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Can You Use a Used CPAP Machine?

Written by Audra Sarver Staff Writer
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If your budget is tight, it may be reasonable to consider buying a used CPAP machine. However, it’s important to be aware of the possible downsides of a used CPAP machine and take appropriate precautions.

We’ll take a look at some common concerns surrounding used continuous positive airway pressure devices, including safety issues, where to look for refurbished machines, and insurance considerations.

Is It Safe to Use a Used CPAP Machine?

It can be safe to use a used CPAP machine provided the device has been properly sanitized and then calibrated to your unique pressure requirements. 

A reputable seller of pre-owned durable medical equipment will generally have procedures in place to make sure that a used CPAP machine is fully functional and thoroughly disinfected. Because these procedures are vital to protect your health and your investment, you should avoid buying a used CPAP machine from private individuals or companies without an established track record.

If you purchase a used device, be sure to work with your doctor or sleep specialist to make sure the machine is set to your prescribed pressure.

Is Buying a Used CPAP Machine Right for Me?

You can buy secondhand CPAP machines from some online and brick-and-mortar medical suppliers. Accessories, such as CPAP masks, typically need to be purchased new. 

When deciding whether to buy a new CPAP machine or a used one, take into account factors such as your budget, insurance coverage, seller reputation, and device condition and cleanliness.

Buying Used May Be Better If:

  • You are looking for a particular CPAP model that isn’t available new
  • You cannot afford a brand new device
  • You want a backup machine that’s not covered by insurance

Buying New May Be Better If:

  • Your insurance covers most CPAP-related costs
  • There is only a small price difference between the new and used versions of the model you want
  • You want peace of mind from having an unused machine

Where Can You Buy a Used CPAP Machine?

Used CPAP machines are available online and at certain brick-and-mortar medical supply stores. Regardless of where you shop, be sure that the seller is a reputable, licensed retailer of medical devices. 

In-store shopping is better if you prefer to see the equipment before making a purchase and want to have a one-on-one conversation with a knowledgeable salesperson. Online buying may be a better option if you want to compare prices, read reviews, and examine device specifications from the comfort of home.

Do You Need a Prescription to Buy a Used CPAP Machine? 

The Food and Drug Administration classifies CPAP machines as class II medical devices. Therefore, if you purchase a used or refurbished device from a reputable seller of medical devices, you will need to provide a copy of the prescription from your doctor

Are There Rent-to-Own Options for Used CPAP Machines?

Some insurance plans stipulate that coverage of a new CPAP machine is dependent on a rental period. During this trial phase, the insured must demonstrate that they have been using the device consistently and that it has improved their sleep apnea symptoms. This option is less common with used CPAP machines. 

Some pre-owned medical equipment companies offer a rent-to-own arrangement, but more frequently, they either sell the device outright or offer standard rental CPAP machines available for a fixed time period or on a month-to-month basis.

Does Health Insurance Cover the Cost of a Refurbished CPAP Machine?

Whether insurance will cover a refurbished CPAP device depends on the specific details of your insurance policy. In general, insurance will not cover devices from an unlicensed seller, but they may cover a refurbished machine from an authorized medical equipment supplier. 

Before purchasing, you can ask the seller if they accept insurance or have experience working with insurance claims. You should also check with your insurer to find out if your policy’s benefits apply to used or refurbished CPAP devices. If so, make sure to find out what documentation is required when filing a claim for a pre-owned CPAP device.

Can You Use an FSA or HSA to Buy a Used CPAP Machine? 

Flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts can be used to buy durable medical equipment, but spending these funds for a refurbished CPAP machine may require that you buy it from an authorized reseller. 

You can check with the device seller about whether they accept FSA and HSA payments, and you can also ask your FSA or HSA administrator about what conditions are required for using funds to buy a CPAP machine, including one that is pre-owned.

Frequently Asked Questions About

Used CPAP Machines

It is not recommended to borrow a CPAP machine. When you are prescribed CPAP therapy, a qualified sleep technologist adjusts your machine to the proper pressure level. This pressure setting is unique to you, so borrowing a machine from someone else could be counterproductive.

In addition, used CPAP machines offered by authorized retailers are thoroughly disinfected and serviced prior to sale. When you borrow a device, you cannot be sure when the last user cleaned the CPAP machine or if they cleaned it properly, which could lead to bacterial growth and an increased risk of illness.

It is only legal to sell a used CPAP machine to a licensed medical equipment reseller, and only authorized retailers are permitted to supply CPAP devices to consumers. Per FDA regulations, a prescription is required to obtain a CPAP machine, and only medical device retailers can accept these prescriptions.

Multiple online and brick-and-mortar CPAP retailers are willing to purchase gently used machines from individuals who are upgrading to a newer model or looking for a different product. These authorized retailers often have strict criteria for the machines they will buy from consumers.

Still have questions?

Sleep apnea products can be confusing. If you need individualized assistance, send us an email at [email protected] with your questions and we'll help find the best fit for you.

Written by

Audra Sarver, Staff Writer

Audra is a licensed, certified physician assistant and freelance health writer. She has specialized in psychiatry since completing her clinical training in 2018. Her passion for writing was born from the desire to make complex medical information more accessible and understandable to patients and their loved ones. Audra likes to write about all things related to behavioral health and physical wellness. Outside of her work, she enjoys landscape painting, learning new languages, traveling, and spending time with her partner.