Does Medicare Cover Stair Lifts?

Compare affordable Medicare Plans

Russell Noga
by Russell Noga | Updated January 1st, 2024

Does Medicare Cover Stair Lifts?

Free stair lifts for handicapped For many individuals experiencing mobility limitations, stair lifts can be a life-changing solution, providing increased independence and easier access to different levels of a home.

However, the significant costs associated with stair lifts often lead to the question: “Does Medicare cover stair lifts?”

In this blog post, we’ll explore the reality of Medicare coverage for stair lifts, alternative financial assistance options, and cost-saving strategies to help you make an informed decision.


Key Takeaways

  • Medicare does not cover stair lifts as they are classified as home modifications, but Medicare Advantage plans may provide supplemental benefits.
  • Alternative financial assistance options such as Medicaid programs and veterans’ support can also offer coverage for stair lift costs.
  • Affordable alternatives to traditional stair lifts include handrails, sliding stairs rails, platform lifts and stair blocks.

Medicare and Stair Lifts: The Reality

Despite the undeniable benefits of stair lifts, Medicare does not provide coverage for these devices as they are classified as home modifications rather than Durable Medical Equipment (DME).

Medicare typically covers a variety of DME for medical purposes. These can include:


  • wheelchairs,
  • walkers and mobility scooters.


Such devices must be prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider. Without Medicare coverage, the cost of a stair chair lift can range from $3,000 to $5,000, leaving many individuals searching for alternative financial assistance options.


Understanding Durable Medical Equipment (DME)


Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is defined as equipment designed for repeated use, which serves a medical purpose and is primarily beneficial to individuals with a medical need, such as an injury or health issue. Examples of DME covered by Medicare include:


  • Walkers
  • Wheelchairs
  • Canes
  • Crutches
  • Oxygen equipment


However, stair lifts are not classified under DME by Medicare because they do not cover the costs associated with installing or maintaining stair lifts, which are often necessary for improving an individual’s health or overall function.



Get Quotes for 2024 Now

Enter Zip Code



Medicare Advantage Plans: A Possible Solution?

Medicare Advantage plans, an alternative to Original Medicare, provide additional benefits beyond what is covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

These plans are provided by private insurance companies and may have different costs and restrictions compared to traditional Medicare, including variations in medicare pay.

Some Medicare Advantage plans offer medicare cover stair lifts as part of their supplemental benefits, making them a potential solution to consider for those in need of stair lifts and wondering if Medicare covers stair lifts.


Supplemental Benefits and Eligibility


Medicare Advantage plans may include supplemental benefits, such as vision, dental, hearing, and fitness services.

For those with a chronic illness, these plans can provide coverage for non-health-related services such as meal delivery, transportation for non-medical needs, and home air cleaners.

In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans may offer Medicare coverage for certain home modifications, including stair lifts, for individuals with chronic conditions.

Additionally, it’s important to explore available Medicaid services for further assistance.

However, reviewing the details of your specific Medicare Advantage plan to determine the coverage for home modifications is necessary.



book appointment



Financial Assistance for Stair Lifts: Alternatives to Medicare

If Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans are not viable options for stair lift coverage, there are still alternatives available for financial assistance.


Free chair lifts for seniors Medicaid programs, support for veterans, and state-based home modification programs can provide financial assistance for stair lifts, allowing individuals to find the help they need to improve their mobility and quality of life.


Medicaid Programs


Medicaid may provide coverage for the cost of a stair lift if it allows individuals to remain in their homes and prevent nursing home placement.

However, eligibility criteria for Medicaid coverage of stair lifts may differ depending on the state. To apply for Medicaid coverage for stair lifts, contact your local Medicaid office or investigate Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers for assistance.

It’s important to note that Medicaid does not generally cover the cost of stair lifts.


Support for Veterans


Veterans can also access financial assistance for stair lifts through various programs and services, including VA aid.

The Veterans Administration (VA) offers support, and grants such as the SHA Grant and the SAH Grant can cover the costs associated with home modifications for individuals with impaired vision or amputations.

The HISA Grant is another option for a broad range of veterans, though it does not cover the cost of stair-glides.


State-Based Home Modification Programs


State-based programs can provide financial assistance for stair lifts as well. These programs vary by state and may cover home modifications like:


  • Ceiling lifts
  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Stairlifts
  • Incline platform lifts
  • Minor home modifications


Eligibility requirements can differ between states, so contacting the relevant housing or Medicaid agency in your area to determine the specific criteria for home modification programs is recommended.


Are stair lifts covered by insurance

Stair Lift Costs and Factors Affecting Price

The cost of a stair lift can vary significantly, with prices ranging from $2,000 to $30,000 depending on factors such as the type of staircase and additional features.

Understanding these factors is necessary when budgeting for a stair lift, as they can impact the overall cost of the device and any necessary installation.


Straight vs. Curved Staircases


One of the primary factors affecting the cost of a stair lift is whether it’s designed for a straight or curved staircase. Straight staircases are generally less expensive than curved ones, with additional costs associated with installing a stair lift on a curved staircase due to the unique design requirements.

While it is possible to modify a straight stair lift to fit a curved staircase, certain adjustments may be necessary to extend or modify the rail to follow the contours of the stairs.


Additional Features and Customization


Customization and additional features can also influence the cost of a stair lift. Examples of additional features include adjustable seating, foldable arms, and remote controls for convenience.

Incorporating custom features and personalization to a stair lift can increase the overall cost, with customized stair lifts typically starting at around $10,000, though the price may vary depending on the specific features and degree of customization.


Money-Saving Strategies: Buying Used and Renting Stair Lifts


For those looking to save money on stair lift costs, buying used or renting a stair lift can be cost-effective alternatives. Used stair lifts can offer significant savings, ranging from 25% to 50% off the price of a new lift.


Does blue cross blue shield cover stair lifts


Rental options are available for those who require a temporary solution, such as recovering from surgery or accommodating a visiting family member with mobility limitations.


Purchasing a Pre-Owned Stair Lift


Pre-owned stair lifts can be found through retail stores, suppliers, and online platforms like Lifeway Mobility, eBay, Craigslist, and Stannah. Buying a used stair lift can lead to an average cost savings of between $2,200 and $2,800, yet being aware of potential risks such as limited warranty, safety concerns, and lack of dealer support is necessary.


Renting a Stair Lift


Renting a stair lift can be an ideal option for those who require temporary mobility assistance without the long-term commitment and costs associated with purchasing a lift.

The typical cost of renting a stair lift ranges from $80 to $600 per month, depending on the size of the staircase and included amenities.

Various companies, such as Lifeway Mobility, Stannah Stairlifts, and Option HME, offer rental stair lifts, including cover stair lifts, as a short-term solution.

Installation and Maintenance Considerations

How much does a stair lift cost

Proper installation and regular maintenance are necessary to ensure the longevity and safety of your stair lift.

Installation costs can vary depending on factors such as:


  • the complexity of the staircase design,
  • the materials or specialized equipment required,
  • and the labor and skill needed.


Also, ongoing maintenance is necessary to guarantee the stair lift’s durability and safety.


DIY vs. Professional Installation


DIY installation can save money, but professional installation may be necessary for some stair lifts, costing between $500 and $1,500. Installing a stair lift independently can typically save around $1,000, but for optimal safety, professional installation is recommended.

The installation of a stair lift usually takes between 2 and 5 hours, depending on the length and configuration of the stairs.


Ongoing Maintenance Costs


Regular maintenance is necessary to guarantee the stair lift’s durability and safety. The average cost of maintaining a stair lift is approximately $120 for a service call, and it’s advised to maintain a stair lift at least once a year.

Regular cleaning and inspection should be conducted to ensure its optimal performance and safety.


Affordable Stair Lift Alternatives

If a stair lift is not the right solution for you, there are affordable alternatives to consider, such as:

Stair lifts for seniors

  • Handrails
  • Sliding stair rails
  • Platform lifts
  • Stair blocks


These options can provide increased safety and stability for those with mobility challenges, without the high costs associated with stair lifts.


Handrails and Sliding Stair Rails


Handrails and sliding stair rails can offer secure sliding support, allowing individuals to maintain both hands in front of them as they climb the stairs.

These rails move along with the person as they ascend or descend the stairs, providing grab bars that lock into position for increased stability and support.

Various types of handrails and sliding stair rails are available for purchase, such as picket railing, wall-mounted handrails, door-mounted handrails, and arch-style handrails.


Platform Lifts and Stair Blocks


Platform lifts and stair blocks are other alternatives to stair lifts that can aid in mobility and accessibility.

Platform lifts are suitable for wheelchair users, with costs ranging from $10,000 to $15,000, though generally more expensive compared to stair lifts.

Stair blocks, on the other hand, provide a stable and secure surface for individuals to step on while climbing stairs, thus aiding them in maintaining their independence and mobility.


In conclusion, while Medicare does not cover stair lifts, there are various alternatives available for financial assistance, such as Medicaid programs, support for veterans, and state-based home modification programs.

Additionally, cost-saving strategies like buying used or renting stair lifts can help make this essential mobility aid more affordable.

Considering the importance of proper installation and regular maintenance, it’s essential to research and understand all available options and costs before making a decision.



Get Quotes in 2 Steps!

Enter Zip Code


Frequently Asked Questions

Does AARP cover stair lifts?

No, AARP Medicare Advantage does not cover stairlifts as they are generally seen as a home modification. However, it is best to check directly with AARP to confirm eligibility.


Does Medicare pay for vehicle lifts?

Original Medicare does not cover the cost of a wheelchair lift for a vehicle, so you would need to enroll in a special private insurance plan to have it covered.


Are stair lifts tax deductible?

Yes, stair lifts are tax deductible if they are medically necessary and prescribed by a medical professional.


Does Medicare cover stair lifts?

No, Medicare does not cover stair lifts as they are considered home modifications rather than Durable Medical Equipment.


What alternatives to Medicare are available for stair lift financial assistance?

Alternatives to Medicare for stair lift financial assistance include Medicaid programs, support for veterans, and state-based home modification programs.

Find the Right Medicare Plan for You

Finding the right Medicare Plan 2024 doesn’t have to be confusing. Whether it’s a Medigap plan, or you want to know if Medicare covers stair lifts, we can help.

Call us today at 1-888-891-0229 and one of our knowledgeable, licensed insurance agents will be happy to assist you!


Medicare Supplement Plan G Rates