The sole intention of medicare, when it was created decades ago, was to help the aging seniors (65 & above) to meet their hospital expenses. It is not a hidden fact that health costs take away the major chunk of savings for the old aged population. In the last thirty years or so, laws regarding medicare benefits entitlement have gone through series of transformations, in an attempt to help senior citizens in the US, in a more profound way. The domain and range of benefits offered by the federally sponsored medicare plans is extensive and is beyond the scope of this article to discuss. Therefore, in this article we will specifically deal with the sole question – does medicare cover stair lifts prices?
A stair lift is a remarkable mechanical device that has the ability to lift people when sitting on wheelchairs up and downstairs. On wide stairs, rail platforms are first installed and the chair slides along the platform to reach its destination. It can be visualized as a train on a platform going on an inclined gradient! Today’s stair lifts have evolved in safety and speed and it is certainly an interesting and useful equipment. In the older aged individuals, arthritis limits mobility to quite a great extent. Stair lifts can be of tremendous value to people struggling to stand on their feet to walk up and down the stairs.
People who want to install stair lifts often belong to older age category. In case, someone in your family is unable to walk due to disability, or problems like polio and uses wheelchair, getting a stair lift installed would be a good option. For older people, pricing of stair lifts is a concern. On an average, the cost of an average stair lift equals nearly US$5000, depending on brands. Considering the installation and labor charges, you can expect the prices of stair lifts to be between US$12000-US$15000. Since this is a reasonable amount of money, older aged individuals would definitely want to know if stair lifts are covered under their medicare policies.
Stair Lifts and the Medicare
To cut a long story short, stair lifts are NOT covered under medicare policies. The reason being that stair lifts are considered to impart artistic value to the home and they are deemed to be home modifications that medicare doesn’t cover. So what does medicare pay for? As per the official US government site for medicare, the Medicare Part B pays for medical equipment categorized under durable medical equipment. Following equipment are covered under Part B medicare but it is necessary to obtain written permission from the medical practitioner such as a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or clinical nurse specialist from whom you are receiving treatment.
? Price of braces for arms, legs, back and neck
? Costs incurred for using ostomy bags, surgical dressings, splints and casts
? Breast prostheses
? Optic requirements after cataract surgery
In some special cases, medicare does provide minimal financial help for covering costs of stair lifts. Yes, if you are able to produce a certificate of medical necessity, medicare will help you in managing some of your stair lifts prices, though it may be just few hundred dollars. What exactly is a certificate of medical necessity? Well, it is a certificate awarded to the patient by the medical practitioner in case the patient finds it extremely difficult to get out of wheelchairs in his home. Before awarding the certificate, the medical practitioner examines the physical health of the patient properly, produces a detailed report of the problems concerning the patient and only then the certificate is awarded. If a patient is able to get this certificate, it will be possible for him or her to save at least US$200 to US$300. Though it is a very less amount, it certainly helps in saving some money.
Even long term care health facility is counted as a home treatment in medicare plan. It is essential to note the fact that the hospital you are staying and is treating you under medicare plans doesn’t qualify as your home. So from the discussion in the above paragraphs, we answered your question, does medicare cover stair lifts costs. You can call on 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for more information regarding what medical equipment your medicare plan includes. You can also visit the official website of US government for medicare for updated information.