Does Medicare Cover Stairlifts?

What is Medicare?


Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program in the United States that provides coverage to people who are aged 65 and above, younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease, a life-threatening condition that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. Established in 1966, Medicare has become an essential program that serves over 60 million Americans each year.

Medicare consists of four parts that cover different types of healthcare services:

  1. Part A: Hospital Insurance
  2. Part B: Medical Insurance
  3. Part C: Medicare Advantage
  4. Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage

Part A covers inpatient hospital care, nursing home care, hospice care, and home healthcare. Part B covers outpatient care, preventive services, medical equipment, and medical supplies. Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is an all-in-one alternative to Parts A and B offered by private insurance companies. Part D covers prescription drugs.

Although Medicare covers a wide range of healthcare services, there are still some medical equipment and services that it does not cover. One of them is stairlifts.

Stairlifts are mechanized chairs that move along a track attached to a staircase, allowing people with mobility or balance issues to safely travel up and down the stairs. They are particularly helpful for seniors who have difficulty climbing stairs and are at risk of falling. However, despite their benefits, Medicare does not cover the cost of stairlifts.

There are some situations where Medicare may provide a partial coverage for stairlifts, but they are rare. For example, if a person has suffered an injury or a surgery that has resulted in a temporary disability that makes it difficult for them to use the stairs, Medicare may cover the cost of a stairlift as a form of durable medical equipment under Part B. However, this is only possible if the person has a doctor’s prescription and if the stairlift is deemed medically necessary.

Another option for seniors who need stairlifts but cannot afford them is to look for financial assistance programs, such as government grants, local charities, and non-profit organizations. These programs may provide funding or low-interest loans to help seniors pay for the cost of stairlifts or other home modifications that improve accessibility and safety.

In conclusion, Medicare is a valuable healthcare program for seniors and people with disabilities, but it does not cover the cost of stairlifts. Seniors who need stairlifts should explore other financial options to make sure they can safely access all areas of their homes.

Are Stairlifts Covered by Medicare?


Stairlifts provide a safe and reliable way for seniors and individuals with mobility issues to access different levels of their home without the risk of injury from falling or tripping. Unfortunately, many people who could greatly benefit from a stairlift do not pursue purchasing one for financial reasons. This, however, leads to the question of whether Medicare covers the cost of stairlifts.

How Does Medicare Cover Stairlifts?


Medicare does not cover stairlifts as durable medical equipment. In general, Medicare only covers durable medical equipment that doctors prescribe for use in the home, including items such as walkers, crutches, hospital beds, and oxygen equipment. In other words, Medicare’s coverage is limited to medical equipment that helps individuals fulfill their basic medical needs.

However, just because Medicare does not cover stairlifts as durable medical equipment does not mean that there aren’t other avenues for obtaining financial assistance for stairlifts. Private insurance and Medicaid may provide assistance for the purchase of a stairlift depending on the individual insurance company’s policies.

In some cases, individuals may also be able to claim the cost of a stairlift as a tax deductible medical expense. The IRS allows taxpayers to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of a person’s adjusted gross income, and the cost of a stairlift may qualify for this tax deduction. Though this is not immediate financial assistance, it is still an avenue for making the purchase of a stairlift more affordable.

In addition, there are also non-profit organizations and government grants that may provide financial assistance to help individuals purchase a stairlift. The U.S Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development has a program that provides loans and grants for home repairs and modifications, including stairlifts, for elderly individuals with low incomes living in rural areas.

Furthermore, there are many stairlift manufacturers that offer financing options to help individuals make the purchase of a stairlift more manageable. These financing options typically involve in-house financing or partnerships with third-party financing providers. The specifics of these financing options vary depending on the manufacturer and may be subject to credit approval.

Ultimately, if you or a loved one is in need of a stairlift, it is crucial to reach out to your doctor and insurance provider to discuss your options. While Medicare may not cover the cost of a stairlift, there may be other financial assistance options available. Additionally, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits of a stairlift, including the increased safety and independence it can provide, when weighing the financial decision.

Medicare Advantage Plans and Stairlift Coverage

Medicare Advantage Plans and Stairlift Coverage

Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, are a type of Medicare health plan offered by private insurance companies that contract with Medicare to provide beneficiaries with all their Part A and B benefits. Unlike original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans usually cover additional services – such as dental, vision, and hearing services, as well as prescription drug coverage. However, in terms of coverage for stairlifts, the rules are somewhat complicated.

Firstly, it’s important to note that not all Medicare Advantage plans offer coverage for stairlifts. The specific plan offered in your state and/or county will have its own list of covered services, and stairlifts might not be one of them.

Secondly, even if your Medicare Advantage plan covers stairlifts, there may be certain conditions that must be met before you can get coverage. These conditions may include:

  • The stairlift must be considered medically necessary: This means that you must have a health condition that makes it difficult or impossible for you to climb stairs without assistance. Your doctor will need to provide evidence of this, and your Medicare Advantage plan will need to agree that a stairlift is the best solution for your situation.
  • The stairlift must meet certain safety standards: Specifically, it must be approved by Medicare as durable medical equipment (DME). This means that the stairlift must be able to withstand repeated use, and must be primarily used for medical purposes.
  • You must pay the Medicare Advantage plan’s share of the cost: Even if your plan covers stairlifts, you may still need to pay a deductible, coinsurance, or copayment. The amount you pay will depend on your specific plan and the terms of your contract.

If you meet all of these conditions and your Medicare Advantage plan covers stairlifts, you can start the process of getting coverage. This will typically involve getting a prescription from your doctor, finding a supplier that is approved by Medicare, and working with the supplier to choose the right stairlift for your needs.

It’s important to remember that Medicare Advantage plans are regulated by the federal government and must follow certain rules. However, these rules can be complex, so it’s always a good idea to read your plan’s coverage documents carefully and ask questions if you’re unsure about what’s covered.

In conclusion, Medicare Advantage plans may cover stairlifts in certain situations – but coverage is not guaranteed, and there may be conditions that must be met before you can qualify. If you’re considering a stairlift and you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to research your plan’s coverage carefully and talk to your doctor about whether a stairlift is the best solution for your needs.

Alternatives to Medicare for stairlift coverage

Alternatives to Medicare for stairlift coverage

While Medicare usually does not cover the cost of stairlifts, there are still several alternatives available for people who need financial assistance in acquiring these mobility aids. Here are some of them:



Medicaid is a state-run program that provides financial assistance to people with limited income and resources. Depending on the state, Medicaid may cover the cost of stairlifts as part of their home modification services. However, the eligibility requirements and coverage policies vary among states, so it is best to check with your local Medicaid office for more information.

Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits

Veterans Affairs

Veterans Affairs provides financial assistance to eligible veterans for home modifications, including the installation of stairlifts. To qualify for VA benefits, the veteran must have a service-connected disability that limits their ability to climb stairs. The Veterans Benefits Administration can determine whether a veteran is eligible for these benefits.

Non-profit Organizations

Non-profit Organizations

There are various non-profit organizations that offer financial assistance for people who need stairlifts but don’t have the means to afford them. These organizations usually have specific eligibility criteria, so it is best to check with them directly.

Private Insurance

Private Insurance

Some private insurance policies cover the cost of medical equipment, including stairlifts. However, the coverage and eligibility requirements vary among providers and policies. It is best to contact your insurance provider to find out if your policy covers stairlifts and what the specific requirements are.

Tax Deductions

Tax Deductions

While stairlifts themselves are not tax-deductible, the cost of installation may be deductible as a medical expense. To qualify, the stairlift must be prescribed by a doctor and must be necessary to alleviate a medical condition. The amount of the deduction will depend on the taxpayer’s income and medical expenses.

In conclusion, while Medicare may not cover the cost of stairlifts, there are still alternative options available for people who need financial assistance. The best option will depend on the individual’s circumstances, so it is important to carefully research and consider all available options.

Tips for navigating stairlift coverage options and resources


Stairlifts are an essential device for older adults or people who have difficulty climbing stairs due to an injury or disability. These devices provide a safe and easy method to navigate two or more levels of a home, condominium, or other building. However, Medicare coverage for stairlifts is limited, and not all stairlifts are included under the program.

Before deciding on a stairlift, you should be aware that Medicare only covers equipment that has been deemed medically necessary and is provided by a licensed medical professional. Stairlifts, in particular, are classified as home accessibility modifications and therefore are not typically covered under Medicare Part B. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer a limited amount of coverage.

If you are looking into getting a stairlift and have Medicare or Medicare Advantage, there may be some options available to you. Here are some tips for navigating stairlift coverage options and resources:

Talk to your doctor


Your doctor can provide you with a prescription for a stairlift if they determine that it is a medical necessity. This prescription will help you qualify for Medicare coverage under certain circumstances. It is important to note, however, that not all doctors are knowledgeable about stairlifts and may not know that they are not covered under Medicare Part B.

If your doctor is unsure or doesn’t have any knowledge of stairlifts, you can also consult with a physical therapist or an occupational therapist who may be able to give you a better understanding of why a stairlift is necessary for your health and wellbeing.

Research Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage

As mentioned earlier, some Medicare Advantage plans may provide limited coverage for home accessibility modifications such as stairlifts. If you are thinking of getting a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure to research the coverage details and fine print. It is important to note that Medicare Advantage plans may have limitations, restrictions or exclusions that differ from Original Medicare, so take time to compare your options.

When reviewing these plans, be sure to ask about the equipment they cover and whether they require pre-authorization or prior approval. Understanding what steps you need to take before buying a stairlift can save you time and money in the long run.

Look into state-based resources

state-based resources

Depending on where you live, there may be state-based resources available to help cover the cost of a stairlift. For example, some states have programs that provide financial assistance to seniors and people with disabilities to modify their homes for greater accessibility and safety.

These programs may have eligibility requirements, so it’s essential to understand them first. If you consider this option, contact your state’s Medicaid agency or Department of Aging for more information.

Research Non-Profit Organizations

Non-Profit Organizations

There are various non-profit organizations that may help you with the costs of a stairlift, especially if it is going to improve your wellbeing and health. Some of these organizations offer grants or low-interest loans to people who want to make home modifications.

Some of the non-profit organizations that aid in home accessibility modifications include Medicare Rights Center, Rebuilding Together, National Council on Aging, and Hometown Health. Reach out to these organizations to see if you qualify for the financial assistance they provide.

Consider purchasing a refurbished or used model

Refurbished or used stairlifts

Purchasing a brand-new stairlift can be rather expensive, but you could save significantly by opting for a refurbished or used model. Reputable companies that specialize in selling stairlifts often refurbish and sell used models at a discount.

However, it is crucial to note that purchasing a used or refurbished stairlift may come with potential risks and challenges, such as wear and tear, warranty issues, and the need for servicing and maintenance. Therefore, consider this option carefully.

Ultimately, it is essential to consider a stairlift that meets your needs, budget, and coverage. Before making any decisions, research the various options available, consult with your healthcare provider, and find trusted and reliable sources of information.

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