How Much Does a Cystic Fibrosis Vest Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 9, 2018

The cystic fibrosis vest, also referred to as a high-frequency chest wall oscillation (HFCWO) vest or airway clearance system, is a medical device that can help clear excess mucus from the patient’s lungs

The cystic fibrosis vest simplifies respiratory therapy routines, allows user independence, and is associated with better treatment adherence.

In fact, studies show that the system significantly improved secretion clearance and sustained pulmonary functions.

How much does a cystic fibrosis vest cost?

On average, a cystic fibrosis vest is going to cost anywhere from as little as $8,000 to as much as $20,000 without any sort of health insurance, greatly depending on the brand.  For those who do have a health insurance policy, be sure to check with your provider to see what they will cover.  In order for most health insurance companies to cover a cystic fibrosis vest, a lot of documentation will be required and will be medically necessary.  The costs, if covered by your health insurance policy, will depend on your co-pays and the deductible that needs to be met.

We researched a few brands of cystic fibrosis vests online and we were able to find a few quotes people were given.  We listed all of the information we had found in our table below:

Vest BrandBilled Cost (without insurance)
Afflo Vest$16,000
DS's Hill-Rom 104$15,000
inCourage system from Respirtech$17,000
inCourage vest from Respirtech$11,000
Portable Hill-Rom "Monarch" Vest$16,000
Respirtech Vest$15,000
Vest from Hill-Rom$17,000

According to this forum thread on CysticFibrosis.org, a cystic fibrosis vest will cost close to $9,100, according to members.

These systems, according to VeryWell.com, can cost between $15,000 and $20,000 and may not always be covered by insurance.

This post on InitForBennett.com said her son’s vest cost $16,000, but health insurance paid an undisclosed amount.

Cystic fibrosis vest overview

The cystic fibrosis vest is a medical device designed for clearing excess mucus from the patient’s lungs and is used widely in homes as well as hospitals.

The vest will look similar to a water life jacket, typically made of a soft and flexible material that is similar to a blood pressure cuff.  Connected to the vest are flexible hoses that will be attached to a machine.

The device includes an inflatable vest connected by flexible tubes to an air-pulse generator which rapidly inflates and deflates the vest, gently compressing and releasing the chest wall.  The high-frequency chest wall oscillation or HFCWO loosens, thins out, and moves the secretion towards the central airways so that it can be cleared.

A vest, depending on the manufacturer, should include the tubes, remote control, power cord and generator for the air pulse.

What are the extra costs?

If a cystic fibrosis vest is ordered online, shipping fees may apply.

Regular maintenance or repairs may be needed and should be budgeted for in the future.

Tips to know

A prescription is required to purchase a vest.

The vest system has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1988, with only two brands approved by the FDA:  the Vest® and SmartVest®.

As long as a child’s chest measurement is large enough for the vest, there is no minimum age requirement.

The vest does come with its downfalls.  For instance, newer models, as you can see, can cost close to $20,000 if you don’t have the adequate health insurance coverage.  The vests will also require electricity while you take it on the go.  Since most equipment weighs close to 30 pounds, some find it tough to travel with.  On the bright side, however, it won’t require much skill to operate, helping you receive treatment without professional help.  It also offers you the freedom to perform other things because no special positions or breathing techniques are necessary.

How can I save money?

As mentioned, talk with your insurance company before committing to the purchase to see if they will cover the costs.

If you qualify, you may be able to find some companies do offer financial assistance.  Talk with the company before proceeding with your purchase to see if you do qualify for any savings.

Some companies may allow you to rent the vest. If being rented, the cost is around $100 to $200 a month.


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