Medicare & DME Suppliers

January 18, 2019

Competitive Bidding

On January 1, 2019 there was a major change in the Medicare landscape that opened the tube feeding supply market to any Medicare enrolled durable medical equipment (DME) provider. Prior to January 1, 2019 the tube feeding supply market for Medicare beneficiaries was limited to DME providers that contracted with the government to provide tube feeding nutrition and delivery supplies at the lowest price based on a CMS program called “Competitive Bidding”. If the DME did not have a contract they could not provide the service.

As of January 1, 2019 that program called “Competitive Bidding” was put on hold until December 31, 2020 and all contracts with DME suppliers have been allowed to expire.

During this time gap the home tube feeding patient that is on Medicare can choose to work with any Medicare enrolled DME provider and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will work with stakeholders to better define a payment system that works for everyone involved.

What Does This Mean?

This change means the home tube feeder that is on Medicare should have a larger number of DME suppliers to choose from when it comes to getting their tube feeding nutrition and supplies. It also means that a current DME supplier may choose to no longer provide tube feeding nutrition and supplies since their contract with CMS has expired.

CMS has provided the following information for those that are looking for a new DME supplier:

Use the Medicare Supplier Directory (www.medicare.gov/supplier) to locate a

• Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to locate a supplier, ask a question, or
file a complaint.

• Ask if the supplier accepts Medicare assignment. If the supplier doesn’t accept assignment, the person with Medicare could be responsible for paying higher coinsurance.

• Beware of aggressive marketing by suppliers:

–Don’t let anyone persuade you to switch suppliers. Talk to your supplier
first because you may not need to make a change.

–Remember that Medicare and Medicaid don’t send representatives to
homes to sell products or services.

–Don’t be influenced by certain media advertising. Many television and
radio ads don’t have your best interest at heart.

–Report fraud using the HHS Office of Inspector General’s
online form, or call the Fraud Hotline of the HHS Office of Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

Requesting the bFed System

This suspension of “Competitive Bidding” makes it easier to get your DME to supply you with the bFed System.  Sometimes DMEs resist bringing in new products, like the Bolee Bag and Bolink Large Cap for patients.  U Deliver Medical will work with you to help make that happen, but if that is not possible this change gives you the power to switch to a DME which will provide the bFed System. Let us know how we can help!


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