Medicare will only cover the lifting mechanism of a lift chair. The lifting mechanism must be operated electronically and move in a smooth fluid motion. Medicare will only reimburse up to around $300 towards the cost of the lifting mechanism.
Those who are on Medicare and receive Part B Benefits, which covers durable medical equipment, will be eligible to receive reimbursement for their lift chair.
In order to receive reimbursement, a prescription and a Certificate of Medical Necessity are required. A Certificate of Medical Necessity is a form that must be completed by your physician. In the case of lift chairs, the Certificate of Medical Necessity states that the insured can not stand from any chair in their home without a lift chair.
For a printable Certificate of Medical Necessity, click the image to the right.
Why Does Medicare Only Cover the Lifting Mechanism?
Prior to the early 1990's, the complete cost of a lift chair was covered. There were several factors that led Medicare to change the way they covered lift chairs. To understand Medicare's decision, it is necessary to understand a little bit about the history of lift chairs.
Lift chairs were first developed in the 1980's and quickly became very popular. Early lift chair manufacturers would take a regular recliner and add a lifting system to it.
A spring lifting system was used in these lift chairs, which was actually not very safe. This is because once the spring lifting system was started, there was no way to stop it. They also often operated in a very jerky and unreliable manner.
There was also a very rapid increase in the number of lift chair claims during the 1980's. By the beginning of the 1990's, the cost of lift chair claims had increased exponentially, so Congress decided to limit how lift chairs were covered by Medicare.
To cut costs, they decided to cover the cost of a lift chair only partially. To increase the safety of lift chairs, they decided to only cover lift chairs that use a safe electric lifting system.
Were all Lift Chair Manufacturers Making Unsafe Spring Loaded Lift Chairs?
No, not all manufacturers were making and selling unsafe lift chairs. In fact, Pride Mobility and Golden Technologies both got their start custom-making electric lift chairs during the eighties. These companies realized the dangers associated with a spring lift chair and chose instead to only manufacturer the safer and more reliable electric lift chair.
As a result, Golden Technologies and Pride Mobility are now the two biggest names in lift chairs and also sell many other types of home medical equipment. They revolutionized the lift chair market and forced other manufacturers to follow their lead, raising the overall quality of available lift chairs.