Portable oxygen concentrators have changed the lives of many oxygen users over the last few years. Here are some common questions that portable oxygen users have asked.
Q. Does Medicare pay for a portable oxygen concentrator?
Yes. Medicare does pay for portable oxygen concentrators. Medicare sets the “allowable” (how much Medicare pays) for all oxygen and pays 80% of that figure. The other 20% is often paid by a secondary insurance if you have one. If your secondary insurance does not pay anything, or you do not have secondary insurance, your bill would be about $45.00 a month. If you do not pay for your oxygen equipment now, you most likely will not have to pay anything for a portable oxygen concentrator.
Q: How do I know which portable oxygen concentrator is right for me?
A respiratory consultation with our oxygen expert is the best place to start. The expert will evaluate your individual needs and then explain the particular benefits of each unit and help you take the first step to deciding which will be clinically efficient and fit your lifestyle. Ultimately it a decision for you and your doctor to make and we want you to be as educated as possible.
Q. How do I travel with a portable oxygen concentrator?
When traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator it’s important to know the length of your travel time, and arrange for extra batteries if you may need them. Portable oxygen concentrators are approved for use on airlines, trains buses, etc. They are powered by rechargeable batteries, can be plugged into the power outlet in your car or can be plugged into a wall outlet. Portable oxygen concentrators make oxygen from room air so you will never run out of oxygen or wait for a delivery of oxygen again.
Q: Which commercial airlines allow the portable oxygen concentrators on board?
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has approved all the units we provide for airline travel. Most airlines have an approved list of portable oxygen concentrators that they allow. Most allow the portable oxygen concentrator if it is FAA approved. Call our consultants to verify.
Q: Can I bring the oxygen concentrator on a cruise?
Most cruise lines will accept passengers who require oxygen with advance notice of at least 10 days and you must arrange for your own oxygen equipment.
Q: Can I use a portable oxygen concentrator while I sleep?
Most patients are able to, but your may want to speak to your doctor and let him/her determine whether or not a portable oxygen concentrator is appropriate for you while you sleep. An overnight pulse oximetry test may be necessary to measure your oxygen saturation level while using a portable oxygen concentrator at night. In the event that you cannot, we can supply you with additional equipment to meet your need.
Q: What if I sleep with a CPAP or Bi-level PAP?
If you sleep with a CPAP or Bi-level PAP you must use a continuous flow oxygen concentrator. We provide you with continuous flow portable oxygen concentrators. Make sure you tell our representative if you use a CPAP or Bi-level PAP.
Q: What is the difference between continuous flow oxygen and pulse flow or “on demand” oxygen?
Most home oxygen concentrators provide continuous flow oxygen. Oxygen is always coming out of the cannula if the machine is turned on. On demand or pulse flow oxygen interrupts the flow of oxygen between breaths and when your exhaling. Pulse flow oxygen allows the unit to use less power making the batteries last longer. Usually the only time it makes a difference is when you’re sleeping.
Q: How long can a portable oxygen concentrator operate on battery power?
It is important to remember that battery life varies from unit to unit and depends on the patients’ liter flow setting. A respiratory consultant can help determine what your own usage time will be based on model and LPM settings. Battery time varies from 3 hours up to 12 hours.
Q: Will high altitudes affect my portable oxygen concentrator?
Your concentrator will continue to produce oxygen, but the actual mass flow of oxygen will be reduced by the altitude. At 10,000 feet you would receive approximately two-thirds the oxygen you would at sea level. Therefore, some patients may need to increase their flow settings in higher elevations.