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does Medicare cover patient lifts

Does Medicare Cover Patient Lifts?

As we get older, our bodies become weaker. It’s just an unfortunate fact of life.

When this happens we become more dependent on other people to do our daily tasks. Thanks to modern technology and inventions, however, we now have more chances than ever before to remain more independent. This allows us to do many of our daily tasks without needing as much help from others.

One of these amazing inventions is the patient lift or a Hoyer lift. While very helpful, patient lifts can be pricey. Especially if you consider buying a high-quality one.

So a common question many people have is, “Does Medicare cover Patient Lifts?” In this article, we answer this question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of patient lifts and other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Patient Lifts?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of patient lifts. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order for Medicare to pay for your patient lift. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for patient lift costs. It provides partial coverage for either the rental or purchase of a manual full-body, or stand-assist, patient lifts.

Lifts are considered Durable Medical Equipment, or DME for short. Coverage for DME, such as a patient lift, falls under Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part B covers ten months of rental of a patient lift. After ten months, you may purchase the patient lift.

About 9 months into your rental, your DME supplier will contact you. They’ll let you know that you can purchase the patient lift and give you 30 days to decide if you want to or not.

If you decide to buy the patient lift after ten months, Medicare Part B will make three more payments before the lift is yours. They will also cover 80% of maintenance expenses if your DME supplier accepts Medicare assignment.

For Medicare Part B to provide coverage for the purchase or rental of a patient lift, you will need a prescription from your healthcare provider. Your DME supplier also must participate in Medicare.

There are also specific criteria that you must meet for Medicare Part B to cover your patient lift. Those are:

  • You need help from one or two people to transfer you from your bed to your wheelchair, commode, or chair
  • If you did not have the lift, you would be stuck in bed

If at least one of these conditions is not met, Medicare Part B will not cover a patient lift cost. Also, if your DME supplier does not accept Medicare assignments, you may have to pay for the lift yourself.  And the costs may be much higher.

Once you meet all of the requirements above, Medicare Part B will provide coverage for 80% of the rental cost or purchase of a patient lift. You will pay for the remaining 20%.

Medicare Part B does not cover electric patient lifts.

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for patient lifts. They cover everything Original Medicare covers as well as some additional benefits. However, out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the specifics of your plan.

How Much Does Patient Lifts Cost?

Patient lifts from well-known brands usually cost somewhere in the $400 to $12,500 range. The average cost is around $1,500. The cost depends mainly on the type of lift you get and the features it has.

To rent a patient lift run between $150 and $700 per month. Again, it depends on the type of lift you get and its features.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover Rituxan?

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