Whether you have knee or other joint issues or a balance problem that prevents you from climbing the stairs in your home, you may be looking into the installation of a stairlift to help transport you up and down your stairs. However, the prospect of retrofitting your banister may seem like a huge project -- and if you're on a limited budget, the idea of paying out of pocket for this installation may seem overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to pay for this convenient and life-changing service, and in many cases you may be able to have a stairlift installed in your home at little to no cost:
If the stairlift is deemed medically necessary for you to remain in your home, your health insurance plan may offer some coverage. If you have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) you'll likely have to pay most of the cost of this toward your deductible. In other cases, the lift may be completely paid for because of your plan's coverage of certain medical equipment.
Your best bet is to call the toll-free number on the back of your health insurance card and speak to a representative about precisely what coverage is offered.
Because stairlifts are considered durable medical equipment (DME), they are partially covered by your Medicare plan. If you have Medicare Part B, you'll generally pay 20 percent of the cost of the lift and installation, and this cost will go toward your deductible. Depending upon the amount you've already spent in the plan year, you may have hit your deductible already -- if so, the stairlift may end up being free or close to free.
If you've maxed out your private health insurance or Medicare deductible already, you may want to talk to your doctor about "prescribing" a stairlift for your home. If this lift is deemed medically necessary, it's always best to have it installed when this installation can be free or inexpensive, rather than paying your full deductible toward the cost during a new plan year.
If you don't qualify for a stairlift under Medicare (or don't have Medicare) and your private insurance plan also doesn't offer coverage, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan with the stairlift installer. These payment plans generally have a low interest rate and may even offer no interest as long as timely monthly payments are made. In most cases, you'll find that the freedom this stair lift provides is well worth any monthly cost.