Medicare’s coverage rules for oxygen equipment rental, repairs, and maintenance are different from its rules for other forms of durable medical equipment (DME). Keep in mind that you should still use the right kind of supplier to limit your costs.
Unlike other types of DME, oxygen equipment is always rented in a five-year cycle, and you never have the option to buy it.
- Medicare will pay the supplier a monthly rental fee for the first 36 months. The fee includes all equipment, oxygen, supplies, and maintenance. You must pay 20% of each month’s rental fee.
- After the 36-month rental period, you pay no more rental fees, although the supplier still owns the equipment. You keep the equipment for up to 24 additional months. If you use oxygen tanks or cylinders, you must continue to pay a 20% coinsurance for oxygen each month. You will also pay a coinsurance for any needed maintenance during these additional 24 months.
- At the end of five years, you will have the choice to either get new oxygen equipment from your supplier or to switch suppliers.
If you need the oxygen equipment for less than five years, the supplier will take it back after you no longer need it.
Note: If your oxygen supplier was previously a competitive bidding supplier, the supplier must continue to provide oxygen and oxygen equipment for the rest of your 36-month rental period. After the 36-month rental period, the supplier must continue to provide oxygen and oxygen equipment for the rest of the equipment’s reasonable useful lifetime, as long as you continue to need it. If you travel or permanently move out of your supplier’s service area, the supplier must arrange for you to get oxygen and oxygen equipment from a supplier in your area on the 36-month rental period is over.
Repairs and maintenance
Throughout your five-year rental period, the supplier must keep your oxygen equipment in good working condition. During the first 36 months of the rental period, the supplier must provide you with supplies and maintenance free of charge. During the last 24 months, providers are allowed to bill you for in-home maintenance visits every six months, and you must pay a 20% coinsurance.