I am in utter shock! Why, you ask? Because somehow my insurance approved the new portable Monarch Vest by Hillrom. I just received it yesterday and it is totally embarrassing how excited I was to get a piece of medical equipment. I feel like I haven't had it long enough to give a thorough review of the product because I have only used it 5 times and it is soooo different than the old vest. It feels so different on my body, it feels different to put on, it feels different in the way it percusses. It really feels like it doesn't even belong in the category of the old vest, a completely different beast. After using the old style Vest for 20 years I feel like I need too give it at least a week before I can give a fair review. But I will be back with a review!
I did want to give some info on how to get a new vest for yourself. This is just information that was very helpful to me and I wanted to pass it on. Hillrom doesn't even know I wrote this so this isn't sponsored (but hey hillrom feel free to cut me a check for this ;) ). I knew about the portable vest, but I wrote it off as something only people with amazing insurance could get so I never even bothered mentioning it at clinic. I think this had to do with my past experiences trying to upgrade from the 50lb original Vest to the much smaller and lighter 105 model years ago. Every time I tried to upgrade, my insurance said they already issued a Vest to me and so I should be happy with what I have. It took me 14 years to upgrade to the 105 so you can imagine I wasn't hopeful in getting an even newer Vest in a shorter span of time.
Here is the good news. Apparently, most insurance companies used to see the Vest as a lifelong machine and therefore many companies were not willing to upgrade. The only way I got a new Vest was that my insurance company changed so the never issued my once in a lifetime machine, hence the upgrade. But things have changed and now most insurance companies see the Vest as a 7 year investment. This means that if your Vest is 7 years old (which most of us adult CFers have had our Vests at least that long, but many of us have had them much much longer) there is a decent chance that you can get a new vest. I wish I had known that when the Monarch (or even afflovest) first came out because I would have gotten one as fast as possible. The best part is that if your insurance paid off your old vest you get to keep your old Vest too. How amazing is it to have a backup Vest?
Of course, insurance may not cover the whole thing and it is super expensive even when broken down into monthly payments. But it is totally worth asking your clinic and seeing if/what your insurance will cover and then figuring out if it makes financial sense. It is good to know that the majority of insurance companies won't downright say, "no" if it has been 7+ years.