CPAP users being tracked unknowingly

Reportedly, some sleep apnea patients are being spied through their CPAP breathing machines while sleeping.

Unbeknownst to them, the CPAPs are tracking when the device is used—or not, and sending the information back to the doctor, health insurer, device maker and medical supply company.

Citing costs, health companies want to see if patients are indeed using them, and doing so properly.

Rob Henneke with the Texas Public Policy Foundation said health insurance companies are dictating doctor's care for patients and health insurance needs to be reformed by repealing the Affordable Care Act.

"I find it creepy, I find it invasive, but I don't find it surprising when they are tracking to make sure that the product that their insurance is paying for, is actually be used," said Henneke. "As far as the insurance companies making decisions based on your use of a particular product, I do have a problem with that."

He said consumers give away their privacy for product use or benefit. And, now patients have given their health care privacy away by allowing insurance companies to approve or deny every single medical choice that a doctor wants to do for us.

Henneke said this is another example of how insurance companies interfere with the doctor patient relationship.

He added other insurance companies, like auto, operate this way, too. For example—if you are in a wreck, you have to show you took your vehicle to get fixed, instead of them just giving you money to pocket.

The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates about 22 million Americans have sleep apnea.

Insurers claim studies show that about third of patients don’t use their CPAPs as directed.

Because Medicare payments nearly quadrupled between 2001-2009, they require “compliance”. Patients have to use the CPAP for four hours a night for at least 70 percent of the nights in any 30-day period within three months of getting the device. Medicare requires doctors to document the adherence and effectiveness of the therapy.

Other problems reported include:

Patients having to rent the machines…until they meet their deductibles…which costs thousands more than the actual device. CPAPs can cost $400 to $800.

Patients who have insurance are being charged more for CPAPs and their devices.

Health insurance advocates cite if patients aren’t using the machines, a less expensive therapy might be better.

Privacy experts are concerned that data will be collected on other patients, like those with heart issues, diabetes or who use lifestyle-type apps.

Sleep apnea syndrome, Photo Illustration

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