Positive Airway Pressure Systems (Benefit Tips ® - © 2014)


People who have breathing problems, such as sleep apnea can be treated with positive airway pressure (PAP) devices that use mild air pressure to keep an airway open.


The most common PAP device is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) that blows air at a constant set pressure to keep the air passages open.
A BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) device blows air at two distinct pressures: one at inhalation and another at exhalation.
An Automatic/Auto-Titrating Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) device blows air at a range of pressures, constantly adjusting to the minimum pressure needed to keep airways open. The breath-by-breath adjustments maximize comfort by minimizing pressure.


A prescription from a doctor is required to obtain or change the pressure settings on a PAP device. Based on symptoms, a physician may refer a patient to a sleep clinic for a sleep study in order to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Once diagnosed with OSA, the patient will receive a prescription for the most appropriate PAP device and pressure setting(s).


The cost of PAP devices vary widely base on the type of device (CPAP/ BiPAP/ APAP), manufacturer, model and distribution channel (boutique/chain/online). Another complicating factor is that some provinces set a maximum price for each type of device which may influence both price and supply.
The cost of replacement parts and upgrade options such masks and hoses vary widely with the distribution channel (boutique/chain/online).
Some provincial medical insurance plans cover a significant portion of the cost of a PAP device.
Most health insurance policies cover the cost of PAP device and replacement parts such as masks and hoses.