Top 4 Questions on CPAP Asked by New Patients

by Abel
(Ottawa, Canada)

1. How much does the CPAP machine cost?
2. Are there many types of CPAP machines?
3. Where can i buy the CPAP?
4. Do I need a doctor subscription?


How much does the CPAP machine cost?

You have two options to buy a CPAP machine:

  • rental,

  • purchase.
If you never bought a CPAP before, I recommend to begin by renting a machine for 2 or 3 months, to see how you do with it, and perhaps trying a couple of different models.

The price for the rental option depends on your country, but in general, a rental CPAP unit costs approximately $250 per month. It can be cheaper or even more expensive, up to $350.

If you want to purchase a CPAP, the price vary from $700 to $3000. You probably will have to buy the CPAP mask and tubing separately, which may cost another $200.

Because the mask material tends to absorb oil from the skin and to become stiff, you need to replace it about every 6 months. Also, some CPAP machines need to have their filters replaced periodically.

Are there many types of CPAP machines?

There are basic CPAP machines, and other more complicated and therefore more expensive. Some machines work different than a basic CPAP, and have a different name. Here is a short, simple and straightforward description:

  • CPAP machine - blows air at a constant pressure into your airways.

  • BiPAP machine (bilevel positive airway pressure) - blows air at one pressure and allows you to exhale against a lower pressure.

  • APAP machine (Auto Positive Airway Pressure) - blows air when the machine "thinks" you need it, so you won't feel the air pressure all the time blowing into your face.
Click here to read more information about these types of xPAP machines

Where can I buy the CPAP?

Companies that rent, sell, and service CPAPs are called durable medical equipment (DME) companies. Ask your sleep center for a list of CPAP suppliers and DME companies in your area.

Find out whether your sleep center is associated with a DME that supplies CPAP machines.

Start by asking questions at your sleep center:

  • which DME companies they recommend, and why,

  • Ask if any local homecare companies have an unfavorable reputation,

  • Ask if the sleep center can put you in touch with other CPAP users.

  • Which CPAPs does your sleep center think you should consider and why?

  • What features do they suggest you look for (mask fi t, size and shape of
    unit, durability, adaptability, appearance, and so on)?

  • If you have insurance, you don't need to pay full price the CPAP machine. You need to know what will your insurance pay for? Which CPAP costs it will cover (purchase, rental, parts, service). Call your insurance company and ask them. This is important.
You should not purchase your first CPAP unit online because you will need the benefit of a skilled respiratory therapist to get you started successfully.

Do I need a doctor subscription?

You must have a doctor’s prescription to obtain a CPAP machine. The prescription will tell what CPAP pressure you need and whether you need a type of CPAP machine with special features, such as a meter that records CPAP use.

Advice: Try out as many masks as possible first. Don't even look at the CPAP machines.

There are CPAP nasal masks (breathe in and out through your nose), full face masks which cover your nose and mouth and suit natural mouth breathers, and there are nasal pillows (the air is pumped through your nostrils).

You should typically try up to 10 different nasal masks, 3 full face masks and 2 or 3 nasal pillow set ups. Get advice from your doctor or RT. Make the DME supplier earn their money and get fitted properly.

Beware the DME supplier who starts off with "I know exactly the right mask for you".

Here is a good page about how to select a CPAP mask.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Click here to post comments

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