On July 1, 2013, Medicare was scheduled to implement a national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies. The program was designed to offer patients quality supplies at a discounted rate. Rather than having an approved amount of $78 for 100 test strips and lancets, Medicare’s approved amount is around $22 — and your co-pay will go from $15 to under $5. In order to save money under this program, you’ll need to use a Medicare national mail-order contract supplier. The national mail-order program includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.

Who are the mail-order contract suppliers?

For a list of contract suppliers, visit Medicare.gov/supplier. Enter your zip code, select “Mail-Order Diabetic Supplies” and hit the search button. You can also obtain a list of contract suppliers by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). If your current supplier is not included in the list, you will have to select a new contract supplier for Medicare to help pay for diabetic testing supplies that you have delivered to your home.

How else can I get supplies?

If you don’t want diabetic testing supplies delivered to your home, you can go to any local store enrolled with Medicare and buy them there. You can receive the same savings by purchasing diabetic testing supplies in the store as you would by having them delivered to your home — as long as the store accepts assignment, which means they accept the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full. If the store does not accept assignment, they can charge you more. So it’s important to check with the store about assignment if you want to take advantage of the new prices.

Questions?

Medicare has resources to help you understand the new program, including Medicare.gov and 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. You can also call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). In Hawai‘i, this is the Sage PLUS Program and we can be reached at 1-888-875-9229.

This program applies to people with Original/ Traditional Medicare. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Akamai Advantage, AlohaCare, Humana, Kaiser Sr. Advantage, Ohana Healthplan or UnitedHealthcare Medicare Complete), your plan will notify you if your supplier is changing. If you have a retirement health plan and are not sure, please call the Hawai‘i SHIP/Sage PLUS Program or your retirement administrator for more information.

The Hawai‘i SHIP/Sage PLUS Program is a volunteer based, federally-funded, Medicare counseling program. And provides individual counseling and community presentations.

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