Snoring is quite common, especially among adults, and most people tend to snore at least every once in a while. However, in some cases, snoring can be chronic and can lead to poor quality sleep, lower energy levels, and other health problems. In addition, snoring can be disruptive to those around you, including your spouse and other family members. Luckily, Medicare insurance provides coverage options that can provide you with the treatment you may need to help you stop snoring.
What Causes Snoring?
When you are sleeping, snoring occurs when the air flowing through your throat vibrates the extra tissues as you breathe. One of the factors that can lead to increased snoring is age. As the body ages, the muscles in the mouth and throat tend to become more relaxed, leading to the increased vibration that causes snoring.
Snoring can also be more common if an individual is overweight or obese, has certain underlying conditions such as a septum deviation or enlarged tonsils, tends to sleep on the side or stomach, or drinks alcohol prior to falling asleep.
One of the potential causes of snoring is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While not everyone who snores suffers from this condition, you should consult your doctor if you experiencing frequent or chronic snoring. In addition to snoring, some of the common symptoms of OSA can include headaches in the morning, gasping for air throughout the night, difficulty concentrating, and increased blood pressure levels.
What Medicare Coverage is Available for Snoring Therapy?
Medicare Part A and Part B may help cover the costs of therapy necessary to treat your OSA. Medicare Part A is designed to primarily cover inpatient hospital stays, inpatient care in skilled nursing facility, home health care, or hospice care. Medicare Part B includes coverage for preventative services and medically necessary services, including doctor visits, outpatient care, screenings and lab work, and durable medical equipment (DME). Preventative services are important in the prevention and early detection of illnesses that may be contributing to your snoring.
Snoring by itself is not recognized by Medicare as a medical condition, and its general treatment is not covered by insurance. However, treatment for sleep apnea is covered by Part B coverage. In order for Medicare to recognize a sleep apnea diagnosis, a sleep study will have to be conducted, and it will need to take place in a sleep lab facility.
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea following the sleep study test, Medicare offers coverage for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatments, also known as CPAP therapy. A CPAP machine is designed to increase breathing ability and regularity throughout each night. This device increases the pressure in your throat, preventing it from collapsing when you breathe in. A mask and hose are connected to the machine, which feed humidified air into your nose and throat, helping to prevent snoring and improve sleep quality and quantity.
If a CPAP machine is recommended by a physician, Medicare Part B coverage for durable medical equipment (DME) will cover a three-month trial period to assess the effectiveness of the device and whether or not it helps to alleviate your OSA symptoms. If the machine is helping, Medicare will continue to pay monthly to rent the device for a total of 13 months. After this period of time, the machine is considered purchased, and you will be able to keep it without additional payment.
However, you may be required to pay out-of-pocket up to your Part B deductible and then may be responsible for 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the machine rental and other supplies, such as replacement masks and tubing. The Medicare-approved amount is reported as the amount of money that Medicare claims can be charged to a patient for a specific service.
Snoring affects a large number of individuals, and Medicare can help you treat underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to it.