How Can I Treat Sleep Apnea Without Health Insurance?

You have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Now what? First, it is important to begin by understanding what sleep apnea is and why it is important to treat. Pauses in breathing during sleep are called sleep apneas. These events typically last between 10 seconds and several minutes and occur when the airway collapses, restricting normal airflow. As a result, oxygen does not reach the brain. In response, the brain—recognizing the inadequate breathing—increases carbon dioxide levels to awaken the body. Your heart rate and blood pressure spike and you wake up gasping or choking. And, most of the time, you don’t even realize this is happening!

Untreated sleep apnea causes sluggishness and drowsiness.

What Does Sleep Apnea Feel Like?

What you do notice is that you wake up sluggish and tired. You may suffer from increased headaches or migraines, daytime sleepiness, inability to focus or concentrate, or depression. Lack of sleep impacts your physical and mental health, and your general quality of life. Long-term complications from obstructive sleep apnea include high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological complications, and stroke. In short, sleep apnea should be treated immediately.

The easiest and most effective method to treat obstructive sleep apnea is with continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP therapy. A CPAP machine works by providing a constant flow of pressurized air to support the upper airway from collapsing during sleep. Now, you know what you need but how do you get started? Do you have to go through your insurance?

Do You Need Health Insurance?

The first thing to know is that a CPAP machine is considered durable medical equipment and most insurance companies do cover CPAP therapy. However, your insurance coverage will vary by provider and generally come with deductibles and copayments. As a result, people are increasingly weighing the costs versus benefits of using insurance.

For example, an increase in the deductible typically leads to a reduction in monthly health care spending. When policy deductibles are rising, insurance companies are reducing the reimbursement rate for medical equipment expenses. So, even if you have reached your $5000 deductible, your insurance company may only cover 50% of the cost of durable medical equipment—ie, CPAP equipment.

What are Alternatives to Insurance?

As a result, people are increasingly taking a more proactive approach and looking beyond insurance. They are doing your own research, discussing products in forums, directly speaking to equipment providers, price shopping, and understanding the cost of the equipment. What you’ll notice is that online providers have a larger selection of potions and newer technology than insurance providers. Your insurer typically offers 2-3 machines or masks. They are typically lower cost models in only a couple brand names. The CPAP Shop, for example, offers over 900 CPAP products, including many CPAP machines and mask options in all different price ranges to fit your individual needs.

As you begin online shopping, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to look for a reputable provider and supplier. There are many online retailers that sell used products. Confirm that the products that you are purchasing are new and come with guarantees or warranties. Second, check the company’s website for an address, phone number, and physical address so you know they can be easily reached. Finally, call and talk to the staff. A company that has been around for a while will have a knowledgeable staff that can you walk you through any questions you may have or help you compare products to make the best choice for your needs. Most online providers can offer payment plans to make CPAP therapy an affordable option on any budget.

Chris Vasta

Author

Chris Vasta

Over a 10+ year career at PHH Mortgage managing a $100 million portfolio, Chris Vasta learned the ins and outs of the business world. He learned how to establish business relationships, lead a multi-prong team, and implement strategies for long-term growth. In 2007, Vasta used that experience to transition his role into president of The CPAP Shop. Over his tenure, Vasta has been involved in everything from website design to warehouse layout. His hands-on approach with customers has evolved into an in-depth understanding of the challenges of beginning and adhering to sleep therapy. He often provides his insights on product…


14 Comments Leave new

  • Vicki Nelezen

    Had a CPAP before, terribly expensive

    • Chris Vasta

      There are some more economically friendly CPAP machines available. The DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Standard Travel CPAP Machine with humidifier (SKU# DV53D-HH), is $385.00 and the Auto version of that machine is $499.00 (SKU# DV54D-HH). Our company also works with a company called Bread to offer financing options. If you have any questions, please reach out to our customer service representatives at 1-(866)414-9700.

  • robert white

    I only need supplies, pillows. fillters, hose, ect. Can i get them from you w/o a prescription?

    • Chris Vasta

      Indeed, you may place the order for the items mentioned. We would appreciate a prescription when you are able to provide it. However, if you place an order for the items mentioned, they would ship out prior to you providing that documentation. If you would like to place an order with us, please reach out to 1-(866)-414-9700.

  • Terry

    Hi I bought a machine at a yard sale an this year I lost my job an insurance. I snore real loud an after cleaning this machine it works would it be safe to use like I said no job or insurance not much left over every week

  • Kelley

    Hello, my husband was treated a few years ago with insurance at a clinic and received a bipap avaps respironics cpap machine. It is now malfunctioning, beeping after a few minutes to a half hour after use. He no longer has insurance. He is in such distress while sleeping and falling asleep all day long. What are our options? Can we buy another machine, I believe there is a card in the machine with his info. Can that be transfered to another machine? Help 🙁 Thank you.

    • Chris Vasta

      Hello, Kelley. Your husband would either have a CPAP machine or a BiPAP machine. A CPAP machine has one pressure and a Bipap has two pressures, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. You are welcome to purchase a machine from our company. However, we would need the original sleep study results with the diagnosis of sleep apnea or a prescription. No, the Data saved on the SD card would not be able to be transfered to a new machine.

  • Debra

    Good afternoon,
    How would I go about ordering replacement supplies without insurance, and how much would the items be for the machine that I have? I can’t afford to spend too much. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve had supplies delivered but of course, I had insurance at that time. I have the RedMed AirSense 10 with heated tubing. I also use the Dreamwear Nasal Mask. I’m in need of the mask, tubing, and filters. I clean my supplies but as I mentioned, these items are over 2 years old. I’m now dealing with a sinus infection which I’m sure is attributed to the equipment.

  • Joe Rhea

    Chris hello. I am 49 and suffer from sleep apnea. But my cause is not a very common cause. I broke my neck at age 14, suffered paralysis as well and due to the narrowing of my spinal column and the way my neck is now shaped I have sleep apnea. I am tired al the time, and rarely get more than a few hours sleep. I do not have insurance and only Uber for my income. So money is tight. I need someone to help.

    • Chris Vasta

      Hello, Joe. I hope you are able to get a restful night sleep soon. Your best bet would be to reach out to ASAA Cpap Assistance Programe, which can be reached at 1 888-293-3650 or check out
      Sleepapena.org

  • David Garcia

    Question are there any Grant’s or foundations can help someone diagnosed with pulmanary hypotension
    With no insurance and unable to work so limited income
    This person is my daughter Vida Garcia she has 6 children
    The Ssdi and ssi are slow processes
    Dr advised her she needed cpap every night I am reaching hoping to get some help
    PH has a short life expectancy
    thank you

    • Chris Vasta

      Hello, David. I am sorry to hear that your daughter is struggling with pulmonary hypertension. There is the (ASAA) American Sleep Apnea Association, which can be reached at 888-293-3650. If you were interested in purchasing a machine, we have financial assistance available through Affrim.

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