Your Guide to Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, & Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program

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Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) changes the amount Medicare pays for certain DMEPOS items and makes changes to which suppliers Medicare will pay to supply these items to you. The first phase of the program is already in effect in 9 areas of the country. Starting July 2013, Medicare is scheduled to expand the competitive bidding program to more areas. The program replaces the outdated, inflated fee-schedule prices Medicare is currently paying with lower, more accurate prices. Under this program, suppliers submit bids to provide certain medical equipment and supplies at a lower price than what Medicare pays for these items now. Medicare uses these bids to set the amount it will pay for those equipment and supplies under the competitive bidding program. Qualified, accredited suppliers with winning bids are chosen as Medicare contract suppliers. The program: Helps you and Medicare save money; Ensures that you have access to quality medical equipment, supplies, and services from suppliers you can trust; Helps limit fraud and abuse in the Medicare Program. If you have Original Medicare, live in one of the competitive bidding areas, and use equipment or supplies included under the program (or get the items while visiting a competitive bidding area), you generally must use Medicare contract suppliers if you want Medicare to help pay for the item. If you live in one of the areas where the program is expanding and you’re renting oxygen or certain other durable medical equipment (DME) at the time the program starts, you’ll be able to continue renting these items from your current supplier if that supplier becomes a contract supplier or decides to participate in the program as a “grandfathered” supplier. If you live in (or get these items while visiting) these areas and don’t use a Medicare contract or a grandfathered supplier, Medicare won’t pay for the item, and you may have to pay full price. It’s important to know if you’re affected by this program to make sure Medicare will help pay for your item and to avoid any disruption of service. The competitive bidding program applies to Original Medicare only. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your plan will notify you if your supplier is changing. If you’re not sure, contact your plan. Also available in Spanish.

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