As of July 2013, Medicare will offer a new mail-order program for Medicare beneficiaries who order diabetes supplies (such as testing strips and lances) by mail. About 50 to 60 percent of 4.2 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes prefer to receive diabetes supplies by mail. Medicare has established new competitive bidding programs for diabetes supply mail-order companies; signing contracts with just 18 carefully selected companies nationwide instead of hundreds of suppliers before. The new mail-order program will not affect Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
As a result, the prices for these supplies has been cut. Medicare previously paid $77.90 for 100 mail-ordered strips; now it will pay $22.47. The beneficiary copay will go from $15 to under $5. Medicare fraud involving mail-order diabetes supplies should also cut dramatically.
If you are using mail-order delivery from one of the companies that is NOT on the list of 18 selected companies, you’ll need to change suppliers. You can find a supplier online, or call 1-800-MEDICARE. Alternatively, you may choose to buy your diabetes supplies locally; as long as your local pharmacy has a contract with the government and accepts Medicare reimbursement as full payment. You will pay the same amount for diabetic supplies whether you buy them locally at the store or have them delivered to your home.
The competitive bidding process is not limited to diabetes supplies. It will also be applied to certain categories of durable medical equipment (such as, wheelchairs and walkers, oxygen, hospital beds, and CPAP devices for sleep apnea) after July 1, 2013. Initially the program is set to expand to 100 metro areas and will be available national wide by 2016.
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