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How to Find a Home Chair Lift You Can Afford

A chair lift (also called a stair lift or lift chair) is an assistive device that helps users go up and down stairs without having to climb. The user rides in a seat attached to a track, and the device glides up the staircase. Chair lifts can help people be more independent

Purchasing a lift chair for your home doesn’t have to be extremely expensive. Here are some ways to get financial assistance for home stair lifts.

How to Find Home Chair Lift Assistance

You may be eligible for federal and/or state financial assistance for purchasing and installing a lift chair. The best way to find out if you qualify for assistance is to apply for the various programs and ask what’s available. If you think you’re eligible, you can apply for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and veterans benefits.

Does Medicare cover stair lifts?

Original Medicare does not cover stair lifts*. However, certain private plans called Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans might. There are hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans available throughout the country, but they can all offer slightly different coverage. Additionally, not all plans will be available in your area. 

Medicare Part C plans can cover supplemental benefits that Original Medicare does not, including meal delivery, non-emergency medical transportation, and home health care

*Original Medicare may help pay for an elevating seat to help the rider sit and stand safely. The coverage may only cover the seat, which is considered to be durable medical equipment. According to Medicare, home chair lifts fall under home modifications, not durable medical equipment. 

Medicare Durable Medical Equipment

Will Medicaid pay for a lift chair?

Medicaid is a state and federal program that helps eligible people receive healthcare coverage. Your state’s Medicaid program may help pay for a lift chair if you qualify.

If you’re eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you may qualify for a Dual Special Needs Plan (DSNP), which is a special type of Medicare Advantage plan that may have discounted premiums, copays, and/or coinsurance. 

A DSNP qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that allows you to make one change per quarter for the first three quarters of the year (January – September). You can make a change in your coverage during the fourth quarter (October – December), but only during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which is from October 15 – December 7. The change you make during AEP will take effect on January 1 of the following year. 

Stair Lifts for Disabled Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may help disabled veterans who cannot safely navigate stairs pay for a stair lift. The benefit applies to veterans whose disabilities are the result of their military service. You may need a home visit and skills evaluation before the VA approves your stair lift.

You may also qualify for VA benefits if you or your spouse is disabled and the disability is not the result of military service. Some veterans qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, which may help pay for “care-related services.”

If you aren’t eligible for a lift chair due to service-related injuries, and you don’t qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, local assistance programs called Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services may help. These are specific to local VA medical centers, and they help veterans live at home, rather than at nursing homes

Other Financial Assistance Options

Some states have assistance programs that help seniors and Medicare-eligibles stay at home, which may include home modifications. For example, you may qualify for low-interest or conditional loans from state assistive technology programs.  Note: not all states offer loans for assistive devices. You can also check with your local National Council on Aging (NCOA) office for information about assistive technology programs. 

Some long-term care insurance policies may cover stair lifts if it means that you can live at home, rather than transitioning to a long-term care facility. 

In addition, you may be able to save by looking for used stair lifts. Some manufacturers may offer financing so you don’t have to pay all at once.

Chair Lifts for Stairs With Landings

Chair lifts for stairs with landings come in a variety of configurations to accommodate different types of stairs. Most chair lifts fall into two categories: straight or curved. 

Straight Chair Lifts

Straight chair lifts only work on straight staircases without curves or corners. However, you can use multiple straight chair lifts on straight portions of your staircase with landings or turns. 

For example, one chair lift can go from the floor to the first landing. Then another can go from the first landing to the top of the stairs. 

The advantage to installing multiple chair lifts is that it can be less expensive than one curved lift chair. The disadvantage is that once you reach the first landing, you must get up and transfer to the second chair. The transfer may be unsafe for some people.

Curved Chair Lifts

Every staircase can be different, and to work, most curved chair lifts must be custom-fit to accommodate your home’s twists and turns. However, there are some common configurations that include: 

Top or Bottom Overrun: An overrun can be at the top, bottom, both ends of a staircase. The “overrun” is where the stair lift track extends past the staircase and onto the landing and/or the floor at the bottom of the stairs. This feature may make it easier for the user to sit into or stand up from the chair.

Intermediate Landing: An “intermediate landing” is a landing before the top of the stairs. Curved stair lifts can rise with the staircase, become level at the intermediate landing, then continue rising to the top of the stairs. 

90° Flat Landing: This is a type of staircase with a landing that has right-angle change of direction in the staircase. Like with the intermediate landing, the lift chair’s track travels up the staircase, levels out at the landing, then travels up again.

180° Flat Landing: The same as the 90° flat landing but the turn is 180° at the landing.

Spiral Stair Lift: These chair lifts feature tracks that curve around the entire length of a spiral or curved staircase.

The Best Stair Lift Brands

According to PayingForSeniorCare.com, some popular stair lift brands are: 

Get Coverage for Home Chair Lifts

Original Medicare does not offer coverage for home chair lifts. If you want help finding assistance for a home stair lift, one of our licensed agents may be able to help you find a Medicare Advantage plan, a long-term care policy, or other financial assistance. Our agents are highly trained and they can help you determine the right fit for your budget and medical needs. To schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment, call 1-844-431-1832 or contact us here today.

How Medicare and Medicaid Work Together

Medicaid helps lower the cost of Medicare for more than 12 million dual-eligibles. In fact, Medicaid is the nation’s largest public health insurance program for people with low income and covers more than 1 in 5 Medicare enrollees. Are you eligible? Here is everything you need to know about Medicaid, Medicare, eligibility, costs, and savings programs.

What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?

Medicare and Medicaid can be easily confused, but they are two separate government-operated programs. Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage for seniors over 65 and other Medicare-eligibles, regardless of your income. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage for those with low income. However, if you are dual-eligible, you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. This allows you to expand your network to include Medicaid doctors and decrease your out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

Those who are over 65 and those who receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are eligible for Medicare.

Medicaid eligibility is different in every state and is largely based on income level. Though this varies by state and marital status, if you know that you are under the Federal Poverty Level, there’s a good chance that you qualify for Medicaid.

Can you Have Medicare and Medicaid?

If you are dual-eligible, that means you’re eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. That can mean that you are both low-income and over 65, both low-income and on dialysis for ESRD, or any other qualifier listed below.

When you have both Medicare and Medicaid, Medicare will cover you first. Your Medicaid will serve as sort of a backup plan when you need more coverage than Medicare can provide.

People who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid may qualify for a Dual-Eligible Special Needs Plan, or DSNP. DSNPs often come with very low or $0 premiums, and Medicaid often covers the resounding copayments. DSNPs are not available in every area, and each plan can be a bit different, so be sure to ask your agent.

Dual-eligible beneficiaries are sometimes eligible for a Medicare Savings Program (MSP) as well. An MSP can help you pay for your Medicare premiums. You’ll also be enrolled in Extra Help, a program that helps you pay for your Medicare prescription drug costs. You may hear Extra Help referred to as LIS, or Low-Income Subsidies.

Bonus: if you are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, you have a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). That means that you don’t have to wait for the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) to enroll or make changes to your plan.

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Medicare and Medicare Eligibility Check

Ready to find out if you are eligible for Medicare? Do you fall into any of the below categories?

  • I am over the age of 65 or will be turning 65 within the next few months.
  • I have ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease/Kidney Failure) and am receiving dialysis treatment.
  • I have Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS).
  • I have received Social Security Disability Income for over 24 months.
  • I receive retirement/disability income from the Railroad Retirement Board.

Note that to qualify, you also must be a U.S. citizen.

Medicaid eligibility is going to depend largely on what state you live in. While Medicare is more federally regulated, Medicaid is mainly state-regulated. For example (2018), in Tennessee, a family of four can qualify for Medicaid with an income of less than $32,718 annually. However, in New York, a family of four can only qualify for Medicaid with an income of less than $32,319.

Some of the groups that most commonly pass the Medicaid eligibility check are U.S. citizens like:

  • Those under 21 with low income
  • Pregnant women with low income
  • Low-income parents of minors
  • Low-income women undergoing breast or cervical cancer treatments
  • Those who receive Social Security benefits
  • Individuals who live in nursing homes or receive other long-term care and require financial assistance

If you think you are eligible, you can access the Medicaid Application for every state from the Healthcare Marketplace website.

Medicaid Doctors and Costs

A great way to find providers in your area who accept Medicaid is by using an online search tool like “DocSpot.” From DocSpot, you’ll enter your city, your type of coverage (Medicaid), and the type of doctor you are looking for. DocSpot will populate results for you where you can read reviews and pick Medicaid doctors in your area that you can schedule an appointment with.

If you have both Medicare and Medicaid, you can expand your doctor network to also include those who accept Medicare. If you have Medicare Advantage (a Medicare plan offered by private companies instead of the federal government), you’ll want to use your plan’s website to search for a provider that accepts your coverage.

Your Medicaid, Medicare, and Medicare Advantage costs will all depend on your financial status and the type of plan you select.

Medicaid Prescription Drug Costs

Technically, prescription drug coverage is an optional federal Medicaid benefit. Since Medicaid is a state-based program, all states determine their own prescription drug coverage. Currently, all U.S. states provide outpatient prescription drug coverage to eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. Depending on your state, you will receive either free or heavily discounted prescription drugs when receiving Medicaid benefits.

Free Prescription Discount Card
Free Prescription Discount Card

Additional Medicaid Costs

Some Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to pay copayments for certain services. It all depends on your income. For example, for non-institutional care (such as a doctor’s office visit), anyone at 100% of the federal poverty level will have to pay a copay of $4.00. Anyone whose income is 150% above the federal poverty level will have to pay 20% of the costs. Keep in mind that the federal poverty level can change every year and also takes into account the number of people living in your household.

Medicare Extra Help Application

If you have Medicare but do not qualify for Medicaid, fear not! You may still qualify for financial assistance in another form: Medicare Extra Help.

Medicare Extra Help, otherwise known as LIS (Low-Income Subsidies), helps you cover your prescription drug costs that Medicare does not cover. To qualify for Extra Help, you must first have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). You cannot have savings, investments, and real estate that total more than $28,150 (or $14,100 if you are single).*

Access the Medicare Extra Help Application here.

*These numbers are subject to change every year.

Medicare Savings Program Application

Even if you do not qualify for full Medicaid benefits or if you don’t qualify for Medicare Extra Help, you can still qualify for a Medicare Savings Program. There are four Medicare Savings Programs:

Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB)

Pays for Medicare Part A and B premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Also makes you eligible for Medicare Extra Help. To qualify for QMB, you:

  • Cannot exceed individual monthly income limit of $1,032
  • Cannot exceed married monthly income limit of $1,392
  • Cannot exceed individual assets limit of $7,560
  • Cannot exceed married assets limit of $11,340

Specified Low-Income Beneficiary (SLMB)

Pays for Medicare Part B premiums. Also makes you eligible for Medicare Extra Help. To qualify for SLMB, you:

  • Cannot exceed individual monthly income limit of $1,234
  • Cannot exceed married monthly income limit of $1,666
  • Cannot exceed individual assets limit of $7,560
  • Cannot exceed married assets limit of $11,340

Qualifying Individual (QI)

Pays for Medicare Part B premiums. Also makes you eligible for Medicare Extra Help. To qualify for QI, you cannot have Medicaid and you:

  • Cannot exceed individual monthly income limit of $1,386
  • Cannot exceed married monthly income limit of $1,872
  • Cannot exceed individual assets limit of $7,560
  • Cannot exceed married assets limit of $11,340

Qualified Disabled & Working Individuals (QDWI)

Pays for the Medicare Part A premium if you are working, disabled, and under 65 OR if you lost your premium-free Part A when you went back to work. You must not be receiving state medical assistance. You also:

  • Cannot exceed individual monthly income limit of $4,132
  • Cannot exceed married monthly income limit of $5,572
  • Cannot exceed individual assets limit of $4,000
  • Cannot exceed married assets limit of $6,000

Access the Medicare Savings Program Application here.  

Medicaid Application

Think you are eligible for Medicaid? You can apply either online through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through your state Medicaid agency. To use the Health Insurance Marketplace Medicaid Application, click here.

Each state has its own Medicaid Application on its own Medicaid website. It may be a good idea to meet with an agent first so that you can get help with your application.

Medicaid Application
Complete your Medicaid application

Are you eligible for Medicare and Medicaid?

If you’re not sure whether or not you are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, we can help. Give us a call and we’ll ask you a series of questions to help you find out if you’re eligible.

If you are eligible, we can send an agent to your home to help you sort through your health care options. Another perk of being eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid is that you can receive a Special Enrollment Period, meaning that you can make changes to your coverage during any time of the year and don’t have to wait for the Annual Enrollment Period in the fall.

Our agents are licensed to sell plans from multiple different carriers, so they can help you pick the plan that truly works best for you.

To get started, give us a call at 1-833-438-3676 or click here.

This post was originally published on March 15, 2018, and was updated on September 28, 2018, and updated again on April 3, 2019.

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