Low oxygen levels can decrease your quality of life if you or a loved one has pulmonary hypertension (PH). However, a supplemental medical treatment prescribed by a physician called oxygen therapy might help maintain recommended oxygen levels. In oxygen therapy, a patient receives supplemental oxygen from tanks or an oxygen concentrator through a face mask or a lightweight nasal tube called a cannula.
Learn more about oxygen therapy and tips for living actively with oxygen through the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) classroom series on oxygen therapy.
Curious about traveling with oxygen? Airlines allow approved portable oxygen concentrators during flight. However getting the correct equipment and approval takes time. Get travel tips at PHA’s travel page.
Your Oxygen Access Rights
For oxygen therapy prescriptions, insurance plans typically contract with an oxygen delivery company. Only your medical team may make adjustments to your oxygen prescription, including how much oxygen is needed and the type of equipment to use. If your oxygen delivery company tries to give you supplies that don’t match your prescription, work with your medical team to advocate for the proper prescription.
Medicare recipients have the following rights. (If you have private insurance, review your health benefits and contact your insurance provider with questions.)
You have the right to continuous service.
- Can’t drop you, or change your equipment or delivery system without approval from you and your doctor.
- Can’t change the terms of your contract regarding your equipment or the number of tanks you receive.
- Must continue to provide you services if you move to a new area – either directly or by contracting with another supplier for the remainder of your contract.
You have the right to effective equipment and treatment.
- Must provide you with the necessary oxygen equipment accessories for the entire duration of your contract, including regulators, filters, masks and tubing.
- Must provide you with working equipment and repair any broken equipment.
- Must honor changes in medical necessity if your physician decides your oxygen equipment no longer provides what you need. (Note: Your physician must provide a new letter of medical necessity.)
If your oxygen provider is breaking the rules:
- Refuse unfair changes of equipment or coverage. Give the supplier written notice of refusal and ask them to provide you with documentation of their proposed changes.
- Inform your physician of the situation and ensure that they sent the most recent letter of medical necessity to your supplier. A letter of medical necessity is a request for service from your physician, documenting the need for specific therapies or treatments.
- File a Medicare complaint through 800-MEDICARE (633-4227). A Medicare representative can connect you with the Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman (CAO) if problems persist.
- File an Americans with Disabilities Act complaint.