Written By : Michelle Llamas
Edited By : Sophia Clifton
This page features 5 Cited Research Articles
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How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

Like most CPAP devices, Philips CPAP machines work by delivering pressurized air through a tube to a mask that covers the nose and mouth or just the nose. People with sleep apnea or other breathing problems use CPAP machines when they sleep to improve breathing.

People with sleep apnea have difficulty getting quality sleep because the tongue, uvula or soft palate shift and block airways, causing repeated pauses in breathing. Pressurized air from CPAP machines keeps these body parts from collapsing, keeping airways open.

Lack of oxygen caused by sleep apnea can increase the risk of high blood pressure, daytime fatigue, brain fog, liver problems, heart problems and Type 2 diabetes. CPAP machines can help maintain oxygen levels and improve sleep.

Graphic describing how a CPAP machine works to treat sleep apnea
CPAP machines work by pushing pressurized air into the airway through a mask that covers the nose and mouth or just the nose.

Machine, Equipment and Maintenance Expenses

A basic CPAP system consists of the CPAP machine, tubing and a facemask. Depending on the model, the design and features, the equipment may vary, as do machine and maintenance costs.

Fortunately, most insurance companies cover at least some of the cost.

How Much Does a Philips CPAP Machine Cost?

The average price of a basic Philips CPAP DreamStation machine is about $650. This doesn’t include the mask, tubing and other accessories. Depending on the features of the machine, the price can go up.

For example, auto CPAP models that automatically increase or decrease air pressure based on airway resistance cost more. Some CPAPs come with built in humidifiers, while other humidifiers are sold separately.

The exact price depends on the retailer. Some accessories, such as masks and tubing, need to be replaced every few months. Make sure you check with your health care provider.

Average Cost of Philips CPAP Machine and Accessories
ProductCost
Machine$650 to $1,200
Hoses and tubing$10 to $50 (replace every three months)
Humidifier$150 to $200 (if not built into a machine)
Masks$120 to $250 (replace every three months)
Filters$5 to $20 (disposable or reusable)
Cleaning Supplies (disinfectants, mask wipes, tube brushes, etc.)$6 to $15

Do Medicare and Insurance Cover CPAP Machines?

Medicare and most insurance companies will cover part of the cost of CPAP machines. In order to qualify for coverage, your medical provider must diagnose you with sleep apnea and give you a prescription for a CPAP machine. You many also need to provide the results of a sleep study.

With Medicare, people will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount and the cost of supplies. The Medicare Part B deductible applies. Medicare will pay for you to rent the machine from a retailer for 13 months if you use the machine continuously. After 13 months of rental, you own the machine.

Many private insurance companies, such as UnitedHealthcare, will pay for CPAP machines and supplies only after your deductible has been met. This means if you have a $2,000 deductible that has not been met for the year and your machine and supplies cost $1,500, you will pay for this out of pocket.
Make sure you contact your insurance provider to determine your actual out-of-pocket cost.

CPAP Machine Side Effects

Most CPAP side effects are minor and go away after you get used to the machine.

CPAP side effects include:
  • Air from CPAP masks may leak, and this can disrupt sleep.
  • Air leakage may cause dry eye or eye irritation.
  • CPAP may affect ear pressure, causing mild ear pain.
  • New users may have respiratory infections.
  • Noise and breathing pressure from the machine may cause difficulty sleeping.
  • Ill-fitting chinstraps or tongue position may cause tooth chipping or teeth shifting.
  • Poorly fitted masks and certain mask materials may cause rashes, red marks or sores.
  • Pressurized air may cause inflammation or dryness in the nose, sometimes with nosebleeds.
  • Some people may experience claustrophobia from wearing the mask.
  • Swallowing pressurized air, or aerophagia, may cause abdominal discomfort, GERD and flatulence.
  • Some users have trouble adjusting to breathing pressurized air.

Your medical provider can adjust the pressure on your machine or recommend ways for you to minimize side effects.

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Philips Recalls CPAP Machines Over Possible Dangers

In June 2021, Philips issued a voluntary recall for millions of its CPAP, BiPAP (Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure) and mechanical ventilator devices because degraded polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam in the devices could enter the body through the nose and mouth.

At the time of the recall, there were no reported deaths. However, Philips warned ingesting or inhaling particles or gasses from broken-down foam could cause toxic, respiratory and carcinogenic effects.

Philips lab testing revealed the foam could expose people to toxic chemicals, including Toluene diamine, toluene diisocyanate, diethylene glycol, dimethyl diazene and phenol, 2,6-bis (1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-(1-methylpropyl)-.

Possible serious side effects from recalled Philips CPAP machines include:
  • Breathing problems and asthma
  • Chemical poisoning
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Lung and pulmonary disease and damage
  • Organ damage such as liver problems or kidney problems
  • Respiratory failure
  • Throat, nose and ear inflammation
  • Various cancers, including but not limited to: Bladder, breast, kidney, prostate, lung and liver cancer

People who used Philips’ recalled CPAP machines have filed Philips CPAP lawsuits after suffering injuries. These lawsuits claim the Philips CPAP devices are defective and the company did not adequately warn about the risk of serious injury.

Please seek the advice of a qualified professional before making decisions about your health or finances.
Last Modified: August 23, 2021

5 Cited Research Articles

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  1. American Sleep Association. (n.d.). CPAP Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.sleepassociation.org/sleep-apnea/cpap-treatment/cpap-side-effects/
  2. Healthsqyre. (n.d.). United Healthcare CPAP Coverage. Retrieved from https://www.healthsqyre.com/education/united-healthcare-cpap-coverage/
  3. Medicare.gov. (n.d.). Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices, accessories, & therapy. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/coverage/continuous-positive-airway-pressure-devices
  4. Philips. (2021, June 14). Philips issues recall notification* to mitigate potential health risks related to the sound abatement foam component in certain sleep and respiratory care devices. Retrieved from https://www.usa.philips.com/a-w/about/news/archive/standard/news/press/2021/20210614-philips-issues-recall-notification-to-mitigate-potential-health-risks-related-to-the-sound-abatement-foam-component-in-certain-sleep-and-respiratory-care-devices.html
  5. Whitten, T. (2021, June 16). Does Insurance Cover CPAP Therapy: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.cpap.com/blog/does-insurance-cover-cpap/