Does Medicare Cover Humidifiers?
Medicare will only cover an oxygen humidifier if used with another type of durable medical equipment (DME), like a CPAP machine, and is deemed medically necessary. In those circumstances, Medicare will cover 80 percent of the cost. Humidifiers or similar devices for any other purpose will not be covered.
When Will Medicare Cover Humidifiers?
Medicare primarily covers retirement age individuals who are 65 and older and younger people with disabilities; however, Medicare Parts A and Part B – mutually known as Original Medicare – does not cover all medical costs.
Medicare Part B will cover an oxygen humidifier only if your conditions and treatment are medically necessary when combined with another device you are using. This includes CPAP machines, respiratory assist devices and oxygen equipment.
A humidifier that you want for environmental control, comfort or any non-medical reason will not be covered by Medicare.
- Air purifiers
- Electric air cleaners
- Humidifiers for environmental control
- Room heaters
According to the University of Michigan, a CPAP machine can help someone with sleep apnea breathe more easily while they are asleep. Still, it can also cause throat irritation, nasal irritation and difficulty breathing through your nose. A humidifier paired with a CPAP machine, however, can alleviate those breathing issues.
What Humidifier Equipment Does Medicare Pay For?
Medicare will cover 80 percent of the cost for a humidifier that is deemed medically necessary. If you are using the humidifier with an oxygen machine, the monthly fee will include both sets of equipment.
If you are using a CPAP machine or other similar device and are struggling with symptoms that an oxygen humidifier could alleviate, check with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine if one could be deemed medically necessary.
A doctor may order this with your equipment automatically. A humidifier that you want for any other purpose will most likely not be covered by Medicare.
Medicare Eligibility for Humidifier Coverage
Durable medical equipment is designed to treat health issues. There is a chance that you could get Medicare to cover a humidifier for a different reason if you could prove that it is a medical necessity.
A Medicare Advantage plan, which offers everything included in Original Medicare and additional benefits, could provide expanded coverage for a humidifier. Medicare supplemental insurance could also help with some of the costs if you qualify for an oxygen humidifier.
What Are Humidifiers Used For?
A humidifier generates moisture in the air of your room, which can alleviate throat or nose irritation and dryness. Humidifiers are beneficial if you are sick since they can reduce your symptoms, nasal passage swelling and help you to breath more easily. An oxygen humidifier will moisturize the oxygen that you are receiving to prevent irritating side effects.
Humidifiers are often used when it’s cold outside and you have the heat on to keep the air in your home from becoming too dry. According to Consumer Reports, cool mist humidifiers are the most common type sold.
9 Cited Research Articles
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (February, 1991). Use and Care of Home Humidifiers. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-08/documents/humidifier_factsheet.pdf
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2017, June). Humidifiers for oxygen therapy: what risk for reusable and disposable devices? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5584085/
- Consumer Reports. (2020, February 3). Humidifier Buying Guide. Retrieved from https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/humidifiers/buying-guide/index.htm#:~:text=February%202%2C%202021-,Types%20of%20Humidifiers,house%20humidifiers%20at%20this%20time
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2020, July 10). Respiratory Assist Devices EUAs. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-emergency-use-authorizations-medical-devices/respiratory-assist-devices-euas
- University of Michigan Medicine. (2020, October 26). Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw48752
- U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, May 4). Humidifiers and health. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002104.htm
- American Sleep Apnea Association. (n.d.). Here is a list of common complaints from CPAP users, do any of these sound familiar. Retrieved from https://www.sleepapnea.org/treat/cpap-therapy/what-you-should-know-about-cpap-humidification/the-importance-of-cpap-humidification/
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Humidifiers. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/humidifiers
- U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (n.d.) National Coverage Determination for Durable Medical Equipment Reference List. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/details/ncd-details.aspx?NCDId=190&ncdver=1&bc=AAAAEAAAAQAA&