Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A CPAP device helps prevent breathing problems during sleep by delivering pressurized air through a tube and mask and into your airways. 

CPAP devices and accessories are commonly sold online, but you can also find a selection of CPAP equipment in certain physical stores. As with any medical device, it’s important to do your research when choosing a CPAP device. 

Shopping online offers virtually unlimited selection, but it can feel overwhelming to sift through so many product pages. If you prefer the experience of shopping in-person, the good news is that there are plenty of options. We’ll discuss what types of stores stock CPAP equipment and what to keep in mind when buying.

What Is the Best Place to Buy CPAP Supplies?

You can buy CPAP supplies in-person at large retail stores and durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers. Online retailers also sell a large assortment of CPAP supplies. Ultimately, the best place to buy CPAP supplies depends on your personal preference.

A major benefit to buying CPAP supplies in a brick-and-mortar store is the ability to see the product beforehand. If it’s your first time using CPAP therapy, you may find it helpful to be able to try on different mask models, see how the devices compare, and get personalized advice from customer service agents. It may also be easier to return the device if it doesn’t work out.

Online retailers tend to offer a larger selection, and they may offer subscription plans so you don’t have to worry about remembering to replace your filters, cushions, and headgear.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) SupplierA durable medical equipment (DME) supplier is licensed to sell medical equipment for long-term use in your home. If the supplier is enrolled in Medicare and if they accept assignment, then qualifying buyers can get most of their costs covered through Medicare Part B.

Suppliers are regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which helps guarantee they meet certain quality standards and sell reliable equipment. Since they specialize in medical equipment, DME suppliers can also help you set up your insurance coverage or help with other questions.
Large Retail StoresLarge retail stores often sell CPAP supplies at competitive price-points, and they may offer further discounts around major holidays.

Note that general retail stores may not have specialized knowledge about CPAP therapy, and they probably won’t be able to help you sort out your insurance. Retail stores are also less likely to be covered by your health insurance plan, so be sure to check if this is important to you.

What to Consider When Buying CPAP Supplies

Whether buying online or in-store, there are several things to be aware of when purchasing a CPAP machine and accessories.

Buy From a Credible Retailer

CPAP therapy blows air directly into your lungs, so it’s very important to purchase a system that’s clean and in proper working condition. Buying from a reliable, licensed retailer helps minimize the risk of receiving a defective or unsanitary device, and ensures you’re covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

While it’s possible to use a secondhand CPAP device, we generally recommend against it given the potential health consequences of using an outdated, broken, or unsanitary machine. If you do opt for a secondhand device, you should only obtain it through a licensed provider.

Ensure Compatibility

CPAP therapy involves several different parts, including the mask, the CPAP device itself, the tubing, and accessories such as a humidifier. While some parts are standardized to work between brands, others are not, so be sure to always check before buying. 

Parts made by the same manufacturer are more likely to be compatible, and you can usually double-check this with compatibility tables provided by the manufacturer. If you’re in doubt, or if you just like mixing-and-matching brands, you can talk to your doctor, ask the shop assistant, or reach out to the manufacturer directly.

Check for Insurance Coverage

Medicare, Medicaid, and many other insurance companies cover a significant portion of the cost of CPAP therapy, but only if you meet certain usage requirements and obtain the machine through an approved supplier.

If you’re using original Medicare or Medicaid, your doctor or supplier is required to submit the insurance claim on your behalf. If you’re covered under a different plan, consult your policy to see whether your insurance covers CPAP and get information on how to submit a claim.

Note that you need a prescription to purchase a CPAP device or mask, although certain accessories such as the humidifier or mask replacement parts are sold over-the-counter. Be aware that health insurance plans are less likely to cover optional CPAP accessories, such as a travel CPAP or a CPAP battery.

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