Are stairlifts covered by Medicare?
Many seniors look to Medicare, the popular national health insurance program, to fund their stairlift purchases. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of stairlifts. While Medicare includes provisions for Durable Medical Equipment (DME), typically stairlifts are not included in this category. So, if Medicare doesn’t cover stairlifts, what funding options are available?
Are stairlifts covered by Medicaid?
Medicaid is a federal-state assistance program that varies from state to state. As it’s run by state and local governments, following federal guidelines, it’s quite difficult to talk about Medicaid generally, so it’s worth checking with your local authority to find out what help is available to you.
Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers mean senior citizens can get benefits within their own home or community. The good news is, most states offer Medicaid programs that cover home modifications, so in many cases, help might be readily available. These waivers allow individuals to live in their own homes for as long as possible, as they pay for assistive technologies and modifications, like stairlifts, that allow for barrier-free living in a safe environment.
However, these waivers do have certain restrictions that are specific to each state. Enrollment is often limited and sometimes there are waiting lists for these services. To learn more about the waivers and to see a comprehensive list visit the Paying for Senior Care website.
What do I do if Medicaid doesn’t cover my stairlift?
If Medicaid does not cover the price of your stairlift, there are several options available that you should look in to, to help cover the cost. With a little research and persistence, you’ll be able to find the proper financing you need to get your independence back. To help you out, we’ve gathered some information about the help that could be available to you:
Table of contents
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- State-based Options
- Federal Housing Administration
- Private Health Insurance
- Internal Revenue Service
What other funding options are available?
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has many different options available to help veterans pay for their stairlift. These options range from grants for injuries incurred while in combat, to housing grants and aid and attendance grants. If you’re a veteran, check out how they could help you out:
Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans
The VA provides grants to veterans and service members with certain service-connected permanent disabilities. These grants are available to help buy or build an adapted home, or modify an existing home to accommodate a disability.
The Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant helps veterans with certain disabilities live independently in a barrier-free environment. SAH grants can be used to remodel an existing home if it can be made suitable for specially adapted housing.
According to the VHA Handbook, stairlifts (or stair glides, as they call them) “may be furnished as part of medical and/or prosthetic services to eligible veterans provided that they are medically necessary for the veteran’s care and treatment.”
Geriatrics and Extended Care
Veterans in this program are given a flexible budget for services that can be managed by the veteran or the family caregiver. Veteran-Directed Care can be used to help veterans continue to live at home or in their community.
As part of this program, veterans can buy items and services that will help them live independently in the community.
Roughly half of the states (27, to be precise) offer financial assistance (sometimes called nursing home diversion programs), that have the aim of preventing elderly citizens from going to live in nursing homes. These programs help pay for home modifications that allow seniors and people with disabilities to remain living in their homes. The types of modifications covered by these programs include many home modifications that help give people access to their whole homes, like stairlifts, for example. These programs may include grants or loans, or a combination of the two.
For more information and to find out what your state can offer you, visit the Paying for Senior Care website.
The BenefitsCheckup website is a free service offered by the National Council on Aging, provided in order to improve the health and economic security of older adults. The team, responsible for the website, monitors the benefits landscape and keeps the information up to date with policy changes and programs. You enter your zip code and the type of help you’re looking for, and any available local benefits are presented to you. This may help you find the funding you need in order to buy your stairlift.
Federal Housing Administration
Mortgage Insurance Programs offered by the Federal Housing Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), can help you get a loan to pay for your stairlift. This program could help those in need of a stairlift to fund it through refinancing their mortgage.
Private Health Insurance
Although it’s not a common occurence, some private health insurance or long-term care insurance plans could help pay for stairlifts. It may require some perseverance and negotiation, but be sure to emphasize the importance of a stairlift and its ability to help you age comfortably and safely in your own home. It’s a good idea to call your health insurance provider before you purchase your stairlift, to find out if you qualify for financial aid.
Internal Revenue Service
Expenses paid in a year for medical and dental care for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents could be tax deductible, and this could cover some or all of the cost of your stairlift. Medical care expenses include payments for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or payments for treatments affecting any structure or function of the body.
To qualify for a deduction, the medical equipment must be considered “medically necessary”, which means you must have a written recommendation from your doctor for the deduction to be valid. To find out more, visit the IRS website.
If none of the options above seem like a real possibility for you, we could still help you out. Stannah offers several alternative options, such as renting or purchasing a refurbished model. Of course, this will depend on your specific circumstances, but your independence is our priority; so if we can help you get your home back, we will. Give us a call to find out what we could do for you, and how we could help you get your freedom of movement back.
Nate joined Stannah in March of 2014 and works as a writer and copy editor for the content team. Prior to that, he worked closely with seniors as a case manager in the homecare industry. Nate has since completed CAPS training, making him a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. With a strong belief in aging in place and safe living solutions for seniors, Nate enjoys reading and writing about topics that matter most to the elder community.