A recent survey on screening and treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea found that drivers were bearing many of the costs associated with the condition.
The American Transportation Research Institute collected data from over 800 commercial drivers to quantify the costs and other impacts that truck drivers are experiencing as they address diagnosis and potential treatment regimen for OSA.
ATRI found that of drivers who had been referred to a sleep study, 53% paid some or all of the test costs with an average of $1,220 in out-of-pocket expenses. Healthcare had a big impact on those costs. Without healthcare that covered the study, 61% of drivers had to pay more than $1,000 out-of-pocket. With coverage, only 32% of drivers paid more than $1,000.
Sleep apnea screening also took drivers away from work, with 41% telling ATRI that they had to take anywhere from 1 to 30 days off.
When it came to treatment, use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine was the most commonly prescribed regimen for drivers. This included drivers diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, which does not require treatment for medical certification.
The effectiveness of the treatment correlated with the severity of the condition. A majority of drivers with the most severe OSA diagnosis reported increased amounts of sleep, feeling better when they wake up and lower blood pressure.
Conversely, only 32% of those with mild sleep apnea who were treated with a CPAP machine reported improved sleep.
"ATRI's research clearly shows what my fellow drivers and I have been experiencing," said Barbara Beal, an owner-operator and member of OOIDA. “The costs associated with sleep apnea screening and treatment are not inconsequential for drivers and the flexibility to utilize lower cost options for both screening and treatment will be critical if FMCSA moves forward with a formal rulemaking.”
To read ATRI’s full whitepaper on the study, click here.