Does Medicare cover an oxygenator?

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brother in law has large green tank at his home with 2 3hour portable tanks. He uses it only at night for 8 hours and cannot go anywhere overnight without paying $125.00 for a 10 day rental. We are looking to purchase an oxygenator. I found one for 795.00. They are currently in low income housing and are paying $20.00 per month for the large tank. How much would medicare pay towards the new oxygenator? They could give the large tank back and own their own to have more freedom. They live in Waltham, MA and we try to have them here, in Maine, every 6 - 8 weeks. The 125.00 rental for 3 - 4 days is still charging for the full 10 days. I understand that. We cannot keep paying that rental [and wasted $$] . We are their only place they go and often stay 3 to 4 days. Can you help us?

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Gretchen,

First of all, never include your full or real name on a public forum. It's not safe to reveal anything about your identity. You can contact the Admins here and ask them to delete it from your last post:

https://www.agingcare.com/contactus.aspx

Second, the information I provided in my first post applies to an oxygen concentrator as well.

The first step is to contact the treating pulmonologist, if you haven't already done so. I still don't understand why you're paying out of pocket when a doctor could write a script for it, unless your BIL doesn't meet the Medicare standards for either night or night and day use.

The second step after meeting with the pulmonologist (or discussing the issue if your BIL has just seen him/her) is for him/her to arrange for the necessary tests that Medicare requires. Those results will dictate whether BIL get oxygen only for night or for 24/7 use.

If approved by Medicare for night use only, it's my understanding that you'll get a "stationary" concentrator, a heavy one that's not easily portable. It will stay at home but can be moved from room to room if necessary. You would also get tubing, cannulas and filtration bottles (to moisture the air), and probably get a few portable tanks for emergencies such as power failures.

If approved for 24/7 use, you'll have to specify that you want a portable concentrator with back up batteries - ask for at least 3 or 4; older ones have shorter lives and require more frequent recharging. I also bought a portable charger for use in the car.

They're better and easier to use than the cylindrical portable tanks (the heavy green ones) because (a) you can recharge the lithium batteries yourself (b) you can't recharge the large cylindrical tanks yourself (c) you can recharge the smaller green tanks with an adapter for the stationery concentrator, but they're not as versatile or easily managed as a portable concentrator.

Post again if you have any further questions.
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I asked for the wrong equipment. We do need an oxygen concentrator. The one we have been renting for him is a portable. If we could get him one of those, he could return the "green" tank he uses at home and just use the concentrator at home and travel with it. Sorry for the confusion. Thank you, Gretchen Pierce.
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An oxygenator is far different from an oxygen concentrator. The concentrator delivers oxygen through a nose tube. The oxygenator removes blood, oxygenates it and sends it back. Medicare is not going to let you use that in the home.
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I'm a bit confused. Did a physician prescribe use of an oxygenator or was this decision made by your BIL?

Medicare, with the proper (and very specific criteria) will pay for an oxygen concentrator and portable tanks, either the cylindrical ones or a portable concentrator with back-up batteries. I don't know about an oxygenator, as from what I understand it's a higher level of complexity than a concentrator.

Medicare has a section of DMEs (Durable Medical Equipment) on its website; you can check there to find out if it will pay for an oxygenator. Or just call Medicare; that's what I've done when I had questions about oxygen coverage.

Medicare generally pays 80% in accordance with pre-determined standards and amounts. People can get a supplemental policy that picks up the 20% that Medicare doesn't cover.

My understanding of an oxygenator is that it's primarily used during surgery. So I'm wondering if a pulmonologist prescribed this or your BIL on his own felt he needed it.

Regardless, in order to get Medicare to provide financial assistance, your BIL will need to discuss the issue with his pulmonologist. Some tests will be done, including an overnight study as depending on the patient's need, Medicare may only pay for oxygen at night. Different criteria are required to pay for oxygen 24/7.

I'm also confused about the difference between the "large green tank" your brother uses at night, and the ones that are $125 for a 10 day rental. Are the latter tanks portable ones? That's typically what's done when someone is away from a stationery unit.
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