Medicare & Sleep Apnea

I just want to share my experience with Medicare and Sleep Apnea. I have read a lot of negative stories about Medicare and Sleep Apnea mostly how it relates to getting CPAP supplies.

Since starting CPAP over the number 4 years ago I have turned 65 and am now on Medicare. My CPAP machine has been acting up that It has become very difficult to change the humidifier settings. I went to my doctor to find out about getting a replacement machine.

Next step is a sleep study. Before we get to that I have to say the company they sent me to is the worse at communication. Everything time I call I have to leave a message and it is at least 24 hours before they get back to me.

I finally get to talk to someone and they have me do a home sleep study. What a joke. When I found out I had sleep apnea I was having over 90 events an hour. When I was called with the results of this home sleep study they said I had to come into and do a tritration study,

(A titration study is a type of in-lab sleep study used to calibrate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. ) It looks like some space age or 1950s technology, I’ll let you decide. Here are two pictures of me all wired up and ready for sleep, with everything except the mask.

They told me my numbers from the home sleep study were 7 events an hour and that my oxygen was low. 7 events an hour with no CPAP machine, really? I’M Cured ๐Ÿ™‚

I finally get the Titration study and when it’s all said and done the technician told me my new numbers were BPAP 18/14. My current numbers are 16/11 so either the 1st sleep study was not as accurate or things have gotten worse in 4+ years and I need more air forced in to keep the airway open. Either way I am fine with the increase as I had no problem sleeping the night I did the test. Just to be clear the 1st number 16 is the amount of air forced in when you inhale and the 2nd number 11 is the amount of air forced in when you exhale. The lower number makes it easier to exhale.

The technician did say they are required to start the test in CPAP mode but after 15-30 can switch to BPAP. Slept good for about 7 hours which is about all I sleep each night anyway, so all was good.

Now the waiting begins. It took almost 2 weeks to get the results to my doctor who had to write the prescription for the new CPAP machine (BPAP in my case) and supplies. My doctor immediately sent the prescription back to the sleep study facility and they forwarded it on to the medical supply place where I will be getting my CPAP supplies. I was told to wait 3 business days and I did before I called.

On the 4th day I called and was told they just gotten (2 days ago) the sleep doctors info and that they do not carry the brand of machine requested so I would be getting another brand, a RESMED I think. No matter I am sure one is as good as the next. The problem now is that the sleep study doctor sent instruction over for a CPAP machine at 15CFM. Not good as I am a BPAP user and have been since day one. Now I wait while the two places communicate and try to straighten it out.

I will be calling tomorrow as it has been a few days and even though I emailed the supply stores info including a direct phone number to the person handling my case, I doubt they have communicated yet.

It was so much easier the 1st time 4 years ago when I was not on Medicare. I had a sleep doctor and after a couple of sleep studies I received my equipment and was off and running.

One month and 3 days later since I received my machine and mask, I got the Respironics DreamStation CPAP machine with humidifierDreamstation CPAP machine and the Amara View mask whichAmara View Mask w/headgear was great as that is the mask I use now anyway. YES CPAP, that is the prescription the doctor sent over and after verifying that it what I am doing now. CPAP At 15cfm. That is the same pressure inhaling and exhaling. Nothing the supply place can do other than to follow the doctors order so I am now on CPAP.

In week 3 I returned to the supply place to get a different mask, not because I do not like the Amara view as I think it is the best full face mask out there and one of the few ones that does not rest on the bridge of your nose, but during my Titration study I used the Dreamwear mask Dreamwear mask w/headgearand slept really well but they did not have that mask in stock and I was told I could call and get another mask in the 1st 30 days so I did and I now have the Dreamwear mask as well.

It is now 5 weeks later and earlier this week I called to get my 30-day supplies which consisted of two new disposable filters and a new cushion for my mask. These Amara cushions rangeAmara Cushion in price from low $20’s to mid $40’s. I asked for the Amara cushion as I had only had the Dreamwear mask for a few days and I was still getting use to it and it did not need to be replaced so soon. Next month I will get the Dreamwear cushion. The cushion and filters were $9. I like Medicare prices for sure.

1 thing I have to add. As stated above I have been on BPAP/CPAP for over 4 years and I still have good nights and bad nights when it comes to the mask. Over those 4 years, I have had my share of masks and they all leaked or hurt the bridge of my nose. After finally finding the Amara View mask things got much better but I still have leaking problems mostly after I have been sleeping for 6 hours. If you are APAP/BPAP or CPAP user you know what I mean. I have lately even tried to those mask liners but they did not help much, in fact, last night I had to remove the liner as I could not get the mask to seal when it started leaking.

All in all my experience with Medicare was a positive one compared to the stories I read online.

Feel free to comment below and ask me any questions you might have I will do my best to answer.

Chip Shapiro

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