Friday, December 24, 2010

Oh and something else official...

As of this morning, I have been officially prescribed an auto adjusting CPAP, with a heated humidifier.

My titration rate has yet to be determined (and whether I need supplemental oxygen or not); but I need to acquire the machine before the end of the year or my insurance deductible resets and I'm responsible for the full cost of the thing, which is substantial.

A regular CPAP can be had for as little as $300, plus another $300 for a heated humidifer, and another $150-$300 for a mask and tubing. A BiPAP (bi-level positive air pressure; meaning instead of constant pressure, it applies high pressure during inhalation and low pressure during exhalation, which makes breathing easier), or APAP (auto-adjusting positive air pressure, meaning it automatically adjusts the air pressure to the demand) is a LOT more, starting around $750 (again plus $300 for the heated humidifier) and going up to $3,500, plus mask and tubing (basically because they can. There's really nothing more to it for the extra expense but a little extra programming).

There's even a new implementation called AVAP, that they're charging $5,000 for. Which yes, is insane.

You want to know why medical care costs so much? the CPAP is a perfect example. It's a very simple piece of kit, that's been around for decades. They make hundreds of thousands of them. There is plenty of competition in the market. There is no technical reason why they cost so much.

They cost so much, because insurance pays for them. If it didn't no-one would ever buy one on their own at that price. They also cost so much, because of the liability associated with any medical device.

Take away those two factors, and they'd cost, at most, a couple hundred bucks...