Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) can improve the quality of life for many Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) sufferers. Instead of dragging heavy oxygen tanks around, POCs are much smaller and lighter. Some are small enough to carry in a shoulder bag. People who have POCs are able to remain active in spite of the difficulties of COPD. But because oxygen tanks are the standard of care, POCs are considered luxury items,and medical insurance may not cover one. Before resigning yourself to clumsy oxygen tanks, however, you should first attempt to receive coverage for you portable oxygen concentrator, and if no coverage is possible, there are other alternatives.
Working with Your Insurance
In order to maximize your chance of insurance covering your portable oxygen concentrator, the first step is making sure your paperwork is in order. Your doctor should write an order for the POC, and also should include all of your relevant medical information such as test results, the severity of your disease, and how often you require oxygen. If your claim is denied, an appeal should fully document why you need a POC instead of an oxygen tank. Take your time writing out all the ways in which having a POC are necessary to maintain your quality of life, including both professional and personal examples. The more details you provide, the more likely you are to convince your insurance to cover your POC.
If your medical insurance denies your claim and rejects any appeals, do not lose hope. Some POC distributors accept monthly payments made directly to them. Additionally, there are medical credit options such as CareCredit, (there are many others) which give lines of credit to patients who qualify. You may also wish to consult your financial institution or financial planner for guidance on lending options.
If you regularly utilize oxygen tanks but have a special occasion such as a vacation or work event that you don't want to lug your tank along to, short-term POC rentals are available. Extra batteries may also be rented for long trips.
Medicare or Medicaid
If you are eligible for Medicare as a primary or secondary insurance, they will cover the costs of your POC rental which is considered Durable Medical Equipment, if coverage criteria is met. Your local social security office can help you apply for Medicare. Medicaid may also be an option for coverage. You can apply for Medicaid online or at your local Department of Social Services.
Financial Hardship Options
Some POC manufacturers have applications for reduced costs related to financial hardship. Additionally, many services including The Partnership for Prescription Assistance, as an example, offer financial assistance for those who meet certain financial hardship qualifications. Several of these organizations exist at no cost to the patient, while others charge a fee, so be aware when you are choosing where to seek help.
Living with COPD can be challenging, but securing a portable oxygen concentrator can greatly improve your quality of life. If your insurance denies your claim, do not be discouraged. There are other ways to help you pay for this medical equipment.