Need for Supplemental Oxygen Increases with Age - How Long Should an Oxygen Concentrator Last?

Over 1.5 million Americans use supplemental oxygen therapy due to various breathing issues. For example, people with low oxygen levels caused by COPD benefit from supplemental oxygen therapy. How long your equipment will last will depend on usage.

Recommend This Page
Need for Supplemental Oxygen Increases with Age - How Long Should an Oxygen Concentrator Last?
4 Min Read June 3rd, 2022 Updated:August 15th, 2022

An oxygen concentrator is a medical device that provides the life-saving oxygen everyone needs for life. These devices filter the surrounding air, compress it to the proper density, and then deliver purified oxygen to the individual who needs it. Over 1.5 million people in the United States require supplemental oxygen.

The American Lung Association lists several health conditions that can require supplemental oxygen, either temporarily or long-term:

Health Insurance/Medicare Might Cover Some of the Cost

However, oxygen concentrators are not cheap. Oxygen must be prescribed by a doctor to start with before it can be used.  

Health insurance and Medicare may cover some of the cost of an oxygen concentrator as durable medical equipment in some cases.

For example, Medicare Part B will usually cover oxygen if the individual meets certain conditions. Medicare covers oxygen equipment rentals for use in your home, including equipment such as:

  • Systems that provide oxygen

  • Containers that store oxygen

  • Tubing, masks, mouthpieces, and other supplies and accessories that deliver oxygen

  • Servicing, maintenance, and repairs of equipment and supplies

Medicare may also cover humidifiers if used along with your oxygen equipment. Medicare also will cover the rental of oxygen concentrators and other oxygen equipment for up to five years, as long as you continue to have a medical need for oxygen therapy.

If the person has Medicare Part B, they can rent the oxygen concentrator from a supplier for 36 months (three years). After that period, your supplier will continue to provide coverage for an additional 24 months (two years).

After five years, a new five-year contract with the same or different supplier. If you own the equipment, Medicare Part B covers the cost of oxygen contents and supplies if all of the following apply:

  • Your doctor determines that you are not getting enough oxygen

  • Your doctor believes your health might improve with oxygen therapy

  • Your arterial blood gas level falls within a certain range

  • Other alternative treatments have been tried and failed

You will pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the oxygen concentrator after you meet your Part B deductible ($233 per year in 2022 – deductible increases slightly every year).

Medicare.gov details some additional coverage rules for oxygen equipment under certain circumstances.

How Long Will an Oxygen Concentrator Last?

How long will the equipment last? It depends on whether a traditional oxygen concentrator or a portable one is used. When it is time to replace the equipment, you should review the available options for yourself or a loved one.

  • Traditional Oxygen Concentrator Longevity

The lifespan of your oxygen concentrator will depend on several factors, such as the temperature, humidity and quality of the air, frequency of use, and age and weight. Older and heavier machines have been known to last up to 20,000 hours, which is slightly over two calendar years of continuous use. Newer machines typically last up to 10,000 hours, just over one year of constant use.

  • Portable Oxygen Concentrator Longevity

The lifespan of your portable oxygen concentrator depends on a few different variables, such as air temperature, humidity, and frequency of use. Since most people do not use their portable oxygen concentrators constantly, these machines can last a considerably long time for their size. Most portable oxygen concentrators will last up to 2,000 hours, just under three months of continuous use.

Maintenance

Regular maintenance must be performed to lengthen the lifespan of either your traditional home oxygen concentrator or your portable one. Remove dust and any other dirt buildup at least once a month with a soft, damp cloth while the machine is off. You can use cleaning wipes to sanitize it, but do not use ones with alcohol or any harsh chemicals. 

Depending on the brand and machine, the external and internal filters will also need to be consistently replaced. External filters are easy to replace, but you may need a technician to replace the internal filters.

The machine probably came with two accessories that will also need to be cleaned: the tubing and cannula. Since these accessories are in constant contact with the face, they will need to be cleaned daily. 

Wipe the outside of the tubing down every day with an alcohol-free sanitizing wipe similar to what is used to clean the outside of the machine itself. If dirt buildup occurs inside the tubing, it's safer to replace it than to try to clean it.

When to Replace?

When maintenance no longer keeps your machine in working order, it will be time to replace it. You should consider several factors when replacing your machine, such as the noise level, battery life, and warranty. These are some of the most important factors when you pick your first machine when you choose its replacement, so examine your options and choose wisely.

So, how long should an oxygen concentrator last? If you use a traditional home concentrator all day, every day, it will last one to two years based on the model and year. If you use a portable concentrator constantly, which is unlikely, it will last almost three months. Regular maintenance will extend your machines' longevity so you can use them longer. When you can no longer safely maintain them, you'll need to replace them.

Improving Quality of Life

Oxygen therapy can improve a person's health and overall quality of life. Some people hate the idea of using oxygen for a variety of reasons; however, people have found that it gives them more independence, and they soon forget about any embarrassment or hassle of using the device.

Some people will have to monitor their oxygen use closely, including watching for oxygen and carbon dioxide imbalance. Blood tests can be ordered to watch for these concerns.

Don't forget that oxygen is highly flammable. You do not want to smoke while using oxygen or be near someone who is smoking or using some electrical devices such as heating pads.

If a caregiver is helping the care recipient with their oxygen use, they will be trained on how to assist in making sure the equipment is working correctly.

The National Council on Aging provides additional information about Oxygen Concentrators, aging, caregiving on other related health issues.

Recommend This Page

About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

If you already use supplemental oxygen and are looking for new coverage for long-term health care, you probably are uninsurable. There are a few options depending on your other health issues.

As we get older, our health declines. Our bodies change, and we experience mobility problems and even memory issues. Planning for the future costs and burdens of declining health and aging should start when you still have reasonably good health.

Every insurance company has its own underwriting criteria. When reviewing Long-Term Care Insurance options, be sure your insurance agent understands underwriting and works with the top companies. Usually, working with a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist is the best way to find the right coverage at the right price. 

Being prepared for future long-term health care will give you and your family peace of mind as you get older. For many people, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is the solution giving you access to your choice of quality care options, including care in your home.

An LTC policy safeguards income and assets and gives your loved ones the time to be family instead of your caregiver. There are consequences when you lack a plan for long-term health care. Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for most long-term care expenses. Medicaid is only the solution when you have little or no income and assets. 

Most people obtain Long-Term Care Insurance coverage in their 50s. Delaying increases the cost of the insurance and increases the risk of being ineligible to even get coverage at all.

Seek Professional Help Planning for Long-Term Care

Experts recommend seeking the help of a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you find the right coverage. A specialist will match your age, health, and family history with the right coverage at the right price. 

Long-term care is a very specialized area, and few insurance agents and financial advisors have the expertise. Find a specialist who represents the top companies as premiums can vary over 100% between insurance companies. Leading specialists will often have over 500 clients with Long-Term Care Insurance.

A specialist will save you money, and you will have peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Planning Tools and Resources Available on LTC NEWS

Planning for the future is never easy, but long-term health care planning can be very complicated and comes with many emotions. Getting the right tools and resources will make the process much easier.

One of the goals is to reduce the stress and anxiety usually placed on your family at the time of crisis. LTC NEWS can be beneficial in providing you with important information for you to consider.

LTC NEWS has put in place several resources, including:

You might have questions about long-term health care planning and LTC NEWS answers many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions | LTC News.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Need Help Now for Mom or Dad?

If your family is already in crisis and you need to find help for mom or dad, LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

Get Assistance in Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim

Many insurance companies have issued Long-Term Care Insurance policies over the years. Filing a claim can sometimes be complicated unless you know what to do or get expert help and assistance. 

Don't allow the claim process to stop you from using the benefits available in an LTC policy. Quality care obtained early will help provide a better quality of life and reduce the risk of a deep decline and facility care. 

If you need help in starting the process of a Long-Term Care Insurance claim, LTC NEWS can help. LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation to help you or a loved one complete the claims process with a Long-Term Care Insurance policy. We have teamed up with Amada Senior Care, who will do all the work - free with no obligation. 

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News

Advantages of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance. You might be eligible at younger ages as well. 

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, and even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. Mike Banner, LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

Be A Guest Contributor for LTC NEWS - Share Your Knowledge 

LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive to LTC NEWS and not just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

Your Marketing and Advertising Partner – LTC NEWS

Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

Shared Links

LTC NEWS offers a 'helpful links' page so readers looking for additional information can find them easily. You can get a dofollow link to your website on LTC NEWS in exchange for a dofollow link on your site.

Let's work together and help consumers who search for us on the web - Site Request | LTC News.

You can also affordably purchase a dofollow link to your website or blog on LTC NEWS. Just contact the advertising department.

Sharing News with LTC NEWS 

Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com  

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Get Accurate Quotes

Work With A Trusted Specialist

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies
man and woman sitting at desk
Connect With a Long-Term Care Specialist

Find Affordable Insurance and the Right Coverage.

LTC News Trusted & Verified
Learn More
Latest
  • Latest

  • Oldest

Everything
  • Homecare

  • Health

  • Government

  • Care Facilities

  • Pets

  • People

  • Lifestyle

  • Insurance

Step 1 of 4

Find a Specialist

Get Started Today

Trusted & Verified Specialists

Work with a trusted Long-Term Care Insurance Specialist Today

  • Has substantial experience in Long-Term Care Insurance
  • A strong understanding of underwriting, policy design, and claims experience
  • Represents all or most of all the leading insurance companies

LTC News Trusted & Verified

Compare Insurers

+

Claim this listing

Fill out this short form

Step Number:

1
2
3

Request Listing Edit

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Step Number:

1
2
3

Are you a customer of this business, or are you an employee?