How Using a CPAP Machine Can Lower Your Medical Costs
When most people look at the price tag associated with sleep studies, buying a CPAP machine, and routinely replacing masks, tubing, and filters, it’s understandable that they would look at it as yet another increase to their medical bills. This is especially true if they don’t have insurance to cover the costs of their equipment.
However, even though buying a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea certainly requires a larger initial purchase (as well as ongoing expenses in the future), it can actually be a net positive for your personal finances.
As it turns out, using a CPAP machine to prevent nighttime awakenings can significantly improve your quality of life and help reduce other healthcare expenses.
New Study Highlights CPAP Use’s Impact on Hospital Readmissions
A recent article from Harvard Health Publishing highlights just one of the key ways in which using a CPAP machine can lower users’ medical costs: by reducing their risk for hospital readmissions.
Hospital readmissions are defined as when an individual has to return to the hospital for the same type of care they were previously discharged for within 30 to 60 days. The patient’s underlying health is often a key factor in whether or not they will need to be readmitted in such a short timespan.
The study described by Harvard involved an analysis of 1,301 patients who suffered from both heart disease and obstructive sleep apnea (in part because 60 percent of all people with heart disease also experience sleep apnea). The analysis compared hospital readmission rates for patients who used a CPAP machine to those who did not.
The key takeaway from the study: “Researchers found that heart disease patients with apnea who were hospitalized for heart problems were 60 percent less likely to end up back in the hospital within a month if they were diligent about managing their apnea.”
Hospital readmissions can be costly and time-consuming. In fact, studies indicate that the average cost for a hospital readmission is $15,200. Needless to say, that is much more than the cost of a CPAP machine. By following CPAP therapy guidelines, sleep apnea patients stand to avoid incurring additional medical and financial burdens.
CPAP Therapy Prevents More Serious Medical Issues
While the findings of the previously mentioned study focused specifically on hospital readmission rates, this is far from the only way that using a CPAP machine can help lower medical costs.
Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to a wide range of serious health conditions that can result in significant medical expenses. Sleep apnea has been found to contribute to depression, memory loss and mental confusion, a weakened immune system, heart disease and high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, diabetes, and more.
The relationship between sleep quality and heart health is especially noteworthy. Sleep interruptions increase blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease. Left untreated, this can greatly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure — particularly in individuals with more severe sleep apnea.
Each of these conditions can become a serious burden on your well-being, potentially requiring medication, surgery, physical or emotional therapy, and other treatment methods. The costs of treating these conditions can add up quickly. Without good health insurance coverage, you could find yourself facing significant medical bills.
The excess fatigue caused by sleep apnea can also increase your risk for getting in a serious accident. One study determined that individuals with untreated sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers. From falling asleep at the wheel to slowed reaction times and impaired judgement, a lack of sleep can put your safety at risk. If you are responsible for a serious accident, you could be held liable for covering property damage and medical bills for others who were involved.
Similarly, sleep apnea could put you at greater risk of being involved in an accident at work. Even with workers compensation programs, being out of work for an extended period of time due to an injury could negatively impact your finances.
When looking at your monthly budget, following your healthcare provider’s recommendations for CPAP therapy may not seem like it is having much of an impact on your budget. You’re not going to necessarily see yourself “saving” money each month. But the fact remains that by helping to prevent more severe medical issues that require more intensive and costly treatment, CPAP therapy will help you enjoy a more financially stable future.
Make CPAP a Financial Positive!
While purchasing CPAP and BiPAP equipment can take a chunk out of your wallet, a little perspective can make all the difference. In reality, this therapy method is a long-term investment for your health and your finances. By preventing more serious health complications associated with sleep apnea, you can reduce your risk for hospital readmissions or the need for more expensive treatment options.
Of course, you can make your CPAP equipment even more affordable when you buy through Help Medical Supplies. We offer a wide selection of CPAP machines, masks, and other supplies, with many products available at significantly discounted prices off of MSRP. We also offer free shipping on all orders of $99 or more, as well as available financing through CareCredit on purchases of $500 and up.
With Help Medical Supplies on your side, you can lower the financial “burden” of starting CPAP therapy, while having the knowledge that you’ll be able to save significantly on your healthcare expenses in the future.