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The Cost of Sleep Apnea

Medically Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on June 15, 2021

Sleep apnea is a disorder that happens when your breathing is disrupted while you sleep. The condition affects sleep quality -- and it can also affect your pocketbook.

An analysis by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that people with sleep apnea pay an average of $2,105 per year for testing, medical appointments, treatment devices, and surgery if necessary.

From pricey therapies to lost work output, the costs of sleep apnea can add up.

The First Step: Check Your Health Insurance Policy

Before you buy any devices, machines, or appliances for sleep apnea, check to see what your health insurance policy covers.

Many companies will pay the full treatment amount, but it depends on your plan. Some require you to prove that your treatments are “medically necessary.”

Typically, if you have Medicare and meet your deductible, 80% of your costs for approved medical equipment will be covered.

Costs of Sleep Studies

Chances are, you’ll need a sleep study (your doctor may call it a polysomnogram) to diagnose your sleep apnea. The results of this test can also help you qualify for treatment coverage from your insurance company.

These overnight exams can cost $600 to $5,000 or more each night.

At-home sleep apnea tests are also available and typically run between $150 and $500.

Your insurance may cover all or part of the expense.

Costs of CPAP Devices

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device is the most common treatment option for people with sleep apnea.

These machines come in different sizes and styles. The cost will depend on the brand, type, and features. The retail price of a CPAP machine can be $250 to $1,000 or more.

Some insurance companies will cover a CPAP, but others will pay for only a portion.

More complex devices called bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines can cost $1,000 to $3,000. Some are priced as high as $6,000.

You might also have to get accessories for your CPAP that need to be replaced on a regular basis. Check with your insurance to see if it covers them. Some retailers sell the accessories and the machine as a start-up bundle.

Some basic parts you’ll need include:

  • Air filters. They can cost $5 to $30 each.
  • Hose and tubing. Most hoses cost $10 or less, but those that offer more features, like heated tubes, can be up to $60.
  • Headgear and masks. A headgear and mask set typically costs about $100 or more.

Oral Appliance Costs

Mouthpieces and other oral appliances can help treat mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring.

The average cost for a sleep apnea mouth guard ranges from $1,800 to $2,000. This includes the appliance, dental visits, and follow-ups.

Many health insurance companies will cover the expense.

The Cost of Surgeries or Other Procedures

If you need surgery for sleep apnea, your costs will depend on the type of procedure and your insurance coverage.

Prices for surgical procedures are usually many thousands of dollars.

Other ‘Hidden’ Costs

When it comes to sleep apnea, many of the costs you pay aren’t as obvious as the bill you’ll get for treatments.

For example, one study found that untreated sleep apnea in the United States resulted in a loss of productivity worth $86.9 billion in 2015.

Also, sleep apnea can put you at risk for other conditions that could require costly treatment. These include:

Lifestyle Measures That Can Lower Costs

If you stick to a healthy lifestyle, you may notice fewer sleep apnea symptoms and, in turn, save money.

Here are some helpful habits:

  • Lose weight. For some people, shedding pounds is enough.
  • Sleep on your side. If you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate can rest on the back of your throat.
  • Exercise. Regular physical activity may help ease some of your symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol and sedatives. These can cause the muscles in the back of your throat to relax.
  • Don’t smoke.Smoking can cause inflammation in your upper airway.

How to Manage Your Costs

If you don’t have health insurance or if your plan doesn’t cover enough of your expenses, help is available.

First, talk to your doctor or hospital. Many providers will work with you on costs.

The American Sleep Apnea Association’s CPAP Assistance Program offers inexpensive machines for people who can’t afford them.

Also, the Reggie White Sleep Disorders Research and Education Foundation offers CPAP therapy equipment to those who qualify.

You can also check out companies that sell used machines at a discount.

It’s important to find financial help if you need treatment. Sleep apnea therapies can add up, but they can also help you rest easier and reduce your risk for serious problems down the road.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Sleep Foundation: “Sleep Apnea,” “How Much do CPAP Machines Cost?” “Best CPAP Hoses.”

American Academy of Sleep Medicine: “Hidden Health Crisis Costing America Billions: Underdiagnosing and Undertreating Obstructive Sleep Apnea Draining Healthcare System.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: “Medicare Coverage of Durable Medical Equipment & Other Devices.”

American Sleep Association: “Sleep Doctors and Clinics,” “At-Home Sleep Apnea Test,” “Mouthpieces and Dental Devices.”

Mayo Clinic: “Sleep apnea.”

American Sleep Apnea Association: “CPAP Assistance Program.”

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