Health insurance for sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a disorder affecting breathing while you sleep. Treatment can be partly covered by Medicare, while comprehensive coverage is available from private health funds. Compare private health insurance for sleep apnoea below.

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What are the symptoms of sleep apnoea?

While it is often hard to distinguish sleep apnoea from other sleeping problems, there are a few recognisable symptoms that you will feel consistently:

  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Loud snoring
  • Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Forgetfulness and mood changes

How does Medicare cover sleep apnoea?

Before you can receive a Medicare rebate for a sleep study test, your doctor will need to make sure you are eligible by asking a series of approved screening questions. This is in order to make sure you definitely have a sleep disorder and are not being misdiagnosed.

Medicare may also cover Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy if you've been diagnosed with sleep apnoea. Your doctor will determine if you are eligible for CPAP based on how effective they feel the therapy may be in your situation.

Although Medicare will cover some of the costs, you will still have out-of-pocket expenses. These can add up each time you receive care.

Sleep apnoea is often difficult to diagnose and can be a long, time-consuming process with Medicare. Doctors can be reluctant to refer you for testing since treatment isn't always effective and is so time-consuming.

How does private health insurance cover sleep apnoea?

Most private health funds will want you to take part in an overnight sleep study at a hospital or clinic, in order to properly diagnose sleep apnoea. This is covered under many bronze and silver hospital policies. Other policies will cover a home sleep test as well. As well as diagnosis and treatment, you'll get to choose your own doctor and hospital.

Treatment options vary depending on your insurer, but if your doctor recommends CPAP therapy, some funds have a benefit for the cost of purchasing a CPAP machine. For alternative treatment, such as nasal surgery or a tonsillectomy, you may need more comprehensive cover.

While there will be some out-of-pocket expenses, cover can be very affordable. Make sure that when you're looking for hospital cover, you get sleep apnoea treatment and overnight investigation covered. It's also worth remembering you should always get the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) number from your doctor. This lets you know exactly what you'll pay, so you are able to budget well in advance of treatment.

Compare health insurance with sleep apnoea coverage

Here are some policies from Finder partners that offer a benefit for sleep apnoea or sleep studies. To compare even more funds, use the free tool below the table.

Name Product Tier Sleep Apnoea Price Per Month Hide CompareBox Apply
HBF Bronze Hospital Plus
Medibank Bronze Plus Progress
HCF Hospital Bronze Plus
ahm classic silver plus
Peoplecare Silver Plus Hospital

Compare up to 4 providers

Quotes are based on a single individual with less than $90,000 with $500 excess, living in Sydney.

Is there a sleep apnoea test?

In order to find out if you're suffering from sleep apnoea, you can get a sleep test, or sleep study. Doctors will monitor things like your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. Your doctor usually prescribes the tests, which involve you spending a night in hospital so you can be properly monitored.

What does sleep apnoea treatment involve?

Most commonly, you'll receive breathing apparatus, such as a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), which will assist your night-time breathing. This prevents you from snoring and, more importantly, makes sure you're breathing properly. It also helps ensure you're getting enough oxygen to your brain.

You may also receive weight loss and physical exercise help. Unhealthy lifestyles can contribute towards people getting sleep apnoea.

Depending on your cover and condition, you may also receive help from a respiratory therapist, otolaryngologist or pulmonologist. This can often involve taking medication – including sleep medication – and surgery in some cases.

Picture: Unsplash

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