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Medicare Oxygen Benefit | Portable Oxygen Concentrators

Posted Jan 08 2009 3:01pm 1 Comment

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, “does Medicare pay for portable oxygen concentrators?” The short answer is, yes. Medicare even has a separate code for these oxygen delivery devises.

I hear so many Medicare beneficiaries say their equipment supplier told them Medicare doesn’t cover portable oxygen concentrators (POC). The truth is these companies don’t want to provide you with a machine costing several thousand dollars when they can get by providing a unit costing a few hundred dollars. The medical supply industry hasn’t embraced the non-delivery method of providing oxygen, for the most part. This includes homefill systems, also. There are suppliers who are using this business model but from the number of oxygen users looking for these systems, along with the number paying cash for them, it is clear the providers who use this model are few and far between.

How do I get a portable oxygen concentrator paid for by Medicare?

The first question that must be answered, “is a portable oxygen concentrator appropriate for my oxygen therapy needs?” Those oxygen users who can’t tolerate pulse-dose systems are relegated to one unit, the SeQual Eclipse. And if you need over 3 LPM continuous flow the Eclipse will not meet your needs either.

Other oxygen users whose minute ventilation increases significantly with exertion may out breathe the capability of these machines. The ability of portable oxygen concentrators to maintain oxygen purity with increased minute ventilation is limited due to their size. And different units have varying capabilities in this regard.

Still other oxygen dependent persons have conditions which will require an ever increasing need for oxygen. If you are in this category, a POC is most likely not going to meet your long-term needs. And with the new Medicare regulations, it is in your best interest to meet the needs you might face in the future.

For these reasons, it is best to match a system to meet your needs with your physician and a local respiratory therapist. The downside to staying local is you may find it very difficult to find a provider who will supply a POC under Medicare.

Another obstacle to you getting a POC under your Medicare benefit is the 36-month capped rental. If you are more than a few months into the capped rental it will be almost impossible to get a POC unless you agree to an unassigned Medicare claim. Allowing a provider to bill unassigned will cost you a higher out of pocket expense but not nearly as much as purchasing a POC outright. Also, keep in mind that the change of equipment must be ordered by your physician. If you feel you should deserve a POC at any point in your treatment, contact your Congressmen and ask for a repeal of the 36-month capped rental. You could also join the NHOPA. This is a wonderful organization that has oxygen patients best interests at heart.

The Long Answer is, keep looking to my Medicare POC page.

So sorry to tell you, but there is not any place where you can find a Medicare source for POCs at this time. I have a few listed and I will keep this page up to date with the latest providers willing to give you what you deserve to meet your oxygen needs.

Comments (1)
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Oxygen concentrators are going to continue and grow in popularity as the baby boomers continue to grow older. Even though oxygen concentrators can be a little expensive more than likely you can get medicare to pay for it. If not, it is still worth the money. They can help those with lung problems and can change your life if you have a lung problem like COPD. There are plenty of online stores that sell them at great prices like
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