Does Medicare Cover Lift Chairs?

Updated: Jul 17, 2022

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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.

red recliner

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.

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Caring for parents as they age is never easy. The help from home care services allows you to maintain your relationship while providing the best care possible.  

Give Your Loved Ones The Best Care

Caring for parents as they age is never easy. The help from home care services allows you to maintain your relationship while providing the best care possible.

Yes, lift chairs are covered by Part B of your Medicare coverage. They are considered durable medical equipment (DME) used to treat certain conditions like arthritis or other balance or mobility issues. These standards should be included in any Medicare Advantage Plan, too. You won’t be covered for a lift chair if you’re residing in a hospital or skilled nursing home for the time being. You also won’t qualify if Medicare has already paid for a scooter, wheelchair, or another motorized device. The piece of equipment that is covered by Medicare is the motor and contraption that helps “lift” you out of the seat. Medicare won’t cover chairs that use a spring device to lift you out. The fabric, cushion, and other accessories aren’t covered even though the device is built into the chair. In total, Medicare will pay for about 80 percent of the motorized device, and you will pay for the remaining 20 percent as well as the costs for the rest of the chair. Supplemental Medigap plans will help cover all the costs Medicare doesn’t, too. Once you decide which chair you want, you will buy the chair and then you or your provider will submit a claim to Medicare. You will be reimbursed for the cost covered by Medicare. This price varies on which state you live in, but the reimbursement is typically between $280 and $300. There are medical standards for your lift chair to be covered by Medicare Part B. These standards include but are not limited to:

Medicare won’t cover chairs that use a spring device to lift you out.

  • You mustn’t be able to stand up on your own from a regular armchair
  • If you have severe arthritis in your knee or hips
  • If you didn’t have the chair, your would be confined to another chair or bed
  • If you can operate the lift chair yourself
  • Once you’re standing, you need to be able to walk, even if it’s with the help of a cane, walker, or some other device

You do not have to check off every single one of these boxes in order to have a lift chair covered, but many of these situations can help determine if the lift chair is “medically necessary.” What does that mean?

Seniors with nurse holding hands

What Is Medically Necessary?

A big portion of receiving Medicare coverage for “medically durable equipment” is that your doctor deems that this equipment is medically necessary for you to survive and treat your condition. These medically necessary services as defined by Medicare.gov are: Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice. In the case of a lift chair, this means it must be absolutely necessary to treat your condition (being able to get up to a standing position from a chair due to arthritis or some immobilizing neuromuscular disease). Your Medicare-approved doctor will have to prescribe the chair as a supply you need in order for it to be covered.

medicare paln

What Is Medically Necessary?

A big portion of receiving Medicare coverage for “medically durable equipment” is that your doctor deems that this equipment is medically necessary for you to survive and treat your condition. These medically necessary services as defined by Medicare.gov are:

Services or supplies that are needed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and that meet accepted standards of medical practice.

In the case of a lift chair, this means it must be absolutely necessary to treat your condition (being able to get up to a standing position from a chair due to arthritis or some immobilizing neuromuscular disease). Your Medicare-approved doctor will have to prescribe the chair as a supply you need in order for it to be covered.

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.

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.