More than 1.5 million adults in the United States use supplemental oxygen to treat a variety of respective respiratory diseases. Oxygen therapy is used to improve the quality of life and prolong survival for patients with low oxygen levels. If you are a long time oxygen patient, or if you are someone who has recently been prescribed oxygen therapy, you might be curious what the transition from an oxygen tank to a portable oxygen concentrator would look like, and if the benefits of a POC would outweigh the costs associated with switching methods.
In this article we will talk about the logistics of switching to a POC from an oxygen tank so you can decide for yourself what the best option is.
We will offer the Respironics SimplyGo as a reasonable device that will fit into most people’s oxygen requirements, however there are a plethora of other portable oxygen concentrators that might work better for you. For the sake of explaining the transition from a tank to a POC, we chose the SimplyGo as a great alternative oxygen device to an oxygen tank because it offers both continuous and pulse flow settings, and it is still very lightweight.
In this post we are going to cover:
- Health insurance
- Costs of a POC compared to the costs of oxygen tanks
- Specs of the Respironics SimplyGo
- Benefits of a owning a POC
So, you've been diagnosed with a respiratory disease and your doctor tells you that you need supplemental oxygen in order to breathe better and stay healthy. After considering all of your options, you and your doctor decide that a portable oxygen concentrator is the best oxygen delivery method to fit your needs. The first thing you, and most people, want to know is whether it is covered by health insurance and medicare or not.
There is no simple answer, but, it is possible to get medicare and some insurance providers to cover part of the cost of a portable oxygen concentrator. But it's only in very rare cases, and it is unlikely for this to happen.
So why don’t insurance providers want to cover portable oxygen concentrators?
Medical insurance companies have a long reputation of finding any excuse to deny patients coverage for medical equipment and treatments. Even Medicare has a tendency to deny patients coverage for equipment that could make a huge difference in someone's health. They have strict rules that make getting coverage difficult and burdensome, and they often find reasons to deny approval for a treatment even when a doctor says that it's the best option.
It is more common for Medicare oxygen benefits to cover part of the rental for a portable oxygen concentrator, but even this is not easy. Medicare reimbursement simply doesn't pay suppliers enough every month for them to be able to afford to offer portable oxygen concentrators. Because of this, most people only have a few options for supplemental oxygen methods and have to choose between either liquid or gas tanks.
It's horrible that most medical insurance providers won't meet their patients' needs and help them get the medical equipment that's right for them and their lifestyle. That's why we've made it our mission to offer portable oxygen concentrators at the lowest possible price, so you can afford to get the oxygen delivery system that's best for you.
Cost of a Portable Oxygen Concentrator vs. Oxygen Tanks
The price of oxygen equipment factors into most people's decision making process when it comes to deciding on an oxygen device. Unfortunately, maybe people are misinformed by their own research, and are paying too much for oxygen equipment that isn’t right for them.
One thing you must take into consideration when evaluating the prices of a POC compared to an oxygen tank, is that once a POC is paid for, there are no more expenses that you have to worry about. On the other hand, with oxygen tanks, you will continuously be paying for more oxygen every week for as long as you have the device. So, in the long-run, which device will actually be more expensive?
Oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators ultimately serve the same main purpose for COPD patients: they provide supplemental oxygen to the patient in order to improve their oxygen levels to reduce shortness of breath, improve oxygenation and increase energy and well being.
Yet, oxygen concentrators and oxygen tanks offer very different daily experiences for the oxygen user, and this should be taken into account when you are weighing the costs associated with each device.
Tanks have significantly higher daily costs, but the cost for an oxygen tank upfront is very small. With the costs of refills and tank replacements, owning an oxygen tank comes out to more than $2,000 every year of owning one.
The cost of a portable oxygen concentrator varies depending on the device you get, if it is new or used, and whether you pay up front or finance the device from an oxygen equipment company. But no matter what the cost comes out to, your POC will last you several years, and you'll never pay for an oxygen delivery service nor wait around for a delivery again.
If you are hesitant about the prices of a reliable portable oxygen concentrator or spending too much money up front, please call 1-800-946-1201 so that one of LPT Medical’s respiratory specialists can help you find a portable oxygen concentrator that fits into your life for the best possible price.
Benefits of Owning a POC
In this section we are going to discuss the benefits of owning a POC as an oxygen patient and specifically what it is like to own the Respironics SimplyGo!
Weighing your Options... Literally
The weight alone is reason to switch from oxygen tanks to the Respironics SimplyGo. The SimplyGo weighs 10 pounds, and the shape is designed to be easy to carry and fit in small places.
Your SimplyGo package will include a custom carrying case and a wheeled travel cart so you have the option to carry it over your shoulder or you can pull it behind you on the travel cart.
Travel with your Respironics SimplyGo
You can store it easily because of its sleek shape and most importantly you can bring it with you while you travel, either by plane, boat, RV, car, train, even by foot if you are so inclined. With an oxygen tank you are unable to use your oxygen on a plane, you can’t even bring it with you because of the oxygen hazard tanks create. Portable oxygen concentrators including the SimplyGo are all FAA approved for travel, and you are able to carry-on your device and not have to pay to rent one.
If you like to travel, you cannot fly with your own oxygen tank, therefore, you will be charged out of pocket for the rental of oxygen equipment while you are away, usually upwards of $300 per week. During your vacation or business trip, you will have to carve out time to pick up and return your oxygen equipment and plan on traveling to and from the oxygen rental service.
Powered by a Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
Having a battery powered oxygen device is a huge advantage for all oxygen patients. Rather than depending on a person to deliver and refill your oxygen tanks, you rely on yourself to charge the batteries every night.
You can recharge your device’ batteries simply by plugging it into the standard outlets in your wall as you would your cell phone. You are also able to charge the batteries in the car, RV, or even on a boat with the cigarette lighter and the DC cable your device will come with.
Having the accessibility to charge your device at any time, even while you are using it, gives you the freedom to be out of the house doing the things you love to do.
The Respironics SimplyGo gives you the ability to operate it using one or two batteries using the optional external battery module. One battery will be perfect for things like exercising, running quick errands, and doing things around your home while using two batteries is ideal for traveling, road trips, and extended trips away from your home.
Designed for 24/7 Use
Another main advantage to owning a Respironics SimplyGo is that you can utilize it day or night, even if you use a CPAP or BiPAP machine while you sleep.
The Respironics SimplyGo is CPAP/BiPAP compatible and it is equipped with both pulse flow and continuous flow oxygen delivery modes, as well as pulse flow settings 1-6 and continuous flow settings 0.5-2.0 LPM, so you will be covered you when you exercise, sleep, rest, and do a regular daily chorus.
One additional feature the SimplyGo has to offer is its sleep mode technology. Whether you’re on the airplane or relaxing in your chair at home, and you feel yourself dozing off, you can turn sleep mode technology on to ensure your oxygen gets delivered while you are sleeping.
The sleep mode technology enhances the device’s sensitivity to detect your breath and it softens the pulse flow delivery so it doesn’t wake you up. Don’t worry, if your SimplyGo doesn’t detect a breath or if you breathe through your mouth it will automatically switch back over to continuous flow to ensure you get your required oxygen.
We find that many oxygen patients are still frequently active, love to travel, and work in their respective capacity. You might have a story similar to some we have heard where your oxygen equipment holds you back from certain events or goals.
Many oxygen tank users encounter issues with delivery delays, or lack of inventory. There have been many instances where someone has been tested on a continuous-flow, liquid oxygen system, but their supplier could only provide them with pulse-dose compressed air tanks and a heavy floor concentrator thereby tethering them to their home, constraining them from their obligations and priorities.
So even though they should have a portable tank, they are left at the will of what their oxygen supply company provides them, which is no where near the freedom and independence they deserve.
Also if you decide to stick with an oxygen tank, you cannot make any other plans on delivery days since there is no way to know what time they will come.
With the help of a reliable and portable oxygen device, and provided with sufficient oxygen, oxygen users are healthier and can continue to contribute to their families and to society. It is no secret that most people who require supplemental oxygen also enjoy activities, work, and freedom over sitting at home tethered to an oxygen hose.
The transition from a oxygen tank to a portable oxygen concentrator is a clear step in a direction that will give you more freedom and independence, the ability to travel, and the motivation you need to make the most out of daily activities without being weighed down and tethered to an oxygen hose inside your home.
While this may not be an option for everyone, depending on your oxygen requirements, the Respironics SImplyGo can cover most oxygen users needs. It is a great device should you need to transition between continuous flow and pulse flow, but it is still lightweight so if you enjoy long walks, running errands, exercising, or just being able to maneuver around your house, this device will help you along the way rather than get in your way.