You can keep rented DME (capped rental items) for as long as it is medically necessary, but in most cases, after a period of time, ownership will transfer to you. The rules for oxygen and oxygen equipment are different from other DME.
Starting January 1, 2011, if you live in certain regions in NC, SC, OH, KY, IN, TX, MO, KS, FL, PA, CA, you should find out if your supplier is the contract supplier for that area. If your supplier is not the contract supplier, and you would like to continue using that supplier, they must agree to be grandfathered by Medicare. If the supplier does not agree to be grandfathered, you must switch to another supplier in order for Medicare to keep paying for your DME.
If you rent your DME (except oxygen equipment):
- Medicare will pay a monthly rental fee for the item for up to 13 months. If you need the equipment for fewer than 13 months, the supplier still owns the equipment and will take it back when you no longer need it. After 13 months, you will own the equipment.
- If you are in an area where Medicare requires you to use contract suppliers you must use a contract supplier in order for Medicare to cover your DME.
If you are renting oxygen equipment, Medicare will pay a monthly rental fee for up to 36 months.
- If you need the oxygen equipment for less than 36 months, the supplier still owns the equipment and will take it back when you no longer need it. After your 36-month rental period, you will no longer have to pay for oxygen equipment, but you will not own it. The supplier will still own the item and continue to be responsible for supplies and maintenance, in most cases, for two more years.