Durable Medical Equipment is a crucial part of life for people who are chronically ill, recovering from surgery, or suffering from long term disabilities. The DME category covers everything from mobility aids like wheelchairs and canes to dialysis machines, ventilators and oxygen and other reusable, supportive healthcare aids.
There’s no getting around the fact that when people need these supplies, they’re lifelines and the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program’s intention is to make this equipment as accessible to patients as possible.
The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program
The prefix to the name of this program reveals the type of equipment covered under its auspices: DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies). The full list of what’s covered is found here.
Passed into law into 2003, the program is part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act.
The intention of the program, as stated above is to make the covered items less expensive for both the recipient and Medicare. It’s also desired that the program ensure the quality of DEMPOS by having it supplied by accredited providers. As stated by Medicare, the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program is also designed to preclude fraud and abuse.
The program covers specific areas of the country. To find out if you’re living in a Medicare Competitive Bidding City, enter your zip code here, where you’ll also find a list of suppliers.
How Suppliers are Chosen
Because the spirit of the program is cost reduction, suppliers are part of a bidding system in which the supplier coming in with the lowest bid for DMEPOS achieves the government contract.
Depending on your area, there may be only one supplier for the item you need. But this factor varies across the cities involved. See the information above for the list of suppliers in your zip code.
What to Do
If you’re a Medicare recipient and you’re living in a competitive bidding city, you must order from the bid-winning supplier, or Medicare will not reimburse you.
This is important information for anyone living in a competitive bidding city. Forewarned is forearmed and you don’t want to be left holding the bag after you’ve purchased or rented the equipment you need.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many patients covered by Medicare don’t understand how this legislation has affected their access to DEMPOS. Knowledge is power, so we hope this has helped with any questions you have about the program.
At Obility, we model a progressive approach to orthopedics, bringing you everything you need before, during and after surgery.
We meet your needs with orthopedic products and services, supporting professionals and patients alike.
Our mission is to support your ongoing journey to health and get better. Better means different things to different people, so we go on the journey with you toward whatever better means for you.
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