If you, a friend, or loved one has Original Medicare and needs certain medical equipment and supplies, you should know that Medicare is continuing its successful competitive bidding program, which has been in place for many areas throughout the country since July 1, 2013. This program helps you save money and ensures that you have access to quality medical equipment and supplies from suppliers you can trust.
Under the program, Medicare awards contracts to suppliers of certain medical equipment and supplies every few years. July 1, 2016 marks the start of a new contract period which can change the suppliers who are eligible to provide certain medical equipment and supplies in your area.
If you have Original Medicare, live in (or travel to) one of the competitive bidding areas and need equipment or supplies included under the program, you will likely need to use Medicare contract suppliers for Medicare to help pay for the item. You’ll also need to continue to use a Medicare national mail-order contract supplier for Medicare to pay for diabetes testing supplies that are delivered to your home. To check if an item you use is included in the program, or to find out if you live in a ZIP cord that’s part of the program, visit Medicare.gov/supplierdirectory, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.
If you’re already renting certain medical equipment or recieveing oxygen or oxygen equipment, you can stay with your current supplier if they: 1) continue to be a contract supplier or 2) notify you that they chose to become a “grandfathered” supplier so you can continue renting your equipment and/or oxygen from them. Your supplier will notify you if you will not be able to continue renting your equipment or oxygen from them after July 1. This notification will be provided to you within 30 days of the start of the new contract period to allow time for you to transition to a contract supplier who will be able to rent the equipment or oxygen to you.
Make sure to let your friends and loved ones know about these changes!
If you have questions or want more information, Medicare has resources to help you understand the program, including Medicare.gov and 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO), your plan will notify you if your supplier is changing. Contact your plan for more information.