Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?10 minute read

10 minute read

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Updated for March, 2019

Medicare is an expansive program covering such a wide range of services and supplies that it’s impossible to memorize every single part of coverage for your plan. While there is a portal on the Medicare website that can help guide you in the right direction as to what service or supply you’re interested in is covered, it’s easy to lose yourself in a rabbit hole searching for answers when it comes to equipment that is highly specific to your condition.

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One of these conundrums can occur when figuring out coverage of lift chairs.

These devices help people with mobility issues stand and sit down without too much pain, but how do you know if you qualify? Does your doctor have to write a prescription for one? How much does Medicare cover for a lift chair, if it covers for one at all?

These are all questions that may come up when you begin looking for a lift chair. We’re here to help answer them for you. First, let’s get into the most basic question of what exactly a lift chair is and how it works.

A lift chair is a device that helps people get up and down from a standing or sitting position. They are motorized devices that are self-controlled to help you get from your seated position (however steep that may be) to a standing position.

They also help you get back down without having to crash down into the chair. While they don’t double as beds, they can also be used as a quick napping option (depending on the chair you get and how far they recline) so you don’t have to get up and go all the way to your bed in these situations.

Most lift chairs look like your everyday recliner, but they are used to help you get completely up from a sitting position rather than solely give you a nice seat to recline and relax in. Lift chairs are essentially pieces of medical equipment.

There are three main types of lift chairs:

Two-position lift chair

This is the simplest form of lift chair. It offers two different reclining positions: your standard 90-degree upright angle and a 45-degree recline so your legs are elevated and your back is reclined 45 degrees back from its upright angle. The reclining motor and leg elevator are all attached to one motor, so as the chair reclines, the leg support elevates.

Three-position lift chair

Similar to the two-position lift chair, the three-position lift chair features an upright angle and a 45-degree reclined angle. It also has a reclining angle that goes almost entirely flat, allowing to take even more pressure off your back and joints. This can also be a comfortable position to nap, read, and watch TV. Like the two-position chair, all of the reclining and elevating aspects of this chair are one moving part.

Infinite-position lift chair

This is the most flexible style of lift chair. The infinite-position chair does almost exactly what its name tells you: allows you to set your chair in a variety of ways to find your most comfortable position. You can sit upright, lay completely flat, and have your back at a 45-degree angle and your legs completely elevated. Some infinite-position chairs allow your legs to raise above the angle your head is at when laying completely flat. These chairs are also known as zero-gravity chairs. They can reach “infinite” positions because the back recliner and leg elevator run on two different motors so they don’t have to work as a single device. While they’re often the most expensive chairs, they also give you the most flexibility to find what’s comfortable for you.

Now, for the most important question.

It’s difficult to say that one style of lift chair will cost a certain amount of money, though we can guarantee infinite-position chairs will typically cost the most and two-position chairs generally cost the least.

Now that you know what lift chairs are and the stipulations surrounding one being covered by your plan, it’s time to settle on which type of chair you want. As we discussed, there are three main types of chairs: two-position, three-position, and infinite-position. Obviously with Medicare in play, you’re limited in the scope of lift chairs that you can get without paying too much money out of pocket. Each version comes at different price points.

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It is also advised that you get a lift chair from a Medicare-approved supplier. To find out approved suppliers in your area or online, contact your local Social Security office and compile a list of who you can buy from.

It’s difficult to say that one style of lift chair will cost a certain amount of money, though we can guarantee infinite-position chairs will typically cost the most and two-position chairs generally cost the least.

The overall price stems from the type of fabric you want, how much cushion you want for your chair, how big the chair is (they make chairs of all sizes), and other important factors. As a result, getting a top-of-the-line two-position chair may end up costing more your basic-level infinite-position chair. So, instead of just saying you should get X lift chair for Y amount from Z place, let’s run through some steps you can take when finding the right lift chair for you.

  • Visit a large furniture store, department store, or wholesale club that sells lift chairs. Try out different styles and sizes to find out which one fits your body best. Try different brands, too. You don’t need to settle on the first one you see!
  • Once you’ve settled on a general size and fabric, ask for the measurements of the chair so you know what your body feels most comfortable with.
  • Now it’s time to browse Medicare-approved suppliers. Remember, if you don’t get your lift chair from a Medicare-approved place, Medicare may not pay for any of the costs. You don’t just have to visit large department stores to explore your options. A chair at one place may be a couple hundred dollars cheaper online or at another store. (You will most likely have to pay for more than half of the lift chair anyway.)
  • There are some places (furniture stores) that may offer assembly, while others (online stores) will not. If you order from somewhere that does not offer assembly, you can ask family or friends to help you build it.

Make sure your prescription is filled and it’s deemed medically necessary that you need a lift chair by a Medicare-approved doctor. Order the chair once Medicare itself approves that they will reimburse you for the chair. After you pay for the lift chair out-of-pocket and then receive it, fill out the appropriate paperwork and get your reimbursement.

If you have any questions regarding lift chairs and the different styles they come in, visit or contact a local furniture store. On the billing side, if you have any questions regarding how much Medicare covers for lift chairs or how to fill out the reimbursement form, contact your local Social Security office.