Medicare Considers Home Testing for Sleep Apnea
CMS last month announced a proposal to allow Medicare coverage of a sleep apnea treatment for beneficiaries diagnosed with home tests, the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports.
Currently, Medicare covers a sleep apnea treatment called CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, but only for beneficiaries diagnosed with tests performed in sleep laboratories. Such tests cost about $1,500, compared with about $500 for home tests for sleep apnea.
Under the proposal, which likely will become final in March after a public comment period, Medicare beneficiaries could obtain home tests for sleep apnea from any physician, not only sleep specialists. According to the Daily Star, the "controversial" proposal could prove "far-reaching," as more than half of the estimated 18 million U.S. residents with sleep apnea remain undiagnosed.
Terence Davidson of the University of California-San Diego, a supporter of home tests for sleep apnea, said, "It's been awkward and inconvenient and expensive to get a sleep test, and now that should be improved" (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 1/8).