A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can cost $500 to $1000 or more, depending on the machine’s features and the cost of needed accessories. Fortunately, some or all of these costs may be reimbursed if you have health insurance.
CPAP therapy is commonly used to treat sleep apnea, a disorder that interferes with breathing during sleep. Treating sleep apnea is an important way to protect your health, yet the process of purchasing a CPAP machine and accessories can sometimes be confusing and time-consuming.
Improve your sleep apnea while saving money by reading about the most affordable ways to buy CPAP machines, accessories, and cleaning supplies. If you are concerned about the cost of treating your sleep apnea, learn about resources for paying for CPAP supplies.
What Is a CPAP Machine?
A CPAP machine is a device that uses tubing and a mask to pump pressurized air into your airway while you sleep. Air is pushed through either the nose, mouth, or both to prevent your airway from collapsing and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Following a sleep study – or home sleep study – a doctor may prescribe a CPAP machine for the treatment of sleep apnea or a number of other conditions such as respiratory failure, COPD, and heart failure.
CPAP is a type of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. While CPAP is often the first method used to treat sleep apnea, doctors may recommend other types of PAP therapy using a BiPAP or an APAP machine. While each uses pressure to keep your airway open during sleep, these machines are slightly different in how they treat sleep apnea.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): A CPAP machine provides consistent pressurized air at an unchanging rate throughout the night.
- Bilevel airway pressure (BiPAP): A BiPAP machine uses more pressure during inhalation and less pressure during exhalation.
- Auto-titrating positive airway pressure (APAP): An APAP machine automatically adjusts the pressure in response to snoring and other changes in your breathing.
Understanding the Cost of CPAP Machines
The cost of a CPAP machine ranges from around $500 to $1000 or more. That said, the amount you pay will depend on the exact type of PAP machine prescribed, your insurance coverage, and any accessories or cleaning supplies that are needed.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Machine
Paying for CPAP With Insurance
If you have health insurance, the cost of a CPAP machine may be covered if it is prescribed by a doctor. However, most health insurance plans have out-of-pocket fees that must be paid before they cover medical costs.
- Copay: Copays are a set amount that you pay for certain services. This is often applied to a doctor visit or a prescription.
- Coinsurance: Coinsurance is a set percentage you pay for appointments and services.
- Deductible: Deductibles are the total amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance will begin to cover medical costs.
A CPAP machine is considered a piece of durable medical equipment (DME), which describes medical equipment that is prescribed for regular and long-term use. You can reach out to your insurance company to learn more about your coverage for DME and the costs you may need to pay out of pocket.
Medicare and many private insurance companies seek evidence of consistent use of the CPAP machine as prescribed in order to maintain coverage. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require that, within the first 30-days of using a CPAP, you must use your machine 70% of nights for at least four hours each night.
To ensure that you are compliant in using your CPAP machine, data on usage may be collected by the machine and shared with your doctor and insurance company. If you are not compliant in using the CPAP machine regularly, you may be required to pay for CPAP therapy out of pocket.
Paying for CPAP Out-of-Pocket
Although purchasing a CPAP machine still requires a prescription from a doctor, people without health insurance may decide to buy a CPAP machine out of pocket rather than through their insurance company. When buying a CPAP machine, it can be helpful to shop around to find the best price.
Although purchasing a CPAP out of pocket allows you to get around the compliance regulations imposed by an insurance company, it is still important to work with your doctor to determine the appropriate type of machine and pressure. Using your CPAP machine consistently provides the greatest health benefits, and your doctor can help address any issues or discomforts that arise.
Which Is Cheaper for a CPAP Machine: Insurance or Out-of-Pocket?
To determine the least expensive method of buying a CPAP machine, shop around and carefully compare the cost of paying out of pocket with renting or buying a CPAP machine through your insurance company. Several tips may help you figure out which method is right for you.
- Learn about DME coverage: Finding out how your insurance covers durable medical equipment such CPAPs and CPAP supplies is the first step in determining the cheapest way to pay for your machine.
- Add up out-of-pocket costs: When calculating the cost of buying a CPAP machine through insurance, be sure to include the cost of copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
- Ask about compliance requirements: Ask your insurance company whether you are subject to compliance requirements in order to maintain your coverage.
- Look for discounts: When looking at CPAP machines, check for discounts that may be available. Companies that sell CPAP machines may offer discounts to people paying out-of-pocket or without insurance.
How Much Do CPAP Masks and Accessories Cost?
The cost of CPAP masks and accessories vary based on their brand, design, and features. The price of masks can range from $20 to $250. Accessories start as low as $1 for replacement filters and go up to $300 or more for an external humidifier. CPAP masks and some accessories may be covered by your health insurance.
CPAP masks come in several styles, including nasal masks, nasal pillows, oronasal masks, oral masks, and full-face masks. While a doctor can help you choose the mask that offers the right combination of fit and comfort, it can be helpful to tell your doctor about any preferences you have for a certain mask style.
CPAP Mask Style
There are a number of accessories available for CPAP machines. Accessories may be included with the purchase of a CPAP, or they may need to be purchased separately.
Common CPAP accessories include straps to position your mask, tubing to connect the mask to the machine, cushions to make the mask more comfortable, filters to clean the pressurized air, and a replacement for the humidifier chamber that adds moisture to the air.
Along with the initial purchase of a CPAP mask and accessories, certain parts and supplies need to be replaced on a regular schedule. It is important to talk to your doctor and the supplier of the CPAP machine to learn more about how often each part should be replaced.
How Much Do CPAP Cleaning Supplies Cost?
The cost of CPAP cleaning supplies vary based on whether you choose to use special cleaning products or simply soap and water. While there are a wide variety of cleaning supplies available, it is important to follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer of your CPAP machine.
CPAP machines and accessories should be cleaned on a regular basis. Fortunately, most parts of your CPAP machine can be removed and washed in soap and water, and the machine itself can be wiped down with a damp cloth. Commercially available cleaning supplies include cleaning solutions, disinfectant sprays, mask wipes, and tube cleaning brushes.
CPAP Cleaning Solutions
Mask Disinfectant Sprays
Tube Cleaning Brushes
There are also several standalone machines that claim to have the ability to sanitize CPAP components using either ozone gas or ultraviolet (UV) light. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns CPAP users against using these machines, as they haven’t been tested for effectiveness or safety, and some users have reported side effects.
Resources for Paying for CPAP Machines
For some patients, the cost of CPAP supplies can be a barrier for getting needed sleep apnea treatment. If you are struggling to pay for a CPAP machine or accessories, consider contacting an organization that provides support.
- Financial Assistance: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) provides information about locating financial assistance for the treatment of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea.
- CPAPTalk.com: CPAPTalk is an online community of CPAP users. Users help each other by answering questions about a wide array of CPAP related topics, including resources related to paying for CPAP machines.
- Used and Refurbished CPAP Machines: SecondWind CPAP is an outlet for purchasing discounted new and lightly used CPAP and BiPAP machines.
- The Sleep Safe Program: Breathe California is a local nonprofit that offers services to residents of California that are looking for assistance in purchasing a CPAP machine.