Humidifiers are popular home appliances, especially during the winter months. When it’s dry and cold outside, we tend to raise the heat inside to stay warm. Unfortunately, the lack of moisture in the air can contribute to uncomfortably cracked skin and chapped lips. Dry air can also lead to more serious health issues, like bronchitis, sinusitis, and dehydration. Humidifiers can help prevent the spread of viruses and alleviate symptoms of respiratory conditions such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Although there are different types, cool-air mist humidifiers tend to be the most popular, especially when children and pets will be around. Warm mist or steam humidifiers can cause burns or skin irritation. Regulating the humidity levels can keep the amount of water vapor in the air balanced, making it healthier for everyone. Adding moisture to the air can reduce your chances of getting cold or flu germs and lower your risk of infection.

Before choosing a humidifier, consider your options and discuss any health concerns you may have with your physician first. It is important that a humidifier is kept clean, but features such as antibacterial protection and permanent filters can help. Cleaning the filter as directed and changing the water often will keep harmful mold, bacteria or fungus from accumulating.

While Medicare does not usually cover humidifiers, it can help pay for oxygen humidifiers that are used with durable medical equipment (DME) when you doctor states that it is medically necessary. Most of the time, you will have to pay 100% of the cost for a humidifier. If you require a humidifier along with oxygen, it will be considered part of your Part B DME benefits.

You can get your Medicare Part A and Part B benefits through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. MA plans are required to provide at least the same coverage as Original Medicare, but many offer additional benefits. Check with your MA plan to learn more about your exact costs.

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