(03-16-2013, 06:55 PM)iSnooze Wrote: When I was first diagnosed with sleep apnea I was also stunned at the cost of the machine and gear. I thought that it would be cheaper to buy it online and not be reimbursed than to have insure pay and I cough up the 20% out of pocket. It was actually cheaper to go with the DME and pay the 20%. I also got an excellent tutorial on how to use the machine and was able to try on many masks before settling on one. The technician who explained how to use the cpap machine didn't rush and made sure I understood everything before she let me go. I know that not all DMEs are as friendly and professional as the one I went to, but for me having the insurance pay was the right decision.
I went to a brick and mortar DME first and was given an inferior machine at an outrageous price. Luckily the DME had me on a 10 month "rent to own" type of plan. When the DME flat out refused to give me an AutoSet (with the argument that I didn't need one because Escape Auto was just as good) I called my insurance company, explained that I could buy an AutoSet and supplies on-line for less than what the brick and mortar DME was charging (and provided them with approximate figures) and they agreed to let me buy the stuff and then they reimburse me. I just e-mail them a scan of the receipt and a filled out standard generic claim form and they send me a check. Buying on-line AND having insurance pay, it's the best of both worlds. I would strongly encourage anybody interested in doing this to give the insurance company a call, prepared with some numbers/prices, and seeing if they'll work with you.
I won't get into ALL of the other problems I had at the brick and mortar DME. I will say this; it wasn't until I found Apnea Board that I was able to get into the clinical menu and see that the Respiratory Therapist had set the Escape Auto to "Pillows" even though she gave me a Full Face Mask (proper size determined by looking at me and saying, "hmmm, you look like a medium") and, contrary to what she showed me, you aren't supposed to tighten a Quattro FX until your eyeballs pop out.
I know they aren't all as bad as the one I went to; but, I just want to repeat what has been said many times before (because I think it's important) - if you do get one that's bad, you probably have other options. The biggest problem is that many of us end up at a DME for the first time ever when we are at a very low point and at a time of great need, having hit "rock bottom" and extremely desperate after having suffered years of untreated apnea; unfortunately, it seems that some DMEs take advantage of that.