When I think of Diabetes and diabetic testing supplies I am reminded of the commercials starring Wilford Brimley as the spokesperson for Liberty Mutual. He would extol the virtues of Liberty Mutual’s services in supplying diabetic supplies by mail, right to your doorstep, oh the convenience of it all. Well like all things, the only thing constant is change!
As of July 1, 2013 Medicare has a National Mail-Order Program for diabetic testing supplies. No matter where you live you will need to use a Medicare contracted supplier to supply your diabetic testing supplies covered by Medicare. Medicare B covers the following diabetic supplies:
- Blood sugar (glucose) testing strips
- Blood sugar testing monitors (glucometer)
- Lancet devices and lancets
- Glucose control solutions
- Therapeutic shoes and/or inserts
This does not mean that if you currently like to visit your local retail pharmacy that you can’t purchase your supplies from there, you still can. If you have Medicare Part B your local retail pharmacy can bill Medicare if they have the capability. HOWEVER! If you use a mail order supplier to receive the above named supplies you must use an approved Medicare contracted supplier. The consequences of not using a contracted supplier is, you will be billed for your supplies (an out of pocket expense) and you will not be reimbursed by Medicare.
How to Find an Approved Contracted Medicare Supplier
I’ll admit the Official Medicare website (http://www.medicare.gov) is not easy to navigate, but it is easier than it has been in the past (hope springs eternal).
- Go to http://www.medicare.gov/supplier
- In the box that states, “Type in your zip code”, do so
- In the section entitled, “Competitive Bid Categories”, select Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies (you can view examples to see additional supplies that are covered).
- Scroll to the bottom and select “search”
- You will have three (options) on this page. You can “view all results”, “hide all results” or “print all results”
If your current supplier is not on this list, then “consumer beware!” Each supplier listed gives their contact information. Using a Medicare contracted supplier does not mean that you will have to change what type of supplies and/or the brand of supplies you currently use, however don’t be surprised if the contractor might suggest another product to get you to switch. You do whatever is most comfortable for you.