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Where do you buy a CPAP?

This area is for CPAP Mask and CPAP Machine Related Questions used in the treatment of Sleep Apnea.

Where do you buy a CPAP?

Postby firefitr26emt » Wed Jul 06, 2005 1:25 pm

Where do you have to buy a CPAP? You don't have to get it as a hospital supply store do you? I am thinking that is where you would get it, because if not where else. My only problem is....My fire chief is a big shot at the local hosp supply place. I would so totally rather he not know if I have sleep apnea. There aren't a lot of other options as far as hospital supply places.

Also How do you get a CPAP, like what are the steps? My sleep lab is the 13, doc appt is the following thurs, I think. I would assume if I have sleep apnea I will leave there with an order for a CPAP. What do I do then?

sorry if this is in FAQ, I am at work and shouldn't be on comp, didn't take time to look, today, but don't recall seeing it before.
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Postby Okie » Wed Jul 06, 2005 3:54 pm

If you have insurance, they most likely have contracts with one or more local Durable Medical Equipment Suppliers, and usually you must by from one of their contracted suppliers to be considered "in-network" for the highest reimbursement level.
After your doctor reviews your sleep study, he will write a prescription for your equipment if needed, including the pressure settings. Hopefully he will also prescribe a heated humidifier.

You will want an 'open" refillable prescription for cpap supplies as needed: mask, parts, hoses, filters, etc.

You could get a list of approved suppliers while you wait by calling the customer service number which is probably on the back of your health insurance card. Then you could call to "interview" those on the list to inquire about what brands they carry, and their services......a good question is if the mask doesn't work, can you return it....a few give you up to 30 days to try your mask.

If you chose to go "out of network" and order online, your insurance MAY pay at the out of network rate,but this doesn't always increase out of pocket costs, as online suppliers are less expensive.
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Postby firefitr26emt » Wed Jul 06, 2005 6:10 pm

If I have to stay in county I am screwed. But my insurance has never made me stay in county for presription knee braces, etc. Only ever had to stay in state. I would just prefer my chief not know that I have tendency to fall asleep so much, especially seeing 80% of our calls are at night, and I have trouble functioning after my pager goes off, if I actually fell asleep. I do not want him removing me from the line because he thinks I am dangerous.
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Postby rested gal » Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:32 am

fireftr, if your privacy is that important to you (sounds like it is) :-) and if you don't mind spending your own money for treatment equipment, you can buy everything the doctor wants you to have (as well as replacement supplies) from online cpap supply stores like cpap.com.

Simply ask the doctor's office to give you your machine prescription, or a copy of it, before you leave the doctor's office. If you are given a copy rather than the original Rx, tell the doctor's office to not send your Rx to any home health care store. You want to take some time deciding where you want to buy your equipment.

You will not have to step foot inside any local DME (Durable Medical Equipment provider - home health care supplies store) at all, if you don't want to. Just buy your machine, mask, humidifier... everything...through the internet, from an online store. That's how I've always bought my own equipment, including machine... online... no insurance.

As Okie mentioned, some insurance companies are willing to reimburse part of the cost of online purchases of medical equipment. Others require that you buy only from their list of providers. That's why I said you might have to do it all out of your own pocket, if your insurance balks and requires that you go to a store on their approved list.

To give you one example of the lowest cost you could expect to pay if you choose to outfit yourself completely at an online store:

Puritan Bennett GoodKnight 420G - $298.00 (straight cpap machine)
Comes with bag, hose, and manuals. That includes the clinician's setup manual...something the local DME will not even let you see, much less give you.

Fisher & Paykel HC 150 heated humidifier - $179.00
Comes with extra water chamber and stand.

ResMed Swift nasal pillows mask - $115.00
Comes with all three sizes of nasal "pillows": small, medium, and large.

With free shipping and no sales tax, that's under $600 for a complete setup using excellent brands of machine and humidifier and mask.

See? It's not going to cost very much to maintain your privacy. :-D

No guesswork about size of mask either, since all three sizes of the nasal pillows are with each Swift. The Swift is a very popular "nasal pillows" mask that is more comfortable for many people than the usual "nasal mask" (covers the nose.) Nasal pillows sit against the openings to the nostrils. The tip of the nasal pillows is just barely inside the nostril openings...not crammed up inside.

If a regular nasal mask is what you think you'd prefer, the virtually leakproof ResMed Activa is the most comfortable of the "covers the nose" type masks in the opinion of many. It's about $95.00. Wouldn't be a bad idea to get both masks - the Swift and the Activa right from the get-go. Many people like to rotate masks on different nights just to give any pressure points a break.

Those are two very comfortable masks for many people, but any one mask can wear out its welcome if worn every night. It's nice to have a different type of mask to switch to, from time to time. Another message board poster put it this way once..."we don't wear the same pair of shoes every day." I like that. :-D

If your doctor wants to put you on a different type of machine more expensive than a straight cpap, the online stores have every type, and the prices are still considerably less than what you'd pay a local DME if you had to pay a local supply store out of your own pocket. Whatever machine the doctor writes for you - you can buy it at an online store with your prescription.

No other piece of equipment bought online requires a prescription. Only the machine needs a prescription. Mask, humidifier, hoses, filters, accessories - none of those need an Rx to buy them from online stores.

Maybe insurance will reimburse you part of the online cost, maybe not. Doesn't hurt to ask. But at least now you have an idea of how little it could cost you if you have to pay for a complete treatment setup yourself.
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Postby Linda » Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:29 am

If you do decide to buy online, one method is to search using Froogle, a Google product search feature.
It may not have every online provider, but it could be a good start.
You will need to search with the proper terms, like cpap, etc.
Also, buyer beware. If you do use an online provider, make sure you are comfortable with their customer service and their policies.
There are advantages to both local and online providers. But in either case, be sure to ask all your questions.
Here is the link:


Also, if you do talk directly to your insurance company and they agree to a specific reimbursement, you might ask them to put that in writing.
I don't know if they will do that, but it might be worth asking. And if not, just be sure to document what you do. If they make a commitment on the phone, note down the day you spoke with them and a name, if you can. Regardless, there are options, like Rested Gal said. It's important to choose the option you are most comfortable with.

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