It’s possible for seniors to get a free lift chair, although it can be challenging to find sources. We’ve done the digging for you. Our list includes Medicare first, but we go far beyond it with other programs and charities since Medicare typically only covers a percentage of the lift mechanism part of the chair.
We’ve also added some tips to hopefully make your goal of how to get a lift chair free easier for you. So, keep reading, and let’s get started.
Major Programs That Cover Lift Chairs for Seniors
As we mentioned above, Medicare doesn’t provide lift chairs for free. It does cover most of the cost of the motorized seat lift mechanism, but Medicare doesn’t pay for a lift chair. Typically, Medicare’s coverage is 80% of the lifting mechanism for those with Part B Medicare or a Part C Advantage Plan.
In addition to medical insurance, a Certificate of Medical Necessity – Form CMS-849 – signed by your doctor is required to get the mechanism coverage from Medicare. Conditions that affect the joints or bones that significantly hamper walking and standing so that a regular chair can’t be used are needed to qualify for the coverage.
Suppliers of the lift chair must be approved by Medicare or the insurer of an Advantage Plan. Information that will apply to you specifically according to your region can be found by clicking on “Providers & Services” then “find medical equipment and suppliers” at the upper right corner of the Medicare.Gov website. Contacting approved suppliers in your area will likely inform you what you might expect to pay for a lift chair that will meet your medical needs and what amount Medicare is likely to supply free to you.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid isn’t a national program but a state-run one. Depending on their state, seniors who meet the qualifications can possibly get the entire lift chair for free from Medicaid.
To determine your state’s Medicaid coverage for a lift chair, scroll down at Medicaid.Gov to the map and listings to locate your state. Then you can use the corresponding contact information to ask coverage questions.
If you served in the United States military, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might be the answer to your dilemma of how to get a lift chair free.
With a doctor’s confirmation of need, the VA often pays the total cost of Durable Medical Equipment (DME), including lift chairs. At the above link, you can learn more about the VA office and DME requirements as well as access Form 10-10172 Request for Service for DME.
The U.S. Administration on Aging
This government program lists information about benefits and services for seniors nationwide on its Eldercare Locator website. Alternatively, you can phone 1-800-677-1116 and ask an Information Specialist about the possibility of obtaining a free lift chair.
If you have a disease or condition, you’ve likely already contacted that organization – such as for Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, or another need to see if they could refer you to getting a lift chair free. Below are three more generally focused charities that help a wide range of people.
As they are larger well-known nonprofit groups, if they don’t have local senior medical loan closets or other ways you can obtain a free or nearly free lift chair, they may have a partnering organization that can help you. At the very least, they should be able to point you in the right direction for more ideas to narrow your lift chair search.
In some states, nonprofit groups that are part of Catholic Charities run medical loan closets. While wheelchairs, walkers, and commodes are the more commonly donated items, some loan service charities do have lift chairs or can likely connect you to a better source for them near you.
The widely spread organization Easterseals often partners with Goodwill Health and other nonprofits to provide loan closets. Since they have a variety of helping Services for Seniors, you could contact that part of Easterseals and ask if there is any way you can get access to a lift chair in your state and region.
Much like Catholic Charities, the Knights of Columbus runs medical loan closets in some states. It may take several calls to reach someone who may be able to guide you in finding a lift chair for free or at a meager cost where you live, but it could be well worth the effort.
If you have private insurance, it may entirely or partially cover the cost of a lift chair. Here are several examples:
As with Medicare, Cigna insurance plans cover only the seat lifting mechanism. The exact amount of coverage varies according to your specific plan.
The amount that Kaiser Permanente insurance pays for durable medical equipment varies based on the state. You can locate your state at the link to find out more information.
Like Medicare and Cigna, Aetna health insurance covers only the lift mechanism and not the entire chair.
Tips To Get a Free Lift Chair
If you’re hoping to get free coverage for the whole lift chair, being open-minded about borrowing a gently used one for no cost or a very low cost can help increase your chances of success.
Most communities have some type of durable medical equipment reuse program where the gently used, clean, repaired, donated items, including lift chairs, are given free or at a very low cost to those who need them.
Most of these groups lend the items for as long as they’re needed, and this may be an excellent option to get a lift chair almost for free. Looking for local chapters of some of the charities and organizations mentioned above in this article may help, but you can also think locally about groups such as:
- Seniors’ housing and support groups
- Seniors’ community centers
- Independent Living organizations
- Community medical recycling and reuse programs
- Community or church medical loan programs and loan closets
- Hospital-based assistive technology programs
Remember to always ask for any referrals to organizations in your area as you contact the nonprofits to discover how to get a lift chair free. Many helping groups have contact with similar charities or programs, and it never hurts to ask. We hope our list helps you find a lift chair that meets your needs.