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Posted Nov 16 2009 10:00pm

Frequently Asked Questions for Patients
Does insurance cover the test?
Medicare and Aetna will pay for a Home Sleep Test, with other insurance companies beginning to adapt their policies to cover it as well. The best way to find out if it is covered is to call your insurance company or visit their website. If researching their website, you are looking for information on a billing code “G0400″ which is typically under a Medical Policies section. Call IDS at (800) 355-0691 if you need more direction or can’t get through to your insurer.

You should also inquire about the coverage for CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), because this is the treatment your doctor is likely to recommend if you test positive. (see About OSA for more information). Because HST is so new, some companies may have changed their testing policy to pay for HST, but failed to modify the treatment policy. You don’t want to run into a situation where you can be diagnosed but not treated because of an oversight. If you do find a CPAP policy is still outdated, point this out to the insurer. Ask for a written confirmation from someone at the company confirming they will pay for CPAP, if you are diagnosed by a Home Sleep Test.

A few companies such as Cigna, United and Anthem Blue Cross will cover home sleep testing in certain circumstances and require a specific test device, which basically records one more channel than the device IDS currently uses. IDS expects to have compatible testing devices by late spring or summer of 2009.

Who should have a Home Sleep Test?
HST is intended for patients who have a moderate to high suspicion of sleep apnea based on an assessment by their treating physician. It will not tell if you have insomnia or other sleep disorders, and is not intended to be used as a screener (used on patients without symptoms). Typical HST patients should have at least two of the following symptoms:

Loud snoring
Pauses in breathing during sleep as noted by others
Excessive daytime sleepiness (falling asleep easily & sometimes inappropriately)
Morning headaches
High blood pressure
Diabetes (which may contribute to or be a consequence of sleep apnea)
Memory problems or poor judgment
Feelings of depression
Gastro esophageal reflux (heartburn)
Frequent nighttime urination
Difficulty concentrating
Personality changes
When will my doctor get the report?
Once IDS gets the device back from you by priority mail, we process it and make it available to our panel of sleep physicians for review. In most cases, it is interpreted the same day. Our automated system immediately faxes the report to your physician as soon as it is read. You can call your doctor to see if the results have been received after 4 or 5 days. Please do not call IDS for your results. Only your physician can discuss the findings with you.

How much will the IDS Sleep test cost?
That depends on your insurance. As an example, the cost for a patient with Medicare and no supplement insurance is $28. Some private insurances may be a little higher, perhaps $35-60. The cost will never be more than $300, even for those without insurance.

What exactly will the test show?
The ApneaLink device will tell if there are pauses in your breathing during sleep called sleep apnea (see About OSA for more information). It does not distinguish between central and obstructive apneas. It also records your pulse rate and the level of oxygen in your blood. Changes in pulse and blood oxygen levels, to some degree, are a measure of how much stress each of these abnormal breathing events cause your body.

Should I change my routine?
Since it is assumed that you are sleeping when the device is on, it’s important that you try to get a good night sleep by not napping and limiting caffeine and alcohol the day of the test. If you are a caregiver for someone else (such as an infant or someone who is bedridden), you should make arrangements for alternate coverage the night of the test. Otherwise, go to bed at your normal bedtime and try your best to stay in bed all night.

Don’t linger in bed too long in the morning. Get up and turn the device off as soon as possible after the alarm goes off or you wake up naturally.

What if I can’t sleep? What if a sensor falls off?
Call IDS in the morning and discuss it with the technician. They will make a determination as to whether you should repeat the test the following night. Most importantly, don’t worry about these things. Worrying is more likely to keep you awake.

Will I be able to follow the instructions?
The device is extremely simple and the instructions very clear. Instructions are written, drawn and presented in a video which you can watch. If you still have questions, you will be provided with a toll-free support line staffed by IDS Sleep Technicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

NEXT: Get Tested!

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