, https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/lift-chairs/.

Chicago Simmons, Christian. "Will Medicare Pay For a Lift Chair? Coverage Guide & How To Qualify." RetireGuide.com. Last modified November 22, 2022. https://www.retireguide.com/medicare/services/durable-medical-equipment/lift-chairs/.

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Overview: Medicare Lift Chair Coverage
Medicare PlanLift Chair Coverage
Part A (Inpatient)N/A
Part B (Outpatient)Covers up to 80% of lift chair mechanisms.
Part C (Medicare Advantage)Generally covers up to 80% of lift chair mechanism costs. Costs vary by plan.
Part D (Prescription Drugs)N/A
Supplemental InsuranceCan help cover out-of-pocket costs related to lift chairs. Coverage varies by plan.

It’s not always easy to decipher Medicare’s coverage requirements. However, there are only a few criteria governing whether you qualify for lift chair coverage or not.

In this article, we’ll break down lift chair Medicare coverage and explore several important questions about cost, eligibility, and other coverage options.

What Is a Lift Chair?

what is a lift chair

Lift chairs are like recliners that help you stand up from a seated position. These chairs use a powered lifting mechanism to push the entire chair up from its base into a more upright, vertical position.

The lifting motion in the chair is often controlled with a handheld remote; pressing the up button will move the chair from reclined to seated to lifted in a vertical position that plants your feet on the ground.

People use lift chairs to assist with standing up and sitting down, aiding conditions like:
  • Joint pain
  • Reduced muscle strength
  • Mobility challenges.

Motorized lift chairs are one of many home modifications that can make it easier for you to age in place as you get older.

Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?

does medicare cover lift chairs

Yes, Medicare coverage includes some lift chair costs. However, Medicare does not cover the entire chair. Medicare Part B covers up to 80% of the motorized lifting mechanism as durable medical equipment (DME).

A doctor must prescribe the lift chair to you for a medical reason, like:
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Balance issues

Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans also generally pay for 80% of lift chair mechanisms. Check with your provider if you have a Medicare Advantage plan to see if your plan covers lift chair mechanisms.

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How To qualify for partial reimbursement from Medicare

how to qualify for lift chair coverage

If you’re wondering how to qualify for partial coverage of the lift mechanism on a lift chair, you’ll need to meet the medical and financial criteria below.

Determine Medical Necessity

Medicare will only cover part of a lift chair if a doctor evaluates you and writes you a prescription for the chair. Your doctor must determine that the power lift chair is medically necessary and that you would likely be confined to a bed or chair without it.

Lift chairs are usually prescribed to assist patients with:
  • Severe arthritis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Other neuromuscular diseases

Your doctor must fill out a certificate of medical necessity for a seat lift mechanism, CMS-849, for you to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. The form contains several questions about your condition to determine your Medicare eligibility.

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File for Reimbursement

If you purchase your lift chair from a Medicare supplier, you’ll typically have to pay out of pocket for the chair and seek partial reimbursement from Medicare for the motor.

If the equipment supplier participates in Medicare, it will usually file a claim on your behalf. If the supplier doesn’t file your claim, you can download and print a request for payment online.

After they process your claim, you’ll be reimbursed for the portion covered by Medicare.

It’s important to note that you must order your lift chair from a medical supplier that participates in Medicare. Otherwise, none of your expenses will qualify for reimbursement.

How Much Will a Lift Chair Cost With Medicare?

How much you pay out-of-pocket for your lift chair depends on the style and accessories you choose.

Medicare will cover 80% of the lift chair’s motorized mechanism if both the doctor and the durable medical equipment provider are enrolled in Medicare.

Lift chair prices can vary widely — from a few hundred to a thousand dollars or more. Your final cost will depend on several factors, including the:

  • Overall size and weight load of the chair
  • Type of fabric and amount of cushion in the seat
  • Positioning of the chair, whether infinite, two-, or three-position

Generally, infinite-position chairs cost more than two-position chairs.

Determining whether your Medicare plan will cover a lift chair can be as easy as speaking with your advisor. However, you might be able to figure out by yourself if the chair will be covered by reviewing the article above.

Lift chairs can be life-changing devices. If you think you might need one, start discussing it with your doctor and your Medicare plan provider.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lift Chairs and Medicare Coverage

Here are a few frequently asked questions to explore Medicare coverage for lift chairs.

FAQs
Are Lift Chairs Covered by Medicaid?
Medicaid may cover your lift chair, but it depends on where you live. Since each state manages a Medicaid program, they decide what’s covered. Some states fully cover lift chairs and others only partially cover them.
Are Recliner Chairs Covered by Medicare?
Recliner chairs are not covered by Medicare. A lift chair is similar to a recliner, and Medicare only covers a portion of the motorized lift for the lift chair, rather than the chair itself.
Does Medicare Cover Sleep Chairs?
Yes, Medicare will cover part of a sleep chair, as long as it’s a motorized lift chair as described in this article above. If so, Medicare will pay for 80%of the approved value of the motor.
Are Chair Lifts Covered by Medicare?
Medicare will not cover chair lifts, including staircase lifts, in most cases because they’re considered home modifications instead of DME (durable medical equipment).
Will Medicare Cover a Transport Chair?
Medicare Part B covers part of the cost of power chairs and scooters as DME.
How Much Does a Lift Chair Cost?
Lift chair prices vary widely based on the manufacturer, material and size of the chair. Average lift chair prices range from $300 to $1,000 and higher.
Can You Convert a Standard Recliner to a Lift Chair?
It might be possible to convert a standard recliner to a lift chair, depending on the type of chair you start with and the motor you acquire. Check with your provider to see if they will cover part of the motorized lift for a lift chair conversion.
Last Modified: November 22, 2022

5 Cited Research Articles

  1. Miller, J. (2022, March 22). Savvy Senior: If You're in Need of a Power Lift Chair, Here's What Medicare Covers. Retrieved from https://www.oklahoman.com/story/lifestyle/2022/03/22/savvy-senior-does-medicare-cover-power-lift-chairs/7042634001/
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Certificate of Medical Necessity DME 07.03A CMS-849 — Seat Lift Mechanisms. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare/cms-forms/cms-forms/downloads/cms849.pdf
  3. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). National Coverage Determination (NCD) for Seat Lift (280.4). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/view/ncd.aspx?NCDId=221
  4. Humana. (n.d.). Does Medicare cover lift chairs? Retrieved from https://www.humana.com/medicare/does-medicare-pay-for-lift-chair
  5. Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Patient lifts. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/patient-lifts