There are numerous factors that will determine the cost of a new stair lift. First, you will have need to decide whether you will install it yourself or have a local professional do the installation for you. Next, you will need to factor in other parameters such as – is it a straight or curved staircase (or you have “pie shaped” steps or a square landing in the middle), the actual weight of the user, D/C vs. A/C, and whether you need the lift for indoor or outdoor use. With a landing in the middle of the staircase (or more than one landing) you will have to choose between a curved stair lift system or multiple straight track units.
Medicare/Medicaid (or any other insurance company) will NOT reimburse for stair lifts. If you call your insurance company and tell them you have a prescription for a stair lift and ask them if you are “covered” they will more than likely tell you “You are Pre-Approved”. That only means you are “Pre-Approved” to submit your paperwork. ALL insurance companies use identical HCPCS codes for medical diagnosis, medical procedures, pharmaceuticals, and various medical products and devices. There is NO HCPCS CODE for a stair lift. If a stair lift company should offer to file a claim on your behalf … beware! They are not reputable or ethical.
A straight lift will run anywhere from around $2,000 (for a self-install winch drive) up to $3,500-$4,000 (for a rack-and-pinion gear drive or worm drive). Units with hinged rails are slightly higher. A fully installed straight stair lift (even with a hinged rail) should not cost more than $5,000. After all, it is a simple aluminum track, a seat, and a motor. Curved stair lift systems sell for $9,000 to $15,000 (or more) depending on the quality and configuration of the lift. The higher quality curved stair lifts can take weeks to manufacture because each piece is hand made. These curved systems are almost impossible to re-sell since each one is custom made for each individual staircase. A curved stair lift isn’t something you would want to buy twice and generally adds value to a home with our aging population.
You should expect a discounted price when purchasing two shorter straight track units because the manufacturer is saving on materials and shipping costs. The fees for installation should be discounted too. Look for a company that will provide honest and ethical answers while assisting you with your choice of stair lift system. Be careful of those dealers advertising a low ball price … and then upping the price by adding on shipping fees, cutting fees, processing fees, fees for tracks over 16 feet of length, fees for the wide seat option, fees for extended warranty, and other hidden fees. A reputable company starts with one clear price, finishes with the same clear price, and the total charge found on your credit card statement is the same clear price. The cost of professional installation can range anywhere from $495 to $1,000 (or more). It can take 2-3 hours to install a single straight unit, and about 3-4 hours for a double install. A curved unit may take 5-6 hours for the installation.
With that said, it makes it kind of easy to see who is digging in your pocket trying to make some extra margin. You will also want to work with a stair lift provider that has parts readily available. Most of the dealers representing European and Chinese made stair lifts do not stock replacement parts and it is not uncommon to wait on the next container load to be shipped in order to get your part. The wait could be several weeks.
A word of advice – Don’t buy an ugly stair lift. Most consumers purchase a lift with one person in mind. But then Uncle Joe uses it … and Mary across the street likes to use it … and it sure was nice to have it last Summer when I twisted my ankle. The truth is – most people do not take them out once they are installed. You are going to have to look at it every day. Get one that is attractive and grease free stair lift – the Nautilus or Medallion worm drive systems.