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Medicare’s National Mail-Order Program for diabetic supplies

As of July 2013, Medicare has a National Mail-Order Program for diabetic testing supplies (like test strips and lancets). No matter where you live, you’ll need to use a Medicare national mail-order contract supplier for Medicare to pay for diabetic testing supplies that are delivered to your home. If you don’t want diabetic testing supplies delivered to your home, you can go to any local store (local pharmacy or storefront supplier) that’s enrolled with Medicare and buy them there. 

The National Mail-Order Program doesn't require you to change your testing monitor. If you're happy with your current monitor, look for a mail-order contract supplier or local store that can provide the supplies you need.

Note

If you switch suppliers, you might need to get a new prescription for testing supplies or arrange to have your current prescription transferred. Plan ahead before you run out of supplies.

How much will I pay if I buy supplies at a store?

You’ll pay the same amount for diabetic testing supplies whether you buy them at the store or have them delivered to your home. National mail-order contract suppliers can’t charge you more than any unmet deductible and 20% coinsurance. Local stores also can’t charge more than any unmet deductible and 20% coinsurance if they accept assignment. Local stores that don’t accept Medicare assignment may charge you more than 20% coinsurance and any unmet deductible. If you get your supplies from a local store, check with the store to find out what your payment will be. 

Find a supplier

Note

The National Mail-Order Program applies to Original Medicare only. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) (like an HMO or PPO), your plan will let you know if your supplier is changing. If you’re not sure, contact your plan. 

What if I need a specific brand of equipment or supplies? 

The Competitive Bidding Program has special protections to make sure you get the specific types of medical equipment you need to protect your health. If you need a specific brand of equipment or supplies, or you need an item in a specific form, your doctor must prescribe it in writing.Your doctor must also document in your medical record that you need this specific item or brand of supply for medical reasons. In these situations, a Medicare contract supplier is required to do one of these: 

  • Give you the exact brand or form of item you need. 
  • Help you find another contract supplier that offers that brand or form. 
  • Work with your doctor to find another brand or form that’s safe and effective for you. 

Can my contract supplier switch me to a different brand? 

No. Contract suppliers must give you the brand of testing supplies that works with your monitor. If the contract supplier doesn’t carry your brand of testing supplies, you can ask the contract supplier about other brands they offer. However, the supplier can’t start this conversation. 

What if I have other insurance? 

If your primary insurance policy requires you to use a supplier that doesn’t participate in the national mail-order program, Medicare may make a secondary payment to that supplier. The supplier must meet Medicare enrollment standards and be eligible to get secondary payments. For more information, check with your insurer, plan provider, or benefits administrator 

What if suppliers call and ask me to switch suppliers? 

Medicare has rules to protect you from unsolicited phone calls from suppliers. If you think you’ve been pressured to switch suppliers: 

  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
  • Report fraud using the HHS Office of Inspector General's online form.
  • Call the Fraud Hotline of the HHS Office of Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

What if people try to send me free supplies that I didn't order? 

  • Don’t accept items that you didn’t order. Refuse the delivery and/or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items. 
  • Call the Fraud Hotline of the HHS Office of Inspector General at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (1-800-447-8477).

Learn more about how to spot and fight Medicare fraud.