Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Healthcare Cost Savings Idea: DIY CPAP

Does anyone who ever goes for a sleep study not get a CPAP prescribed?

I had a sleep study. It cost about $1800. Insurance covered it, sort of: with a high-deductible plan, it effectively came out of pocket.

Of course the finding was mild sleep apnea, treatable with CPAP. Insurance covered the CPAP machine, a Respironics Dreamstation. Cost: another $1800. Again, covered, but only after cost-sharing, so effectively not.

Guess what that CPAP machine costs on Amazon? Less than $400! I have no idea why insurance would pay 4.5X as much. Sure, there is a little value-add for the lesson from the respiratory therapist. Being generous, that is worth maybe $100. (For those inclined to self-study, easily replaced by YouTube or a 5-page paper.)

So here is my idea. Primary Care Providers should be able to prescribe CPAP. So long as the patient is healthy, and not complaining of extraordinary symptoms--skip the expensive sleep study. Just prescribe them a CPAP machine, and see if it helps.

Voila, over $1000 cost taken out of the system.

(I wonder how they do it in other countries?)