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Does Medicare Cover Oxygen?

Christian Worstell

by Christian Worstell | Published December 16, 2020 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Medicare Part B covers oxygen equipment rentals for use in your home if prescribed by your doctor. Medicare may also cover oxygen contents and the supplies needed for oxygen delivery if you own your equipment.

If Medicare will pay for your oxygen, you will typically have to pay some out-of-pocket costs.

A Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan can pay for some of your oxygen costs, such as Medicare copays, coinsurance and more.

Woman laughs with friends while using oxygen tank and tubesMedigap plans can help pay for your oxygen equipment Medicare costs.

Does Medicare Pay for Oxygen Rentals?

If you are enrolled in Medicare Part B and your oxygen tank and other equipment is prescribed by a doctor, Medicare should cover costs related to your equipment rental:

  • If you rent oxygen equipment and receive coverage under Medicare, you’ll need to rent the equipment from a supplier for 36 months.

  • After that period concludes, your supplier will continue providing oxygen equipment and supplies for another 24 months (a total of five years), as long as you have a medical need for oxygen.

Medicare Part B covers oxygen tanks and other equipment, such as:

  • Tubing

  • Mouthpieces

  • Oxygen contents

  • Maintenance of your equipment

  • Repairs of equipment

After you’ve rented your equipment for 36 months:

  • Your supplier must ensure equipment is in good condition and working order. This requirement continues until the end of your five-year rental period, and the supplier cannot charge you for these services.

  • Medicare will continue paying for the delivery of oxygen contents after your 36-month rental period.

  • If your medical needs extend past five years, your supplier does not have to continue supplying oxygen contents and equipment. 

  • A new five-year supplier obligation period begins after the first five-year period ends. You will have the option to switch to another supplier at this time.

What If You Own Your Oxygen Equipment?

Medicare will likely cover the cost of the contents and supplies needed for delivery if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • Your doctor says you’re not getting enough oxygen or have severe lung disease

  • Your health may improve with the help of oxygen therapy

  • You experience a drop in arterial blood gas levels, within a certain range

  • Other medical alternatives have failed

If you meet these conditions, Medicare will cover:

  • Oxygen-delivery systems

  • Oxygen-storage containers

  • Tubing and other supplies needed to deliver oxygen and oxygen contents

How Much Does Oxygen Cost With Medicare?

Even if Medicare helps pay for your oxygen equipment, there are some out-of-pocket costs that you should be prepared to pay, including:

  • Part B deductible ($185 per year in 2019)

  • Part B coinsurance (20 percent of all Medicare-approved costs for oxygen therapy)

Your Part B deductible must be met before Medicare will begin paying its share (usually 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount of a service).

Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plan Can Help Cover Oxygen Medicare Costs

The out-of-pocket costs of oxygen therapy can add up.

Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) helps cover some of Medicare's out-of-pocket costs, including your Part B coinsurance and copayment you will typically have to pay when Medicare covers your oxygen.

A licensed agent can help you decide on a Medicare option that works for you. Call today to speak with a licensed agent and compare the Medigap plans that are available where you live.

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Christian Worstell is a health care and policy writer for MedicareSupplement.com. He has written hundreds of articles helping people better understand their Medicare coverage options.

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