For more information on this topic, please read our Medicare Patients' Oxygen Rights booklet.
Does Medicare pay for oxygen?
If you qualify for supplemental oxygen and receive Medicare, Medicare creates a five-year contract with your home oxygen supplier. The contract starts the first month that your home oxygen supplier bills Medicare. During the first 36 months of the contract, your home oxygen supplier is paid for the rental of the equipment. During the last 24 months of the contract, your home oxygen supplier is only paid for providing you with items such as tubing, refilled tanks, and other supplies. Your supplier must service and repair your equipment throughout your entire five-year contract.
Medicare Part B pays for 80% of fees associated with supplemental oxygen while you as the patient are responsible for the other 20%. Some supplemental plans may help with the other 20%. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, review its benefits to understand how your supplemental oxygen coverage works.
Can I decide which brand of oxygen equipment I receive?
You can ask for a specific brand, but a supplier is only required to provide you with the type of system prescribed by your healthcare professional, not a specific brand. Before you enter into a Medicare contract with an oxygen company, ask your healthcare provider to make sure the equipment offered by the oxygen supplier is correct for you, as different companies may offer different choices.
Do I still receive oxygen supplies like tubing and face masks from my home oxygen supplier after the first 36 months of my Medicare contract?
Yes. Your home oxygen supplier is still responsible for providing supplies like tubing, face masks, regulators, and filters during the last 24 months of a five-year contract. They must also provide tank refills. And they must service and repair your equipment.
Can my home oxygen supplier decide to stop providing my equipment and services?
Under Medicare guidelines, your home oxygen supplier is obligated to continue to provide your equipment and services for the length of the five-year contract.
What happens if I move during the five-year Medicare contract?
If you move during the initial 36-month rental period, you can ask your current supplier to help you find a supplier in your new area. If you move after the initial 36-month rental period, your current supplier generally has a responsibility to make sure you have a supplier in the new area.
Who owns the equipment when the five-year Medicare contract ends?
The home oxygen supplier owns the equipment both during and at the end of the five-year contract.
Can my home oxygen supplier change the type of supplemental oxygen system I am receiving during the five-year Medicare contract?
Your oxygen supplier cannot change the type of oxygen system you receive—or the number of tanks you receive— unless your healthcare provider orders the change.
What happens if my oxygen needs change during the five-year Medicare contract?
Keep up with recommended medical appointments and be sure to talk with your healthcare provider if you notice a change in your oxygen needs. If your needs change, you should be retested and your healthcare provider will change the prescription as needed. The supplier is required to provide the equipment and service that meet your current medical needs.
What happens at the end of a five-year Medicare contract?
At the end of the five-year cycle, your supplier is no longer required to provide your oxygen equipment and service. You may choose to remain with the same supplier or switch to a different one. Your healthcare provider will need to complete a new prescription. Remember -- before you enter into a Medicare contract with an oxygen supplier, ask your healthcare provider to make sure the equipment offered by the supplier is correct for you.
Does Medicare allow the home oxygen supplier to provide me with used equipment?
Yes. The equipment must be in good working order.