Does Medicare help with the cost of handicap lifts or ramps?

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Does Medicare help with the cost of handicap lifts or ramps?

Expert Answer

Medicare Part B covers what's called durable medical equipment. This includes "patient lifts," which are mechanical or hydraulic devices that help to safely lift a person out of or into a bed or chair. It's intended to avoid injuries to patients and caregivers alike.

For Medicare to pay for the lift, it must be prescribed by a doctor. Unlike most other kinds of medical equipment, for a lift you have to get prior approval from Medicare, in what's called a "Certificate of Medical Necessity." Your doctor will fill out the necessary forms. Medicare will pay 80 percent of its approved cost for the lift. You pay a coinsurance amount of 20 percent. Medicare coverage for durable equipment is explained in detail by the official booklet Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment and Other Devices

Once you have approval for the lift from Medicare, you must get it from a supplier that participates in Medicare. You can go on the Medicare web site to find participating medical equipment dealers near you. Or you can call Medicare toll-free at 1-800-633-4227.

Medicare also covers durable medical equipment that is provided as part of Medicare-covered home health care. In that case, you don't have to make the arrangements yourself -- the home care agency will provide you with the equipment. Although there is no coinsurance amount for the home health care itself, there is a copayment for equipment they provide.