Financing options for oxygen therapy
If you’re 65 years of age or older or on federal disability, Medicare Part B is most likely your primary insurance provider.
Medicare covers oxygen therapy in 5-year contract cycles. For the first 36 months of each cycle, Medicare Part B pays the rental feel for the system and accessories your health care provider has prescribed. Medicare covers the:
- Oxygen therapy system;
- Containers (such as tanks) that store oxygen; and
- Tubing and other accessories you use with your oxygen therapy system.
Medicare also pays for:
- The oxygen in your storage containers;
- Regular maintenance to your oxygen therapy system; and
- Oxygen system repairs when something goes wrong.
You must pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and your Medicare Part B deductible.
For the last 24 months of the 5-year cycle:
- The durable medical equipment (DME) supplier that delivers your supplies is required to maintain and repair your oxygen therapy system for the entire length of the 5-year contract at no charge to you.
- Your DME supplier is required to furnish oxygen therapy supplies and accessories for the entire length of the 5-year contract at no charge to you.
- If the oxygen you use is stored in tanks delivered to your home, Medicare will continue to pay 80% of the cost of delivery of these tanks. You must pay the remaining 20%.
If your saturated oxygen (SaO2) levels—that is, the amount of oxygen your hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells) holds—are above 88% while you’re awake or fall by less than 5% while you’re asleep, Medicare may not pay for oxygen therapy or may limit your coverage to 3 months, depending on your diagnosis. (After 3 months, you would need to requalify.) Talk to your health care provider to make sure you meet the criteria to qualify for oxygen therapy.
For more information, visit the Medicare.gov Oxygen equipment & accessories page.
Other ways to pay
If you’re under 65 years of age or have private (non-Medicare) insurance, check with your insurance company about what it covers. If your insurance company won’t pay for your oxygen therapy, you still have options.
In 2017, medical finance company CareCredit and portable oxygen contractor manufacturer OxyGo created a partnership to help people without insurance purchase an oxygen therapy system. CareCredit works like a credit card for health care–related expenses. If you qualify, you can use CareCredit to purchase an oxygen therapy system. Several monthly repayment options are available to meet your budget.
For more information, visit CareCredit’s website.
Borrow from your retirement savings account
If you’re under 59.5 years of age and withdraw money from your individual retirement account (IRA), you will have to pay an early withdrawal penalty. But, under some circumstances, you may be able to withdraw money from your IRA without paying the penalty:
- You are unemployed and need the money to pay for health insurance.
- You are disabled, as verified by your health care provider.
- You have medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
Before you decide to use IRA money, be sure to talk to your financial planner, retirement account administrator, attorney, or accountant about the risks, penalties, and options.
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