. I just came back from business trip in Singapore and Malaysia. I had a series of meetings with some wonderful home medical equipment companies that specializes in CPAP therapy in Singapore and Malaysia.
• I was asked by so many of my sleep apnea web visitors in the last three years and also in my clinical settings, patients as to what was their options of buying a CPAP machine while living in the south-east Asia primarily in Singapore and Malaysia.
In fact, just last month I worked one on one with two individuals suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea who were relocating to Singapore working as expatriates for a minimum of 2 years. They did not want to get their CPAP through their current insurance while in the United States because:
a) The first $2500 of medical expenses comes directly out of their pocket.
b)All of their insurance require compliance data and they would have to meet a whole host of obligations that would frustrate them to no end and next to impossible to meet while living in south-east Asia.
They all had legitimate questions as to how and what are the requirements of purchasing a CPAP unit and supplies overseas. Also, the ease of which to have access to these services. Would it be worth it to them?
. Coming from the United States, there clearly is some vast difference in CPAP and masks options available.
. The companies that I met offered a narrow and limited brands of CPAP and masks to their clients.
. Typically various companies are authorized dealers for Respironics, or Resmed or other Asian manufacturers of CPAP. Primarily APEX CPAP by APEX Medical.
. You can purchase an APEX CPAP also in the United States.
. Price in Singapore dollars varies …. The Apex ICH CPAP System with built in heated humidifier is between $1600 and $1750 Singapore dollars. The very same CPAP machine bought in the United States would cost around $415 from an online store.
. The Phillips Respironics Remstar Auto System One CPAP machine without heated humidifier in Singapore dollars would cost you between $1550 to $1950. In the United States, that very same machine without heated humidifier will cost you around $450.
. However, it is getting harder to find this model because Respironics now only sell their latest CPAP machines called DreamStation which would cost you around $650 us dollars. As of the date I was in Singapore, you cannot purchase a DreamStation CPAP just yet. It will come, but I am told it would take some time before it is available for the Singapore market. I am hoping that by mid-2016 it should be available.
. ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet with Heated Humidifier and Climate Line Tubing can be purchased for around $1988 Singapore Dollars. Meanwhile, in the United States, you could purchase the same model for around $884 US dollars. In Malaysia, they was a promotion where you could purchase this same CPAP, but if you traded in your old CPAP, it would give me a $1800 Malaysian Ringgit discount. That was an excellent deal especially when the US dollar was stronger. It would have only cost me about $420 US dollars or so.
. I was so tempted to buy it because I am currently using my almost seven-year-old ResMed S9 Autoset machine, and I had it in my hotel room. However I decided against it simply for four reasons:
a) I live in the United States and the companies back home would give me a two-year warranty. If there was an issue, I could easily drive over to their office to get my problem rectified. Logically it would be very expensive and tough to navigate this internationally. Shipping the CPAP internationally would be extremely expensive.
b) I would have to use a power converter to use the new CPAP back home due to the voltage difference. Have you seen those things? They are bulky.
c) I had money in my Health Flex Spending account, and they would not pay for medical equipment bought in South East Asia.
d) My current health insurance policy would not recognize any purchases I made and deduct it from my outstanding health insurance plan deductible.
I did, however, recommend it to a business man from Australia who was staying at the same hotel as I was. He was in Malaysia for two weeks, and he forgot to pack his CPAP machine power chord and mask like he was saying….”I am dying here. With lack of good sleep and couple that with the persistent heat and humidity I am a mess.” For him the Australian currency was strong and he was getting about $3 Malaysian ringgit for one Australian dollar. It still was a good deal for him. So I told him about it. I suggested he buy it and make this new CPAP or his old CPAP his travel CPAP and keep the other one at home permanently.
• Just in this one, big shopping mall called Lucky Plaza, all three companies listed below existed. This was fortunate for me because it was only a beautiful 10 to 15-minute walk from the Mandarin Orchard Hotel I stayed at. That is the reason I picked this hotel due to the proximity to these companies. I highly recommend it.
Below are a list of companies I recommend:
• ERIKG (They are primarily a Respironics and APEX Medical CPAP distributor)
304 Orchard Road
#02-42 Lucky Plaza
(Next to Orchard MRT Station)
• SG Medical (They are primarily distributors for ResMed products)
304 Orchard Road
Lucky Plaza #05-30
• SleepEasy Centers (Primarily a Respironics distributor)
304 Orchard Road #05-40,
Orchard Medical Suites
Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863
• ERIKG Malaysia Kota Damansara (Primarily a Respironics Distributor)
North Wing (NW) Unit 03-11 Cova Square
Jalan Teknologi, PJU 5, Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan
• Insan Bakti Sdn Bhd (Primarily a ResMed distributor)
No 2 Jalan SS 19/1D
47500 Subang Jaya
• Take for example CPAP masks… the models they offer is very limited compared to what we have in the United States. Quite often it is not by choice but simply because they are not given the option to carry or sell the latest CPAP masks by the manufacturer.
. The types of masks were, at least, one year and older. For example, as of dates when I was in Singapore and Malaysia, in the latest Respironics CPAP full face mask sold is the Amara View. In Singapore, the latest full face mask for CPAP sold is the Amara Gel.
. Nasal Pillows….. the latest CPAP nasal pillows sold by ResMed as of today’s date is the AirFit P10 Nasal Pillows. The latest ResMed CPAP nasal pillows sold in Singapore by the medical equipment companies I had a meeting with is the Mirage FX.
. The latest Phillips Respironics CPAP nasal masks available to CPAP users in Singapore is the Wisp with Fabric. They do not carry the DreamWear nasal mask that is the latest nasal mask currently available in the United States.
. The more prominent brand of CPAP masks carried by a lot of medical equipment companies in Singapore is the Wizard 210 nasal mask, Wizard 220 full face mask, and the Wizard 230 nasal pillows.
. Typically the doctor will either prescribe for a sleep test to be done at the hospital or the very same CPAP supplier can provide home sleep apnea tests at the comfort of your own home. Now that was very surprising to me. Usually in most places in the United States, a sleep lab would provide the home testing unit and not the medical equipment company.
. Many family doctor’s, ENT and Pulmologist would also write for a prescription for a home sleep test and CPAP machines.
. A home sleep apnea test is designed to be a convenient way to collect information about your sleep. On the day of your test:
• Try to follow your regular routine as much as possible.
• Avoid napping
• Eliminate use of caffeine after lunch
If you are on a regular medication. Your doctor may recommend that you temporarily discontinue using the medication.
A member of the sleep team will give you instructions on how to use the home sleep apnea test device. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions if there is anything you do not understand.
You can go to sleep at your regular bedtime.
When you are ready to sleep, you will attach the sensors to your body as instructed. You may be asked to keep a sleep log or to press a button on the machine when you get into bed. When you wake up in the morning, you can remove the sensors. You may have to take the device back to the sleep center.
The doctors will score and interpret the information collected through home sleep apnea testing. This may take several days or weeks.
You may need an additional in-lab sleep study if:
• Your home sleep apnea test did not record enough data for a physician to make a diagnosis
• Your home sleep apnea test results indicate that you do not have obstructive sleep apnea and the physician suspects another sleep disorder.
~ For many Singaporeans, their health insurance do not pay for the CPAP machine. It automatically is a privately paid transaction. Thus, it is extremely expensive.
• The currency exchange rate for one US dollar would convert to $1.4037 Singapore dollars. That was the rate on the days I was there and converted my US dollars for Singapore dollars, but it does fluctuate daily.
• I asked the question as to how or what is typically prescribed as far as machines and settings…… and to my surprise I was told that more than half the prescriptions do not mention what settings and as far as the brand of CPAP is left up to the home medical equipment provider.
• The most prominent brand of CPAP that is sold in Singapore appears to be Phillips Respironics.
• As far as settings go….if the doctor does not prescribe a setting, 2 of the home medical equipment companies said they would set (sell) the patients up with an AutoCPAP and with a range from 4 to 20 cmH20.
• What I also liked was, especially with the Respironics CPAPs …the customer had 30 days to change their mind if they decided they did not want the CPAP.
• Also, they did provide a 30-day mask exchange.
• Now this also surprised me greatly, a few of these companies also sold the “Aveo TSD”.
The AveoTSD is a clinically proven, simple, inexpensive and non-invasive solution to problem snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
• The aveoTSD stabilizes the tongue gently forward, preventing it from falling back and obstructing the airway.
• The aveoTSD is a unique anti-snoring device. Made from soft, high-grade medical silicon, it does not require custom fitting or routine adjustment. The aveoTSD attaches to the end of the tongue, using gentle suction to stabilize the tongue forward during sleep. It is an intuitive fit and simple to use. Available in 3 sizes as Small, Medium and Large.
• The price for the aveoTSD is around $140 Singapore Dollars.
• Here is the link to a bunch of videos describing how this Oral Device works.
• Most of the companies prefer you come to them and be set up at their respective offices. I would highly recommend that. On average they will spend about 45 minutes to 1-hour teaching you the ins and outs of your new CPAP machine and help you with your mask. Some of them will deliver to your place of residence for an additional charge.
• Please note that there are other companies through out Singapore and Malaysia that offer these CPAP services. Please check them out yourself. I for one was truly impressed with them.