Medicare Lift Chair - What's Covered, What's Not
Lift chairs can make life a lot easier for those who experience difficulty with leg strength or body balance issues that make sitting down and standing up a challenge. A lift chair looks like a traditional recliner chair, but is equipped with unique mechanical components that allow the chair to rise and tilt slightly forward so that the person using it can literally lean back into the chair without having to actually lower their body into a sitting position.
Such chairs are operated through a hand-held control that connects from the base of the chair with a telephone-cord like attachment for easy use. The remote control for the chair is equipped with several buttons, so the person using the chair can raise it up or lower it to the desired height. Functionality offers one-handed use.
Before purchasing a lift chair, determine how much Medicare will help pay for. The first thing to look at when comparison shopping for a lift chair is a lifting mechanism that offers a steady, smooth ride when going up or down. So, the recliner must be equipped with an electrical lifting mechanical system.
Medicare will only pay for models with such a system. Older or used versions of some lift chairs utilized a spring lifting system, but is not as safe and will not be covered as a Medicare lift chair, so always ask about the lifting mechanism.
An approved medicare lift chair model may average around $450 but may go as high as $1,700, depending on the model chair you purchase. Costs will depend on the functions available in the chair.
Some lift chairs only offer semi-recline, while others can recline fully flat, while still others can change or shift angles to promote better circulation.
Most chairs come with at least two positions, but other models offer three, while still others offer an unlimited number of positions and accommodate a number of needs. Such chairs are at the high end of the price spectrum.
Some medicare lift chair models come equipped with dual motors that enable independent movement of the footrest from the back of the chair, while others elevate the feet and hips above heart level for those with poor peripheral circulation. Most chairs have at least a 375-lb. weight capacity, while others may accommodate up to 700 pounds.
When looking for lift chairs, ask the sales person which models are approved by Medicare. For example, Golden Technologies' Comforter PR-505 with MaxiComfort and the Relaxer PR-756 Maxi-Comfort models are Medicare eligible, as is the Pride Specialty LC-770 Infinite Position models.
Medicare may cover around $275 to $300 of the cost of a lift chair as long as it is equipped with an electric lift mechanism. This is because, according to Medicare, only the seat lift mechanism portion of the chair can be considered a medically necessary item. Be advised that other criteria and regulations must be met, which may include but are not limited to:
Lift chairs can be expensive, but they also make it a lot easier for seniors to transfer from wheelchair to recliner. If your parent has difficulty standing or walking without fear of falling, a lift chair may prove invaluable. While Medicare doesn't cover the cost of the entire chair, they will pay for the lifting seat mechanism portion, which may help offset costs for the senior or family members.
EDITOR'S NOTE - It is strongly recommended that you visit Medicare.gov or call Medicare to ensure you are aware of what is covered and what is not covered before making any financial decisions.