Does Medicare Cover Xopenex (Levalbuterol)?

Christian Worstell
In this article...
  • Learn about Xopenex (levalbuterol), which is used with a nebulizer or an inhaler to treat bronchospasms. Learn how to find and compare Medicare plans that may cover Xopenex or levalbuterol.

A brand name for levalbuterol, Xopenex is used to treat the tightening of airways and wheezing (bronchospasm) brought on by asthma, COPD, lung disease and other conditions that affect breathing.

The medication belongs to the class of drugs known as short-acting beta-antagonists (SABAs). A "rescue medication," Xopenex relaxes airway muscles, opening up the airway and allowing for less constricted breathing.

Are Xopenex Inhalers Covered by Medicare?

Most Medicare Advantage plans cover Xopenex or its generic equivalent. Enrollees in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan should check with their insurer about their exact coverage, but 66% of plans do in fact cover Xopenex or the generic version.

Original Medicare (Medicare Part B)
covers durable medical equipment, including a nebulizer, which is needed to administer Xopenex if it is taken in liquid form (see section below).

What Is Xopenex HFA?

Xopenex comes in two forms: one delivered into the body using a nebulizer and one delivered using an inhaler. 

  • Xopenex HFA (levalbuterol tartrate) is an aerosol spray which is contained in a metered-dose inhaler. It is taken every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
  • Xopenex (levalbuterol hydrochloride) uses a nebulizer, which turns the liquid solution into a mist that is inhaled. This treatment is taken three times a day.

There is a difference in effectiveness between the two forms of Xopenex. Studies have shown that the nebulizer form (Xopenex) increases breathing by 35-40%, while the inhaler form (Xopenex HFA) increases breathing by 15-20%. 

How Much Does Xopenex Cost?

The cost of Xopenex will vary according to the enrollee's specific Medicare Advantage plan and whether the enrollee is still in the deductible stage of coverage. (For the year 2024, Medicare drug plans are capped at a deductible of $545.)

What Are the Side Effects of Xopenex? 

Common side effects of Xopenex include diarrhea, vomiting, headache, dizziness and runny nose. More serious side effects include heart palpitations, changes in blood pressure and an allergic reaction.

Christian Worstell
About the Author

Christian Worstell is a senior Medicare and health insurance writer with 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

Read More
Man uses laptop computer at home in his kitchen
This review discusses the pros and cons of the GoodRX discount card. Learn about this card, including ...
Woman gets help at pharmacy
Medicare Extra Help helps pay prescription drug costs that aren't covered by Medicare Part D. Find ...
A woman holds a prescription bottle while speaking with her pharmacist
The Humana Medicare drug formulary guide allows you to find out which Humana Medicare drug plans cover ...