Another installment in “Diaries of a Millennial with Sleep Apnea.” Today, I am going to share more about the process for getting my CPAP machine. Last week I discussed the process of getting diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea.
The sleep clinic sent my CPAP prescription to a local medical device company, and they walked me through the entire process. It felt like there were a lot of steps, and many phone calls, but in reality it was a simple process. The sleep clinic asked me if I had a preferred medical device company, and since I do not, they selected Carolina’s Hometown Respiratory (CHR). Everyone who I spoke with was so nice and easy to work with.
CHR called me a few times before I was able to get my equipment ordered – to let me know that they had gotten my order, to let me know that they had gotten insurance approval, to walk me through the cost of the CPAP and take payment, and then to make my fitting appointment. In my case, it costs about $1,000. Some of which I had to pay up-front, and the rest will be paid monthly for 10 months until it is paid off, since that is how my insurance required it to be billed. For reference, we have a high deductible health plan. A CPAP machine is expected to last 3-5 years, however the tubing and masks get replaced much more frequently than that.
To get fitted for my CPAP, I was able to select if I wanted to go into the office to meet with a respiratory therapist, or have the machine shipped to me and go through my orientation via Zoom. I opted for an in-person orientation since I had no idea what to expect, and I wasn’t sure how I would be able to easily pick out a mask virtually (I assume they send you all the options to try out while you meet with your respiratory therapist, but since I wasn’t going that route, I didn’t ask a lot of questions). They were able to get me in for an appointment early that next week.
In all, it took me about 2 weeks from diagnosis to bringing my CPAP machine home, which I don’t think is too bad considering the red tape of the insurance industry.
My orientation with the respiratory therapist was pretty quick and easy! My main takeaways were: the CPAP machine itself is smaller and MUCH quieter than I had imagined, the mask isn’t as uncomfortable as I had anticipated, and there is an opportunity to swap out your mask within the first 30 days – if your first choice turned out to not be a good fit for you. After about 45 minutes of practicing with the machine, trying on different types of masks, and learning the proper cleaning procedures, I was headed home with (hopefully) my key to a good night’s sleep.
I will be back next week with another installment, sharing more information about my first month of treatment!!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains the authors researched opinions as well as actual experiences, and not one of a medical professional. Please consult to your medical professional for their official opinion on items referenced here, and defer to them in case of any conflict.