NebulizerYour heart beats approximately 100,000 times every day. The average human blinks more than 20,000 times a day. You breathe about 30,000 times in a 24-hour period. If you are reading this right now, you are obviously living, blinking, and breathing.

Taking each breath is one of those involuntary things most of us never really think about…unless you can’t do it. Those with breathing problems are sometimes helped greatly by nebulizers, so finding out if health insurance covers nebulizers can be an actual life or death question.

What does a nebulizer do?

Anyone who has ever experienced the pain and panic that comes when you are unable to take enough air into your lungs knows how valuable each breath can be. Nebulizers are used to treat a variety of lung and breathing problems such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

If your breathing problem is so severe that you require medication, a nebulizer may help. It is a machine that delivers your medicine in the form of a mist or steam. You simply put the medication in the machine, put the accompanying mask or cup over your mouth and nose, and then breathe. The medicine-delivery system for your nebulizer typically looks like a gas mask but can also come in the form of a mouthpiece that resembles a tube that you bite down on.

Each nebulizer treatment should take less than 10 minutes. The machines are fairly easy to use, clean, and store. This apparatus can be ideal for those who have inhalation issues because it forces you to slow down and sit comfortably while the breathing treatment is administered.

A nebulizer is considered more effective for people who have to get more medication at one time than the amount you can receive through a small blast from an inhaler. It can be especially useful for those who cannot use traditional inhalers or pills, like babies or seniors. Nevertheless, not all breathing medicines are made to be used with a nebulizer, but that is quickly changing as the machines grow in popularity. It is important to discuss all options with your physician.

Are nebulizers covered by health insurance?

The cost for a nebulizer is usually about $50 and some of the smaller or fancier models can be priced at more than $100. When budgeting to pay for the machine, you should be aware that your medicine and any additions like a carrying case will cost extra.

There are different types of nebulizers, which are classified by how they work. The most widely used kind of nebulizer is the jet or atomizer, which operates by a compressor.
Another method is the ultrasonic nebulizer, which uses sound waves to transform the liquid medicine. These also tend to require less setup and treatment time than the jet nebulizer.

Many major health insurance providers will cover the cost of a nebulizer because they are medically necessary for patients with serious breathing troubles. However, they must be prescribed by your doctor and there are sometimes restrictions such as where and how your nebulizer is purchased. A quick call to your insurance company by you or your physician’s office should be all it takes to determine if your nebulizer equipment is eligible for coverage.

Where can you purchase a nebulizer?

Nebulizers come in a variety of styles and sizes. There are even models that are small enough for you to carry around throughout the day, often no bigger than a wallet, so you can have it handy while exercising or traveling. They come in both electric- and battery-powered versions that can be charged through your car battery.

In addition, nebulizer manufacturers have created kid-friendly designs, shaped like chubby little animals and other toys, to minimize any potential fear or trauma for your child in getting the breathing treatments they need.

Today, it is easier than ever to find the type of nebulizer that is right for you. They can be purchased online directly from the companies that make them or from medical supply outlets. You may also be able to locate a few at your local pharmacy. It is vital that you inquire about the noise level of your nebulizer too, as some are quieter than others, which can have an effect on where and how you use them.

If your condition is temporary or short-term, it may not be necessary to actually buy a nebulizer. In these cases, it is possible to rent a machine. Some nebulizers are even disposable, designed to only be used for a few days or weeks, which are perfect for situations where you are concerned that it could be lost or left behind. Be sure to check with your doctor or pediatrician to ask for his or her recommendation on your nebulizer choices.