For the study, the American Transportation Research Institute surveyed more than 800 truck drivers. Ultimately, they found that the cost of truckers’ sleep apnea treatments averages $1,220 for out-of-pocket treatment.
This bill can often equate to a week and a half of median pay.
The survey also found that 53% of drivers who had been referred to a sleep study had paid the costs entirely out-of-pocket.
And while some truck drivers do have health insurance, the cost of treatment often supersedes their coverage plan. Over 30% of drivers have health insurance that covered some portion of the sleep study. However, 61% of drivers surveyed had no health care to speak of.
For these drivers dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of treatment was the use of a continuous airway pressure machine, as well as for those with mild sleep apnea.
Among the truck driving community, obstructive sleep apnea diagnoses are rapidly increasing in both severity and frequently. Part of this is due to the corresponding obesity epidemic among individuals in this profession. According to recent statistics, an overwhelming 69% of America’s truck drivers are obese.
Statistics also show that truck drivers are dying 10 to 15 years earlier than the average American male.
Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes more then $3.4 billion in additional medical costs per year, is just one of the costly negative health affects of obesity. The lack of sleep can also prove to be extremely dangerous for a position that requires a high level of alert and focus.
Even with the costly CPAP treatment — which 91% of drivers reported undergoing — fewer than a third of drivers experienced any signs of improved sleep.