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If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you might need to purchase a CPAP machine. Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects 2% – 9% of adults. People with sleep apnea have trouble breathing throughout the night because their airway becomes obstructed. Often, sleep apnea patients do not realize they have the disorder until they undergo a sleep study.
Sleep apnea interferes with a person’s ability to receive deep, restorative sleep. As a result, people with sleep apnea can experience the following symptoms:
Although there are a few treatment options for sleep apnea, a CPAP machine is the most common treatment. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine sits next to the sleeper’s bed. The machine pumps air through a tube into a mask that covers the sleeper’s nose, or nose and mouth. This air keeps the sleeper’s airway from becoming obstructed during sleep.
Doctors generally recommend sleep apnea patients purchase a CPAP machine and use it nightly. A few different types of CPAP machines and accessories exist. The cost of a CPAP machine can vary quite a bit depending on its brand and features.
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A CPAP machine’s cost can range anywhere from $250 to $1,000 or more, with prices generally rising for machines with more advanced features. Most CPAP machines fall in the $500 to $800 range, however. BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) machines are more complex and tend to cost more as a result. Most BiPAP machines cost $1,000 to $3,000, but some can run as high as $6,000. These prices don’t include accessories.
Your CPAP machine cost will also vary based on whether or not you have insurance, and if you do, what type of coverage you have.. Some medical insurance policies cover the majority of the machine’s cost, while others cover only a fraction. This section focuses on the retail price of CPAP machines pre-insurance.
|Machine Type||Cost Range|
|CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)||$250 to $1,000|
|BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure)||$1,000 to $6,000|
|Auto CPAP or APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure)||$450 to $1,800|
The cost of CPAP machines varies quite a bit depending on the machine’s features. The simplest CPAP machines are often called “standard” CPAP machines. These machines cost the least of all CPAP machines. They must be manually set to a specific air pressure. Standard CPAP machines push out air at one rate, which does not change throughout the night.
Additional features can increase the cost of standard CPAP machines. For example, a machine with a heated humidifier costs more than a machine without one. A heated humidifier allows sleepers to add a little heat to the air coming out of their CPAP machine. This heat can reduce dryness and increase comfort, so the sleeper is less likely to have a dry mouth or sore throat after using the CPAP.
Auto CPAP machines, sometimes called Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) machines, tend to cost more than standard CPAP machines. These machines often look similar to standard CPAP machines, but they are more technologically advanced.
Auto CPAP machines automatically adjust the rate at which they push out air based on the sleeper’s needs at a given moment. At certain points in the sleep cycle, sleepers are more likely to experience obstructions and require more air. At other points in the sleep cycle, sleepers are more easily awakened. Auto CPAP machines are less likely to wake a sleeper, since they do not blow out air too forcefully for the sleeper’s current sleep stage.
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines are the most technologically advanced machines of the three types and also the most costly. BiPAP machines provide two different air pressures: one for the sleeper’s inhale and one for the sleeper’s exhale. Many sleepers feel more comfortable experiencing a lower air pressure as they exhale and sleep better as a result.
All CPAP machines require accessories to be used. Most retailers sell CPAP machines individually and sell the accessories separately. Some retailers offer CPAP machine sets or bundles that come with both the base CPAP unit and the required accessories.
Some CPAP machines have a heated humidifier unit built-in, while other machines require the humidifier to be purchased separately as an attachment. CPAP machines generally come with their own power supply unit, which plugs into standard outlets.Sleepers can expect to need the following accessories for their CPAP machine:
CPAP accessories must be replaced on a regular basis, so there are ongoing costs associated with them. Mask cushions and CPAP filters should be replaced monthly. Tubing should be replaced every three months. Other mask components and CPAP machine accessories may be replaced every six months, or as they begin to show wear and tear.
CPAP air filters can cost anywhere from $5 to $30 each, depending on the type of machine. Headgear and mask sets generally cost $100 or more. Smaller pieces that need replacing more often, such as mask cushions, range from $20 to $100.
Insurance providers may cover the total or partial cost of CPAP accessories, so sleepers should check with their healthcare provider before buying accessories out of pocket.
Health insurance companies often cover the cost of CPAP machines and accessories. Sleepers who need a CPAP machine should check with their insurance company for details before buying a CPAP machine using their own money.
CPAP machines are generally considered “durable medical equipment” by health insurance companies. The deductibles and copays for durable medical equipment tend to differ from those associated with doctor’s visits and procedures.
A health insurance company usually only covers a CPAP machine if they know it is medically necessary. To prove medical necessity, the patient must usually undergo a sleep study, and their medical provider must confirm to the insurance company that the results of the sleep study suggest the sleeper would benefit from using a CPAP machine.
Some insurance companies require sleepers to technically “rent” their CPAP machine for a certain amount of time, such as a year. The sleeper must pay a monthly co-pay for that time period. Once it ends, they will own the CPAP machine outright.