We know: All About Home Oxygen Tanks

What are home oxygen tanks or systems?

Home oxygen systems are used by people who need extra oxygen for their health. There are generally three kinds:

  • oxygen tanks
  • liquid oxygen
  • oxygen concentrators

What's the difference in the three kinds of home systems:

Oxygen tanks store compressed oxygen that can often be transported around with the patient, if the tank is small and portable. A flow meter and regulator are attached to the tank to adjust the oxygen flow. You usually roll the tank along with you when you move about. Oxygen is inhaled through a mask or lightweight tube.

Liquid oxygen systems come with a large stationary unit that stores oxygen as a liquid. You fill a small, portable canister when you want to leave the house and carry it with you or roll it on a cart. Oxygen is inhaled through a mask or lightweight tube.

Oxygen concentrators are units about the size of a suitcase that use electricity to draw oxygen out of the surrounding air and concentrate it. The oxygen is delivered through a lightweight tube attached to the nose.

Are home oxygen systems covered by medical insurance?

If your doctor prescribes oxygen therapy, then many insurance carriers will cover some or all of the cost. The doctor must often provide the insurance company with proof that oxygen therapy is needed.

When I buy a system, what should I ask for?

Be sure you ask for:

  1. The system to be delivered to your home and set up.
  2. A supply of oxygen and refills. If you're using liquid oxygen, have the technician fill the portable tank and show you how to do it.
  3. A set of written instructions for using the system.
  4. 24-hour emergency service.
  5. The proper documentation to support your medical needs as prescribed by your doctor.
  6. Anything you need for billing the insurance company.

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