UNDERSTANDING COMMERCIAL AND MEDICARE ADVANTAGE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE remedē® SYSTEM
For people with central sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, understanding exactly which treatment options are covered under your insurance policy can be time-consuming. Every insurance plan is different, but this blog is designed to help those of you with Medicare Advantage or Commercial insurance understand the prior authorization process that will determine coverage. The content relates specifically to the remedē System for adults with central sleep apnea.
The remedē System is a clinically proven therapy to treat central sleep apnea (CSA)
The remedē System is a non-mask therapy designed for adult patients with moderate to severe central sleep apnea. CSA is a type of sleep apnea that is less common than obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CSA is a neurological condition that occurs when the brain does not send the correct signals to the breathing muscle (the diaphragm). remedē is a treatment that improves sleep, enhances well-being, and reduces daytime sleepiness, enabling better overall health.1
There are a few important terms to understand before we get started:
Prior authorization: Prior authorization is a request put forth by your medical team to your insurance company to consider your personal case for coverage eligibility.
Medicare Advantage: Medicare advantage plans are alternative options to Medicare. These plans are offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare and usually cover Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance), and Medicare drug coverage (Part D).
Commercial Insurance: Commercial insurance is health insurance plans offered by private insurance companies. Employer-provided health insurance is often a commercial insurance plan. Individuals can also buy their own policy if they do not receive insurance from their employers or the government.
Reimbursement: Reimbursement is the process by which private insurers or government agencies pay for a healthcare providers’ services.
Insurance coverage for the remedē® System
Each type of insurance plan will review authorization for the remedē System in a slightly different way. However, many Commercial Insurance and Medicare Advantage plans follow a very similar process. Two other types of plans — Medicare (sometimes called “straight” Medicare) and Veterans Administration benefits — will be covered in a future blog.
Commercial Insurance – Providers review and approve the remedē System on a case-by-case basis through the prior authorization process. Your medical team may work with you, the hospital, and the insurance company to gain approval before your remedē procedure.
Medicare Advantage – These plans operate like commercial plans and prior authorization is recommended.
Medicare – Medicare will evaluate each case for medical necessity to determine coverage for the remede System.
Veterans – The remedē System is available for veterans at select VA and military hospitals across the US.
How do insurance companies determine coverage for the remedē System?
Insurance companies think about covering a therapy in two different ways.
The first is an established coverage policy. This is a statement that defines the criteria, and for which patients the insurance company will pay for the therapy. These policies are often written years after FDA approval. It can be a long, multi-year process for insurers to review clinical literature and establish such policies
DID YOU KNOW...?
IF YOU CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY TO ASK WHETHER A THERAPY IS COVERED, THEY WILL MOST LIKELY ONLY CONSIDER therapies with an established coverage policy “as covered”. However most will also allow a case by case review for medical necessity. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ask YOUR CARE TEAM TO SUBMIT A PRIOR AUTHORIZATION – THIS WILL ALLOW THE INSURANCE COMPANY TO DETERMINE coverage eligibility FOR YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.
The second (and more short term) way that insurance companies determine coverage eligibility is through prior authorization. A prior authorization is a case review for an individual patient. In this case review, the insurance company determines whether a therapy is medically necessary for a specific individual. This is an effective route for patients to request coverage for a therapy where a coverage policy is not yet established. This is very common for a number of years following FDA approval of a technology. Most insurance companies do not yet have a coverage policy for the remedē System. Fortunately, the prior authorization process can be used.
If you choose to pursue remedē therapy to treat central sleep apnea, your care team will guide you through a 3-step process
Understanding insurance policies can sometimes be difficult and confusing, but there is good news:
- Commercial and Medicare Advantage plans have established the prior authorization process to help make sure patients have access to therapies that will benefit them – even if they haven’t yet established an overarching coverage policy!
- Your care team can help guide you through the insurance approval process, especially making the case for medical necessity if they believe remedē is the best treatment option for you.
Good luck and remember to stay in communication with your care team to make sure you are on the right path!
COULD THE remedē SYSTEM BE RIGHT FOR YOU?
Answer a few short questions to see if you may be a candidate.
Important safety information
The remedē® System is indicated for moderate to severe Central Sleep Apnea in adult patients.
Your doctor will need to evaluate your condition to determine if the remedē System is right for you. You will not be able to have an MRI or diathermy (special heat therapies) if you have the remedē System implanted. The remedē System may be used if you have another stimulation device such as a heart pacemaker or defibrillator; special testing will be needed to ensure the devices are not interacting.
As with any surgically implanted device, there are risks related to the surgical procedure itself which may include, but are not limited to, pain, swelling, and infection.
Once the therapy is turned on, some patients may experience discomfort from stimulation and/or from the presence of the device. The majority of these events are resolved either on their own or by adjusting the therapy settings. The remedē System may not work for everyone. There are additional risks associated with removing your system. If you and your doctor decide to remove the system, another surgery will be required.
Be sure to talk with your doctor so that you thoroughly understand all of the risks and benefits associated with the implantation of the remedē System.
Rx only. For further information, please call +1-952-540-4470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Costanzo M, et al. Sustained Twelve Month Benefit of Phrenic Nerve Stimulation for Central Sleep Apnea. Am J Cardiol, 2018;121:1400-8.