Stairlift chair at the bottom of a staircase

If you’re looking for a stairlift to add to your home, you may be curious whether or not Medicare or health insurance coverage will pay the cost. Standard Medicare policies do not pay for stairlifts, but Medicare Advantage plans offer some financial coverage. Medicare Advantage plans provide supplemental insurance to those in a Medicaid program. In 2020, Medicare Advantage plans have started offering supplemental benefits for those with chronic illnesses. The supplemental benefits are intended to cover the cost of services and equipment that help improve the health of an individual, which can include stairlifts.

Stairlift Cost

The cost of a stairlift typically ranges between $2,000 and $5,000. Stairlifts on the lower end of this price range will be very basic models or will have been used & resold. Those on the higher end will have extra accommodating features, such as higher weight capacity, folding seats, or swivels. Installation alone can range anywhere between $500 and $1,000. For qualifying customers, several companies offer payment plan options that are typically less than $100 a month.

Variables Which Affect the Price

The cost of a stairlift is contingent on several factors, including the make and model of the stairlift, whether it’s new or used, and the length/design of the staircase where it needs to be installed.

What can affect price most is the type of stairlift you are looking to install. There are two main types of stairlifts that are available in the market. The most common is a straight stairlift, which comes with a standard rail that fits most straight staircases. The second type is a curved stairlift, which is designed for staircases that have curves or transitional landings. Curved stairlifts are typically custom-built by order, making them more expensive.

Does Medicaid Pay For Stairlifts?

In most cases, yes, Medicaid will pay (partially or fully) for stairlifts in a senior’s home. However, coverage under Medicaid is primarily contingent on two factors: the state where you reside, and the reason for acquiring a stairlift.

Most states offer Medicaid programs that help seniors pay for home modifications if they wish to continue living at home. Home modifications, including the addition of stairlifts and similar mobility devices, are covered through Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which are often referred to as Medicaid Waivers. Waivers offer a variety of financial benefits for seniors who wish to live at home. Because Medicaid is managed by individual states, eligibility and coverage for stairlifts will vary from one state to the next. Some state Medicaid programs will fully cover the costs, while others will only provide partial coverage. To find out the policies of the program in your state, visit the Medicaid Waiver website.

What Are Other Stairlift Funding Options?

If Medicaid does not cover the price of a stairlift, there are many other ways you can try to get financial coverage. Alternative solutions are available to ensure that you can get coverage for your stairlifts.

State Assistance Programs

27 out of 50 states have financial assistance programs, or nursing home diversion programs, to help seniors and their families pay for home modifications. These programs are intended to enable the elderly to remain living in their homes instead of a senior living facility. Programs can help cover costs of helpful home modifiers, like stairlifts, through grants, loans, or a combination of both. More information on state programs can be found at the link above.

Veteran Assistance

The Veteran’s Administration offers financial assistance to elderly and disabled veterans who need support following their service in the military. The following three grants are available for veteran seniors with limited mobility and/or chronic illness:

  • Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA) Grant – offers financial assistance to disabled veterans to make medically necessary modifications in their homes to improve accessibility & mobility
  • Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grantprovides financial resources to veterans for home modifications to make their homes wheelchair accessible; limited to veterans with a service-related disability
  • Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grant – provides coverage for necessary home modifications for disabled veterans with service-related injuries.

Private Health Insurance

Although it’s not a guarantee, a private health insurance provider may help pay for stairlifts. This is dependent on the flexibility of your health care plan and may require some negotiation on your behalf. If you can express the necessity of a stairlift in your home, a health insurance provider may consider it an important medical expense or can refer you to other assistance programs.