Does Medicare Cover Inogen 4?
Medicare typically doesn’t cover the cost of purchasing supplemental oxygen equipment but will cover the monthly cost of renting the required equipment and supplies. In order to receive coverage, your doctor must prescribe oxygen therapy for home use.
Inogen 4 and Other Oxygen Therapy Solutions
Common oxygen therapy systems include:
- Portable oxygen tanks that are refilled and replaced
- Stationary, at-home oxygen concentrator
- Portable oxygen concentrators like the Inogen 4
The Inogren 4 is a type of portable oxygen concentrator. Unlike a heavy oxygen tank that needs to be periodically replaced, an oxygen concentrator filters the surrounding air turning it into medical-grade oxygen. That means, as long as the battery is powered, you will have an unlimited supply of oxygen.
Supplemental Oxygen and Portable Oxygen Concentrators
Oxygen is vital for all living things on Earth. Everything from the air you breathe to the water you drink requires oxygen in order to exist and provide energy at the cellular level, meaning oxygen deprivation can result in a serious threat to survival. In humans, the lungs take in oxygen and pass it along through the blood to the heart which pumps it to the rest of the organs.
Certain medical conditions, however, can hamper this system, resulting in lowered oxygen levels. To remedy this, your doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen therapy. This concentrated oxygen is often supplied through tanks and fed to the body through nasal or oral masks. Concentration is typically achieved by removing nitrogen from ambient air and then pressurizing the remaining oxygen.
Hospitals and similar care facilities usually provide concentrated oxygen on a large scale to be used in multiple patient care suites at the same time, but modern medical innovations now allow for portable oxygen concentration devices like the Inogen 4 to be used by patients at home or on the go.
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Medicare Coverage for Inogen Oxygen Concentrator
When an Inogen 4 or similar device is prescribed as a medical necessity, Medicare will typically provide coverage under Part B since the device will be considered durable medical equipment (DME). This distinction is often used to classify medical equipment that is used by Medicare recipients outside of a clinical setting, so everything from wheelchairs and walkers to mobility scooters and respiratory aid devices are often considered for coverage under Medicare benefits through Part B and the DME designation.
Of course, every plan is different, so you will need to talk to your Medicare benefits plan manager to ensure that an Inogen 4 device is covered. If it isn’t, you may be able to file for an exception waiver, but this will usually require documentation from your physician or care team stating that the Inogen 4 device is the only suitable option to aid in your overall health.
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Benefits of Using Inogen 4
Portable oxygen concentrators, such as Inogen, are often considered a necessary piece of medical equipment for anyone dealing with a respiratory condition. Your doctor may recommend this device if you have been diagnosed with COPD, emphysema, or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The top benefits of using Inogen include:
- Portable, on-the-go oxygen
- No bulky tanks to refill
- Compact, quiet and lightweight
- Provides up to 13 hours of oxygen per charge
- May be covered by Medicare or other health insurance
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Healthcare Respiratory Assist Devices
Medicare may also cover the use of an Inogen 4 device if it is used during a hospital stay or while admitted to a skilled nursing facility. If this is the case, Medicare Part A, the inpatient benefit, would likely provide coverage instead of Medicare Part B.
As mentioned, most care facilities have on-premises concentrated oxygen delivery systems, so it is unlikely that you would require a portable solution while admitted, but it’s good to know that options exist. If you are provided with an Inogen 4 while hospitalized, but you are then sent home with the equipment, Medicare Part B may then apply to provide coverage for the device once services are no longer being provided by the hospital or skilled nursing facility.
It’s also worth mentioning that some Medicare plans, including Medicare Advantage plans, may require you to rent a device prior to purchase. If this is the case, there may be a set amount of time required for rental before a purchase will be covered. To learn more about Medicare coverage for oxygen therapy services, consult with your plan materials, speak with a licensed sales agent, or try using an online plan finder tool.
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