Many people whose physicians have ordered oxygen for home use are confused as to what Medicare will and will not pay for and for how long. The following may clear this up a bit:

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is covered by Medicare Part B. This coverage will pay 80% of the allowable rental amount— which varies by region— and the Medicare recipient pays 20% plus any Part B deductibles. The amount paid by Medicare covers not only the equipment, but any supplies needed such as nasal cannulas, bubble humidifiers or filters.

As to the equipment itself (concentrator, gas or liquid tanks), Medicare will pay your provider monthly for 36 months. After that time your supplier must continue to provide maintenance and service for the next 24 months at no extra charge to you. After that time (5 years total) you may choose a new provider or keep your current company and the 36-month rental period begins again.

Because Pennsylvania is subject to the Competitive Bidding Program you must rent your equipment from a DME supplier that is contracted with Medicare. Unfortunately, this limits your choices if you are not happy with the company you have. To find out which providers in your area are contracted with Medicare go to: You will have to choose from a list the equipment you are inquiring about, enter your zip code and a list will be provided for you.