Medicare Competitive Bidding and What it Means for People With Chronic Illness

If you have a chronic illness and need home medical supplies through a vendor that gets paid by Medicare, you may have already been affected. The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) was started in 2010 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This program was started to save taxpayer dollars. However, many health and disability advocates are pointing out that the consequences far outweigh any benefit of this program.

This new program started out in 9 cities and is expected to be nationwide in July 2013. The process requires that home medical supply and equipment providers submit a bid to Medicare in one or all of the categories. These categories include:

[li]Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (oxygen, CPAP, RAD, nebulizers)[/li]

[li]Standard Mobility Equipment and Related Accessories (walkers, wheelchairs, scooters)[/li]

[li]General Home Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (TENS devices, hospital beds, commode, lifts, support surfaces)[/li]

[li]Enteral Nutrients, Equipment and Supplies[/li]

[li]Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Pumps and Related Supplies and Accessories[/li]

[li]External Infusion Pumps and Supplies[/li]


People For Quality Care is an advocacy organization that has been following up with people who have been through the first rounds of bidding and cuts. They’re finding that some of the smaller home care supply companies have had to close down because they lost the bids and can no longer compete in the market place. More importantly, people have had to change over to new supply companies that are usually out of state with less communication and longer wait times to receive the goods and services.

Can you imagine waiting over a month for some new pads for your TENS device? So what can you do?

Review your situation
Reading the detail
Are you on Medicare? Are you receiving medical equipment through home care supply companies? If yes, review any paperwork that you’ve received from CMS. You will need to choose a home care supply company. Do your research and read the small print.
Alternative solutions
10-year, Health Care Reserve Fund Enacted
There was a bill proposed in the House of Representatives called the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2012. Unfortunately, this bill is currently dead. There is work underway to start a new one. Pain Camp will keep you updated when there are changes with this.
Be heard
US Capitol Building Washington DC
Having a chronic illness many times means having just enough energy to get through the day. It may be hard to get out and actually meet with your elected officials. People For Quality Care has an easy solution. By going to their Legislative Action Center page, you can plug in your zip code and send off a pre-written letter to your Representative.

Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. Have you already been affected by the new Medicare Competitive Bidding? If you haven’t been affected yet, which of your home care medical supplies will you need to review to ensure a smooth transition?
Photo credit: catasteristsomerubbishusername, andrew.figueroa23, mbell1975 via





  1. Debra Sloan says:

    Government officials must be crazy. If they had to do w/o Oxygen — what would they do…I want to go to the President and ask him “okay, what day and time would you like for my son not to be able to breathe with the help of his ventilator and oxygen — since you are changing our right to access our medical services” — then – I would invite all press members there to hear this and witness the “disconnect” and what follows….We need to protect ourselves from Big Government…..

    • camperjen says:

      Thanks Camper Debra for sharing your experience. The best thing we can do is make sure our voice is heard by our elected officials and be prepared for the change! I hope that your son’s ventilator and Oxygen services and supplies are not disrupted!! We look forward to seeing you more here at Pain Camp! Peace and Blessings

    • Lana Hughes says:

      I agree. Big Government needs to stop making medical decisions based on their ideas! So far, Mr. Obama’s “ideas” have gotten our deficeit increased, our nation publically humiliated and apologized for, and millions of our citizens are continuing to become homeless and jobless, while he sips chapagne and flys around in Airforce One on the tax payer dime. We have never been in such bad shape and we’ve never been so demoralized in the eyes of ourselves and other contries. Yet his solution is to penalize the sick,the poor, and the small business owners. What a prize. i’ve had a DME company for over 20 years. We’ve had to give up our oxygen base…to Washington’s new National Competitive Bidding program…We’ve lost our building, our of our employees except 1 full time and 1 P/T. As owners, we’ve lost our personal homes after we mortgaged them to try to subsidize our company…We’ve lost patients that we were like family with. It goes on and on. But I am not alone. Our patients have lost too. A great deal. This man’s socialization of our Healthcare Industry is going to have long and far reaching effects.

      • camperjen says:

        Thank you Camper Lana for sharing your story with the Pain Camp community! I’m sorry that your business has been demolished by this change in our political and economic healthcare atmosphere. Our thoughts go out to your situation. I hope that you’re active in contacting your elected officials as they need to hear your story! They also need to hear Debra’s and Julie’s as well! We look forward to seeing you around Pain Camp often. Peace and Blessings.

  2. Julie says:

    I agree with Debra. BIG Government has gotten out of hand and have totally forgotten or just step all over the citizen that voted their useless butts into office. They are set up big time on their “premier” CITIZEN TAX PAID health insurance and don’t have to worry about being out of oxygen or having to wait extra time for delivery of other durable medical equipment. ALL tax cuts should include their fat cat rumps as well-cut some of their benefits. Why should they sit back and NOT have to give up or sacrifice anything while WE struggle to make ends meet, trying to pay for utilities that always rise due to THEIR tax increases on such companies, rising food costs due to rising fuel cost. They do NOTHING to help the struggling here at home but yet want to give OUR benefits to imigrants that are not here legally or are in the “process” of becoming legal-they get all kinds of consideration and benefits just handed out to them while we who have been working most of our lives BORN into this country and paid taxes for years to EARN our benefits of SSD and Medicare and Medicaid only to have OUR benefits stripped and scaled down. It is NOT RIGHT!! I have nothing personally against immigration, but I do have a big problem with the way they are treated over our own citizens!! And DON”T get me started on our veterans who come back from serving our country and get NO help and struggle as much if not more than we do!!!! Government is getting too big and the fat cats are getting fatter-all on OUR taxpayer dollar and they want to tax and spend MORE, but NOT to help us!!!! Sickening. Ok. My rant is over for now. Grrrrrrrrrr just infuriates me to no end.

    • camperjen says:

      Thanks Camper Julie for sharing your experience. Many people are frustrated with this. The best thing we can do is make sure our voice is heard by our elected officials. We look forward to seeing you more here at Pain Camp! Peace

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.