Q: What is the National Mail Order Diabetic Testing Supplies Competitive Bidding Program that starts Nationwide on July 1? I've heard that if I receive items such as test strips and lancets in the mail or by delivery that I will need to get them from a Medicare contract supplier, but my out of pocket costs will be significantly reduced. What does this all mean, and how do I find a contract supplier?
A: Starting July 1, 2013, Medicare is scheduled to implement a national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies, which is designed so you can save money while continuing to receive quality supplies. When it starts, rather than having an approved amount of $78 for 100 test strips and lancets, Medicare's approved amount will be around $22 – and your copay will go from $15 to under $5. In order to save money under the national mail-order program, you'll need to use a Medicare national mail-order contract supplier. The national mail-order program will include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
For a list of mail-order Medicare contract suppliers, visit medicare.gov/supplier. Enter your zip code, select "Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies" and hit the search button. You can also obtain a list of contract suppliers by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). If your current supplier is not included in the list, you will have to select a new contract supplier for Medicare to help pay for diabetic testing supplies that you have delivered to your home.
If you don't want diabetic testing supplies delivered to your home, you can go to any local store enrolled with Medicare and buy them there. When the program starts, you can receive the same savings by purchasing diabetic testing supplies in the store as you would by having them delivered to your home – as long as the store accepts assignment, which means they accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full. If the store does not accept assignment, they can charge you more. So, it's important to check with the store about Medicare assignment if you want to take advantage of the new lower prices.
If you have questions, Medicare has resources to help you understand the new program, including medicare.gov and 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. You can also call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).The SHIP phone number can be found on the back of your Medicare handbook, or by calling 1-800-Medicare. This program applies to people with Original Medicare. 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.www.medicare.gov • 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
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