If you need oxygen equipment, it’s important to learn how Medicare pays for it and covers rentals, repairs, and maintenance. Remember you must still use the right kind of supplier to obtain coverage and to limit your costs.
You must always rent your oxygen equipment; you never have the option to buy it. Equipment is rented in five-year cycles.
- Medicare will pay the supplier a monthly rental fee for the first 36 months. The fee includes all equipment, oxygen, and supplies. You must pay 20% of each months’ rental fee.
- For the next 24 months after that, the supplier must allow you to keep the equipment, but Medicare rental payments stop. You pay no more rental fees, although the supplier still owns the equipment. Also, if you use oxygen tanks or cylinders, you must pay a 20% coinsurance for liquid or gaseous oxygen each month.
- Finally, at the end of five years, you will have to choose whether to get new oxygen equipment from your original supplier or to switch suppliers.
If you need the oxygen equipment for less than five years, the supplier will take it back when you no longer need it.
Repairs and Maintenance
Keep in mind that during your entire rental period (5 years), your supplier must keep your equipment in good working condition and provide you with supplies, parts, and maintenance free of charge.
- However, during the last 24 months of the rental period, charges may apply if you use a stationary or portable oxygen concentrator or transfilling equipment (machines that fill portable tanks in your home). After the first 36 months of the rental period, suppliers can bill you for general in-home maintenance visits every six months. You must pay a 20% coinsurance for this servicing.