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Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?

Medicare only considers the seat lift mechanism on a lift chair to be medically necessary if all of the following coverage criteria are met:

  • The patient must have severe arthritis of the hip or knee or have a severe neuromuscular disease.
  • The seat lift mechanism must be a part of the physician's course of treatment and be prescribed to effect improvement, or arrest or retard deterioration in the patient's condition.
  • The patient must be completely incapable of standing up from a regular armchair or any chair in their home. (The fact that a patient has difficulty or is even incapable of getting up from a chair, particularly a low chair, is not sufficient justification for a seat lift mechanism. Almost all patients who are capable of ambulating can get out of an ordinary chair if the seat height is appropriate and the chair has arms.)
  • Once standing, the patient must have the ability to ambulate (walk).

Coverage of seat lift mechanisms is limited to those types which operate smoothly, can be controlled by the patient, and effectively assist a patient in standing up and sitting down without other assistance. Excluded from coverage is the type of lift which operates by spring release mechanism with a sudden, catapult-like motion and jolts the patient from a seated to a standing position. Coverage is limited to the seat lift mechanism, even if it is incorporated into a chair. Medicare reimbursement is approximately $275.00.

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