Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT, is an alternative treatment option which is both painless and non-invasive. It is used to treat a wide variety of ailments and conditions, including carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, chronic wounds, burn injuries, ligament tears, and cerebral palsy.
This therapy works by administering 100 percent pure oxygen under heightened atmospheric pressure to the patient, thus ensuring that the excess oxygen is absorbed by the bodily fluids such as the plasma and the cerebrospinal fluid. The increased supply of oxygen in the patient’s body can then facilitate angiogenesis, repair tissue damage, and promote stem cell mobilization.
All of these factors together contribute to the process of recovery, allowing the patient’s body to naturally combat the damage wrought by injury or illness. This is the reason why, in recent years, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been prescribed by doctors and medical professionals around the country for a wide range of conditions and ailments.
The Cost of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Before opting for this alternative treatment option, one of the most important things that patients have to consider is the HBOT treatment cost. This is because, depending on the number of sessions required and the length and frequency of treatment, the price might vary widely and HBOT can be quite expensive. Therefore, patients and their caregivers need to budget accordingly for the expected HBOT treatment cost, keeping in mind all the factors that might have an impact on the total expense required.
Some of the factors that might affect the HBOT treatment cost a patient has to bear have been listed below for your convenience. These are just some of the major determinants of cost and not a comprehensive list of all possible factors.
1. Type of Condition
There are two broad types of conditions or ailments for which HBOT might be prescribed, namely on-label and off-label conditions. If the use of hyperbaric therapy has been approved by the FDA for a particular illness, then that illness is considered on-label. Some such on-label illnesses or injuries for which the FDA has approved the use of HBOT are gas gangrene, radiation tissue damage, necrotizing soft tissue infection, diabetic foot ulcers, acute traumatic ischemias, and decompression sickness in divers.
However, research and clinical studies conducted around the world have proven that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is very effective in the case of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cerebral palsy. HBOT is used to treat these conditions in children and adults in numerous countries due to the positive impact it has on patients. However, as HBOT is yet to receive FDA approval for these conditions in the US, it is considered an off-label treatment for those ailments.
If the condition for which you are seeking hyperbaric treatment is considered on-label, then the HBOT treatment cost will typically be covered by your health insurance policy. However, health insurance will generally not cover the HBOT treatment cost for conditions considered off-label. Hence, the amount of money that you have to spend out of your own pocket will depend on the type of health condition you are seeking hyperbaric treatment for.
2. Location of Treatment
The place where you are receiving the hyperbaric treatment may affect the HBOT treatment cost as much as any other factor. This is because HBOT sessions can be undertaken at various locations, including hospitals, independent hyperbaric clinics, and the home of the patient receiving the treatment. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the cost of treatment might vary depending on which option you choose.
On-label conditions can be treated with hyperbaric therapy at major hospitals as prescribed by a doctor.
Usually, such treatment, undertaken within a hospital, will be covered by all insurance policies. Therefore, the out of pocket expense borne by the patient would be quite minimal.
On the other hand, patients might choose an independent hyperbaric clinic to receive treatment if the condition being treated is considered off-label. In such cases, the treatment may or may not be covered by health insurance. Moreover, not all independent hyperbaric clinics accept all types of insurance. In such a situation, the HBOT treatment cost might be much more.
Thirdly, if the duration and frequency of the hyperbaric sessions is quite high, which might happen if the symptoms are severe and the patient requires comprehensive and long-term HBOT, then the use of a personal hyperbaric chamber might be advisable. Such a chamber can be purchased or rented, and it will be installed at the patient’s place of residence. This arrangement will also prevent the need for frequent travel, which might be detrimental to the health of certain patients.
Buying a personal hyperbaric chamber might require a large amount of money upfront, but it can be more cost-effective in the long term as the patient would no longer have to pay visiting and consultation fees for each treatment session. For those who require this treatment several times a week, this might turn out to be significantly cheaper than all the other alternatives.
For the best results, patients should consult an experienced medical professional or hyperbaric expert to better understand their options and learn about all the factors that will determine the HBOT treatment cost in their case. Moreover, they should also do some research about hyperbaric chamber manufacturers, as the quality of the chamber will also have a significant impact on the outcome of the treatment.