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No Health Coverage. Husband who 99% Sure has OSA.

Charlotte posted this to my wall, but throwing it out for all the group:


I am a newcomer to your site, and have a husband with SA. He has not been professionally diagnosed, but after being married for 28 years, and literally shoving him around at night so that he can breathe, or roll onto his side, I am pretty sure he suffers from Sleep Apnea.

We do not have health insurance, or would have gotten him into a sleep study program long ago. I checked into a couple of programs, and found that they are quite expensive.

What would be your advice to us? Try to get him some sort of CPAP on our own? Try different treatments? He frequently wakes with severe headaches, which I believe is a symptom of SA.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.


Charlotte R. Ft. Worth, Texas "

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Hi Charlotte! Thanks for joining, and your question. You should always feel free to ask whatever questions you have, and to report back to the group about how things are going so that we can give you ideas. The problem you will have is that a CPAP needs a prescription. This should be easy to obtain if you have a sleep test. For affordability reasons, I'd suggest you buy out of pocket a home test, which runs ~$150, from which your doctor can write a script. Then you can buy for cash a CPAP machine and mask, which runs around $800.
Hey, jnk, sometimes we do what we gotta do!

Charlotte, by all means, when the opportunity arises your hubby should have an in-lab sleep evaluation study - but until then .... we do what we gotta do.

You can find various CPAP masks, new and/or slightly used, at and often has a mask roulette thread going.

I recently sold a Respironics pre-M Series Auto w/Bi-Flex complete w/everything but the carry bag and w/only 10.8 total hours on it for $350 . And recently bought a Respironics pre-M Series Bi-PAP Auto w/Bi-Flex complete except carry case for $500 that had less than 250 hours on it.

You can usually find someone who can e-mail you the Clinicians Manual in pdf format for a Resmed or Respironics APAP by just asking in the various apnea support forums.

Keep in mind, one can expect 8 hours use a night and most for sale have less than that on it as usually it is someone whose insurance bought them an APAP and then they didn't give therapy an honest try before stuffing it in the closet and forgetting it until rummage sale time or until they were short of cash and looking thru the house for items to sell.
I agree do not let having no insurance stop him from getting treatment.

Is he receptive to trying treatment? That will be your first hurdle. If he is in denial, purchasing the equipment won't do him any good setting in a closet. Encourage him to read here on the forum the devasting effects that sleep apnea may have one's body.
My suggestion is to call around and find a doctor who does the testing in office. This ran about a $1000 for a split night (meaning half the night without cpap and half on) if you explain your situation you might find a doctor who has an opening who will cut you a break. My doctor has to "bedrooms" and if only one was in use I'm betting a doctor would rather take half then nothing for the "room".

ON the other hand I'm going to suggest that you look into some kind of insurance program pre diagnosis. You know those pesty pre existing conditions clauses. I just had a mask, hose, and filters (disposable, and washbable) delivered the cost was nearly $500 (walgreens home medical supplies)

I am also going to suggest you don't try to figure out the pressure needed on your own. My doctor suggested that if you use to high of a pressure you can end up with some type of heart problem.

Unless your income totally puts you out of the running you might check into a health care district type of program, You might be able to get some help with getting diagnosis and managing his apnea problems.
Only problem with Cathy's suggestion is that prices vary widely depending upon what part of the country you are from and how much competition there is. In my rural community, prices are pretty much fixed and very limited "free help" is out there. If you qualify for Medicaid, then you are left with finding a doctor around here that takes it as the vast majority of doctors do not. If you have no insurance and few resources, you are even worse off. Many offices are requiring that you pay "up front" before even seeing a doctor -- don't know how they figure what the charge is -- if you do not have some type of coverage.

My brothers do not have insurance coverage due to the cost as one is self-employed and another works for a very small local company that has only 5 employees. They battle this every time they have to see a doctor (they only go in extreme emergencies).
j n k said:
Boy am I about to make an unpopular post!:

Find an old retired doc willing to scribble your husband a prescription for an auto CPAP machine, then fax a copy of that to an online CPAP seller for the least expensive auto and a mask. (ANY doc can prescribe a machine.) Your husband can then use data from the machine to self-titrate. Either that, or ask around to find a machine nobody is using.

Not as good as getting a PSG. And if you can afford that eventually or get insurance one day, I highly recommend the full diagnostic/titration thing. But, hey, if you can't afford that right now, you can't afford it, and no-treatment should not be an option.

I hope it isn't in bad form for me to post a link to another forum, but I think rested gal's experience would be an important one for you to read. Scroll down to her post and note particularly the paragraph starting with the words "Without insurance . . .."

I think that's a GREAT complaints from me! Ya gotta do, what ya gotta do!
Here's a couple of different things to think about:

1) Look for a sleep apnea clinical trial in your area.
2) Has your husband always had sleep apnea symptoms? Maybe his apnea is from weight gain & losing weight might resolve the issue.
3) I wonder what family benefits you could get by working at a sleep lab - even if it's part time with no insurance. You could make contacts in the field & might find it interesting since it directly affects you.
Excellent suggesitons, Juanita, and the last one is quite innovative and interesting!!!!
There is a nonprofit group in Philadelphia with a program for donated sleep studies and donated CPAP; worth checking out:

Will also post in separate thread for easy reference going forward.
i am iucky i live in uk and my CPAP is free i also have headaches but if i had to pay i would some odds and ends can be found on e-bay and maybe hire a CPAP. and get it diagnosed, in the uk they use a machine for one night at home and take readings and set the CPAP get used it happy days.
You can look through this & see if you see anything worth while:
I know this might be a long shot, but, check with your local sleep lab:

and explain your situation. They might be able to help you. I agree with a previous poster. If you have a good family doctor that you have a good relationship with, just ask him to write and Rx for you. That would free you up to buy a good auto CPAP online until you could get him a professional sleep study.

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