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DME solicitations for mask parts
#1
DME solicitations for mask parts
Particularly for MediCare users, but other insurance payers as well: do you receive communications from your DME asking if you need parts to be sent? When I first started on BiPap (2nd try), my DME provided a refrigerator magnet with the periodicity at which MediCare would replace various parts. I didn't think much of it, but I get a call every time the parts can be replaced by MediCare at no cost. Every 30 days for new cushion (RESMED F30i) for example. 

The first time around, I got the parts but at the very end they would ask why - is it worn out? Apparently they are required to ask for a reason. Anyway, when I received the new parts, the old parts seemed just fine. In fact, when cleaning the cushions, I can't tell them apart so I etched the old one to tell them apart. 

This seems ridiculous — as if the DME is taking advantage of MediCare's generosity in replacement. Big shock, I know, but I was just wondering if that is the norm for all DME's. I won't go into what a ripoff the prices seem — that's another discussion.
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#2
RE: DME solicitations for mask parts
I also get the "Do you have any unused nasal pillows/mask parts/filter?" question  and sometimes "Do you need these?" whenever Lincare calls me (usually every month).

I always say "No unused parts" and "Yes, I need them".  If I answer "yes I have unused parts or I don't need them", they will not ship me the parts (they'll claim I don't need them), but I'm pretty sure they'll STILL bill insurance for them, no matter what.  So I figure I might as well get what I've paid for, rather than making the DME richer with my mask parts, or my insurance company richer for not having to pay for them.

Yes, by using this method, I build up a supply of mask parts and CPAP filters.  I feel no guilt at all for this, since I've paid into my insurance myself and I've been unwillingly unemployed and without health insurance in the past.  This is my way of ensuring my CPAP supplies will continue even if I lose health care insurance.
SuperSleeper
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#3
RE: DME solicitations for mask parts
My first DME would call and tell me it's time to order supplies. They didn't ask those questions -- I think they automatically answer them for me. But they did say it's a $100. minimum order. When I inquired about excess cushion replacement I was informed they like to replace them every 2 weeks due to hidden uncleanable areas that could become moldy -- and that they lose their flexibility which can lead to leaks. ok.
The second DME woke me up on a Saturday morning with a recorded message and for me to write down a phone number -- while I'm laying in bed. Lets just say they don't call me anymore. But I call them every 3 months and we go through those same questions. I always have 1 cushion and 1 filter left -- the others are worn out. I don't argue with their system, they pay the bill.
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#4
RE: DME solicitations for mask parts
21 or 22 years ago when I first started apnea therapy most DMEs would contact their users urging them to request replacement masks, hoses etc. and would make sure that  you knew when you were eligible for a replacement CPAP machine. Some DMEs still do that but in my experience they are few and far between. Also, the availability of a respiration therapist is intermittent with some DMEs. Times they are a changin'.
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#5
RE: DME solicitations for mask parts
As a USan I used to get marketing communications from my DME, but then I joined a Health Maintenance Organization (Kaiser Permanente), and they never ask me to order more. What interests me is that there has recently been a lot f government legislation to allow US Medicare to negotiate drug prices, and there is growing interest in controlling costs. I wonder if there is a federal / congressional group in charge of researching costs that we could communicate with to suggest reform of the billing practices for sleep apnea equipment.
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#6
RE: DME solicitations for mask parts
I get calls every 3 months from our DME to reorder parts. The last time they called, I said neither one of us needs anything. There reaction was almost like I insulted one of their ancestors (cue the cat meme). We have so many spare cushions, filters, hoses, etc... that we can afford to skip an order of two. When we replace headgear, I pull the parts that are salvageable - like the magnetic clips and the mask shell it self. It would be nice if we could just replace the headgear (straps) but there's no money in the DME for that.

Just got an email from my DME saying it is time to reorder. May just have to so I don't mess things up. Between my insurance and supplement there is no out of pocket, except they don't stock the longer hoses.
Homer

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Membership in the Advisory Members group does not imply medical expertise or qualification for advising Sleep Apnea patients concerning their treatment.
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