If you need DME, your equipment may need regular maintenance and repairs from your supplier. Repairs by a supplier involve fixing equipment that is worn or damaged. Maintenance means checking, cleaning and servicing your equipment. If possible, you are expected to do regular maintenance yourself using the owner’s manual. However, a supplier should do maintenance if it is more complicated and requires a professional. Medicare coverage of repairs and maintenance that is more specialized depends on whether the supplier owns the equipment or you do.
If you need oxygen equipment, Medicare pays for repairs and maintenance differently.
As long as you are paying a monthly rental fee for your equipment, your supplier must perform all needed repairs and maintenance that require the work of a professional. The supplier cannot charge you for this work.
On the other hand, Medicare will pay a separate amount to the supplier for repairs and maintenance if you buy your equipment or if you now own your equipment after first renting it. The repairs and maintenance must require a professional and must not be covered by warranty. Medicare will pay 80% of the Medicare approved amount and you will be responsible for the 20% balance.
You can save money by going to a supplier who takes assignment. If you live in a competitive bidding area and you own equipment that is on the list of items you must get from a contract supplier, it is best to get repairs done by contract suppliers. Although Medicare will cover maintenance (and replacement parts needed for the repair) from any Medicare-recognized supplier, contract suppliers must accept assignment for the repair.