Does Medicare Cover Air Purifiers?

In this article...
  • Learn what air purifiers are and find out if air purifier systems are covered by Medicare to assist individuals with respiratory problems or other medical issues.

Air purifiers are machines that filter out allergens and irritants from indoor air to improve overall air quality and help individuals breathe easier. Older adults may be especially sensitive to bad air, as breathing in bacteria or airborne viruses can lead to illness and potential complications.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters are known to help improve microvascular function while filtering out 99.7% of airborne particles, making them a good choice for Medicare beneficiaries with respiratory issues and health conditions who can benefit from clean, healthy indoor air. 

Does Medicare Cover Air Purifiers?

Typically, Medicare does not provide coverage for in-home air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers or space heaters. However, beneficiaries who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea may be able to obtain Medicare coverage for the costs of continuous positive airway pressure machines (CPAP).

Are Air Purifiers Considered DME by Medicare?

Air purifiers are not considered durable medical equipment (DME) or covered by Medicare because the machines are categorized as environmental control equipment and not considered primarily medical in nature

Are Humidifiers and CPAP Machines Covered by Medicare?

Medicare may assist with coverage for humidifiers when deemed medically necessary and considered DME, Medicare recipients who have questions regarding the scope of coverage for these items should contact their plan providers directly. 

What Are the Two Types of Air Purifiers?

The two types of air purifiers are mechanical and electronic. Mechanical air purifiers run on electricity or via USB charge, and they are fitted with carbon or HEPA filters. While specific model features can vary, mechanical purifiers are designed with internal fans that pull in air. The air runs through the filter, and the fans push the clean air back into the space.

Electronic air purifiers utilize electrostatic technology to electronically charge or ionize certain types of air pollutants and irritants such as dust and cigarette smoke. The charged molecules are pulled into the machine and attracted to oppositely charged collector plates. Electronic air purifiers work well; however, certain models release ozone, which may exacerbate symptoms in individuals with respiratory illnesses or asthma. 

Can Physicians Prescribe Air Purifiers?

A physician can write a prescription for an air purifier if they believe the device to be medically necessary and beneficial to the individual. Those with flexible spending accounts for health care costs may be eligible for reimbursement, so it's important that they save receipts and submit claims within 45 days of purchase. In some cases, certain insurance companies may also cover the costs of air purifiers if deemed medically necessary. 

What Are Some Common Pollutants and Irritants That May Be Reduced by Air Purifiers?

While specific results can vary depending on model and filter type, both mechanical and electronic air purifiers can reduce a wide range of indoor air pollutants. Some common types include:

  • Dust
  • Animal dander
  • Pollens
  • Viruses and bacteria
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Mold
  • Certain pesticides
  • Car exhaust
  • Fumes from paint thinners
  • Fumes from cleaning products
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