For many seniors, cost is the trump factor when making decisions about mobility solutions. Retirees living on a fixed income and saddled with other expensive necessities such as prescription medications or frequent doctor visits may be hesitant to spend money on a lift recliner, even if their medical condition requires a lift chair to be able to sit safely and comfortably. The good news for those seniors – besides the wide range of affordable lift chairs on the market today – is that Medicare will reimburse people with certain medical conditions for a portion of the cost of a liftchair.
Medicare enrollees who receive Part B benefits covering durable medical equipment will only receive reimbursement for the portion of the sale price which reflects the cost of an electric lift mechanism in the chair, which generally tops out around $300.00. Although Medicare Part B covered lift chairs in full in the recent past, that changed in the 1990s due to safety concerns about unreliable manual spring lift recliners. Additionally, an overall increase in liftchair-related claims throughout the 1980s and early 1990s proved to be too expensive for the federal government to continue paying in full. As a result, Medicare reimbursement is only available for electric lift recliners; spring lift chairs are not covered under Medicare Part B.
To receive Medicare Part B reimbursement for your lift chair, you must be diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease or severe arthritis of the hip or knee. A supervising physician must have exhausted all other treatment options, such as physical therapy, to aid you in standing and sitting normally. You must also be unable to stand up or sit down normally in any given chair in your house; merely having difficulties with standing up from or sitting down in a normal chair does not merit Medicare reimbursement. Once standing, you must also be able to walk. Most importantly, the use of a liftchair must be prescribed by a doctor to improve, or slow the deterioration of, your existing medical condition.
To receive Medicare reimbursement, you will need a purchase receipt for the lift chair, a prescription, and a certificate of medical necessity which must be completed and signed by your doctor. Once you have these documents, it is simply a matter of delivering them to your local Medicare office for processing. Lift chair retailers often provide assistance with processing the required paperwork as a courtesy to their customers, so if you need help with filing for reimbursement, ask a lift chair salesperson if they can help you with filing your claim.