Most people hope to continue to live independently at home as we age. Not only is it comforting to be among family, friends, and familiar surroundings, there are many health and financial advantages too.

Statistics show that people who spend their later years in their own home, as opposed to a nursing care facility, have a vastly improved quality of life. Physical health is better because of the reduced risk of getting an infection or virus.  Mental health is generally better because there is less stress at home, and the financial burden of nursing home care is lifted when home care is a possibility.

But aging in place can be challenging if you or your loved one has a mobility problem. If you or the person you are caring for needs assistance in getting out of bed, standing, or moving to a chair or to the commode, you may not be able to do this on your own.

Fortunately, for situations like these, a Hoyer lift can give assistance for a safe transfer from one place to another. A patient lift does all the heavy lifting and maneuvering that can be difficult, or impossible, for one person. Patient lifts, such as a Hoyer lift, can be expensive to purchase, but Medicare recipients may have coverage for this type of equipment, making aging in place a possibility for many.

What is a Hoyer Lift?
Hoyer is a well-known brand name for a type of patient lift. There are many other dependable brands of lifts, but this brand has become one of the most recognizable. In general, patient lifts are mechanical hoists or hydraulic lifts that help with the safe transfer of people with mobility difficulties from one place to another. They are most commonly used to move people from a bed to a chair, wheelchair, or commode and back.

Who is Eligible for Medicare Coverage of Patient Lifts?
Medicare offers partial coverage for manual full-body or stand-assist lifts as durable medical equipment(DME) if your health care provider writes a prescription for the equipment, and if you rent or purchase the equipment from a supplier that accepts Medicare assignment. Medicare benefits do not cover electric lifts.

Your health care provider can write a prescription for a full body hydraulic lift, and your Medicare benefits may help cover the cost of it if you meet the following criteria:

• You need assistance from two or more people to transfer you from your bed to a chair, wheelchair, or commode.
• Without the patient lift you would be confined to your bed.

Medicare Coverage for a Patient Lift
Medicare recipients who are enrolled in Part B (medical insurance), have coverage for durable medical equipment. In order to qualify for this coverage, you must have paid your annual Part B deductible which is $185.00 in 2019.

Your Medicare Part B benefits will likely pay for 80 percent of the approved cost of the rental or purchase of the patient lift from a supplier who accepts Medicare assignment. You are responsible for 20 percent of the cost. For patient lifts, you have the option to either rent or purchase the equipment.

If you choose to rent the lift, Medicare covers 10 months of the rental fees. After 10 months, you have the option to purchase the lift. Your supplier informs you of this option after nine months, and then you have 30 days to respond.

If you wish to buy the lift after 10 months, Medicare continues to make three more payments before the lift is yours. After purchasing the patient lift, Medicare pays 80 percent of any maintenance expenses if you use a supplier who accepts Medicare assignment.

If you decide not to purchase the patient lift, Medicare makes a total of 15 rental payments. After this you may take over the rental fee payment. In this case, the supplier is responsible for maintenance.

Depending on the model and where you get it from, a new, manual hydraulic life generally costs between $730.00 and $980.00. For Medicare recipients, having coverage for durable medical equipment like a Hoyer lift may mean the difference between aging at home or having to move to an assisted living facility.

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