Does Medicare Cover Portable Oxygen Concentrators?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Portable oxygen concentrators can help people with COPD or other issues improve their quality of life. But does Medicare cover portable oxygen concentrators?

A portable oxygen concentrator is a piece of medical equipment that converts the air around you to purer oxygen. These devices are much smaller than oxygen tanks, which can help support mobility and lifestyle choices for those that require oxygen. But does Medicare cover portable oxygen concentrators? The answer might disappoint you.

Does Medicare Cover Portable Oxygen Concentrators?

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) doesn't cover portable oxygen concentrators, but some Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans may help pay for portable oxygen tanks, depending on the plan.

While Original Medicare does cover oxygen and oxygen tanks, often in the form of rentals of the required equipment, it doesn't cover portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) because they are quite expensive. Medicare can typically save money by paying for oxygen tank rentals instead.

While most Medicare Advantage plans often provide extra benefits when compared with Original Medicare, they may not cover POCs for the same reason. Check with your plan if you're interested in a Medicare portable oxygen concentrator to see if it might be covered.

Why Are Oxygen Concentrators So Expensive?

Portable oxygen concentrators are expensive because they're complex pieces of equipment. They have internal workings to take regular air from wherever you are and convert it into mostly just oxygen. They are also able to rely on battery power, which means they have to be relatively efficient.  

Which Is Better: an Oxygen Tank or Oxygen Concentrator?

Portable oxygen concentrators can cost a few thousand dollars, and patients often have to foot that bill out of their own pockets since Medicare doesn't cover them. POCs also need to be powered by a battery or a connection to an electrical outlet, so you do have to plan for using one to maximize benefits such as flexibility and mobility.

Oxygen tanks are covered by Medicare, drastically reducing your out-of-pocket expenses (at least up front). But they're less flexible and can reduce your mobility. 

Ultimately, you'll need to weigh your own needs and budget to decide which option is right for you.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with HelpAdivsor.com. He is also a licensed health insurance agent. Christian is well-known in the insurance industry for the thousands of educational articles he’s written, helping Americans better understand their health insurance and Medicare coverage.

Christian’s work as a Medicare expert has appeared in several top-tier and trade news outlets including Forbes, MarketWatch, WebMD and Yahoo! Finance.

While at HelpAdvisor, Christian has written hundreds of articles that teach Medicare beneficiaries the best practices for navigating Medicare. His articles are read by thousands of older Americans each month. By better understanding their health care coverage, readers may hopefully learn how to limit their out-of-pocket Medicare spending and access quality medical care.

Christian’s passion for his role stems from his desire to make a difference in the senior community. He strongly believes that the more beneficiaries know about their Medicare coverage, the better their overall health and wellness is as a result.

A current resident of Raleigh, Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. You can find Christian’s most recent articles in our blog.

If you’re a member of the media looking to connect with Christian, please don’t hesitate to email our public relations team at Mike@MyHelpAdvisor.com.

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