As you age, it may be harder to get around your house. Sitting down and climbing out of the bathtub becomes painful, difficult, or even impossible. Luckily, many house improvements and upgrades exist to make it easy and safe to stay at home. One way to keep you safe at home is with a bath lift, which helps get you in and out of the bath without the risk of falling. If you would like to know how you can get a bath lift for free or at a reduced cost, keep reading.
Are Bath Lifts Covered by Medicare?
A bath lift is a special seat that rises and lowers in and out of the bathtub. This is great for people with limited mobility. It allows you to get in and out without having to climb in or out, which can be hard for seniors. In fact, many seniors end up getting hurt when they try to stabilize themselves while getting into the tub.
Medicare is medical insurance for seniors and those with disabilities. As a result, they cover medically necessary durable medical equipment (DME). Unfortunately, original Medicare Part B does not usually cover bath lifts because they are typically not considered medically necessary. However, if your licensed doctor prescribes one (and both the doctor and retailer accept Medicare), you may be able to get one for free or at a reduced cost.
A patient lift, which is needed for patients who can’t walk, helps transfer the patient from the bed to other places, including the bathroom. Medicare does pay for patient lifts at about 80 percent, and you could use a patient lift to get in and out of the bath safely.
Medigap policies are sold by private insurance carriers, and they help fill in the gaps created by Medicare. As a result, depending on your Medigap policy and the insurance provider, you may be able to have the other 20 percent paid. Similarly, if you manage to get a prescription for a bath lift and Medicare pays for it, Medigap will pay your out-of-pocket expenses.
What are the Medicare Requirements for a Bath Lift?
To qualify for any Medicare benefits, you must first qualify for Medicare. Typically, you must by 65 or older, and you or your spouse has paid into Medicare via their job. Younger people can qualify if they have a qualifying disability or are in End Stage Renal Disease.
The only way you can qualify for a bath lift is with a prescription from your doctor, but proving you need a patient lift is a little harder. To qualify for a patient lift, you’ll need to prove you need the help of two people or more to transfer from your bed to the wheelchair, commode, or bath. You’ll also need to show that without the patient lift, you’d be bed-ridden.
Alternatively, you could ask about lift chairs to help you get up to head for the bathroom, but they won’t help you get in and out of the tub. A seat assist, however, works like a lift chair, but it can be placed on any existing chair.
This may make it easy to get up from your wheelchair when getting into the tub. You can qualify for a chair lift or seat assist much easier. You typically need to have severe arthritis in the knees or hips, which makes it impossible to stand up without assistance. You’ll also have to show that you can walk (with or without an aid) on your own.
Free Bath Lift – Other Ways to Get One
Medicaid is like Medicare, but it is handled by the states, so the rules vary, depending on where you live. Depending on your state and your needs, Medicaid may reimburse you for some of the cost of a bath lift. First, you’ll need to qualify for the Home and Community Based Services Waivers (HCBS), which helps seniors on Medicaid age in place, so they don’t have to move to assisted living. If you qualify, the HCBS pays for modifications to your home.
Veterans can find help via Veterans’ Assistance, which provides Home and Community Based Services and Home Improvements and Structural Alterations. This is a grant you can use to alter your home how you need, including getting a bathtub lift.
Many patients find help with grants. Many organizations and charities offer grants, including Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants Programs (which helps seniors in rural areas), Self-Sufficiency grant (for families that need financial assistance but aren’t considered low-income), American Parkinson's Disease Association grant (if you have Parkinson's Disease), Single Family Housing Repair grant (for low-income families), and much more.
You can also talk with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development about a loan to make upgrades. Unlike a grant, however, loan money must be repaid. However, this does allow you to repay overtime, which is particularly useful if you need a lot of upgrades to your home.
Private insurance carriers may also cover the cost of the bath lift. You’ll probably need a prescription from a doctor. Unfortunately, you usually need to purchase this insurance before you actually need the bath lift. Trying to get coverage once you need services may be difficult because the insurance carrier sees you as a liability.
Getting older can be scary, but with the help of Medicare, Medicaid, grants, and other services, you can find the help you need to make your home safer. This allows you to age in place, so you don’t have to deal with the negative side effects of moving to a nursing home, such as depression and anxiety. If you would like to know more, start looking for your perfect bath lift today.