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If you need durable medical equipment, call your plan to find out if the equipment is covered and how much you will have to pay. For more information about Medicare-covered Equipment and Supplies, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Starting January 1, 2011, Medicare began phasing in a new competitive bidding program in some areas of the country. This program changes the amount Medicare pays suppliers for certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) and makes changes to which suppliers Medicare will pay to supply these items to you. Medicare will be expanding the competitive bidding program to more areas in the future.

If you live in (or get the items while visiting) one of these areas and use equipment or supplies included in the program, you will have to use Medicare contract suppliers (suppliers who participate in the competitive bidding program because they have met Medicare quality and financial standards and they had successful bids) if you want Medicare to help you pay for the item. If you rent oxygen or certain other durable medical equipment, you may be able to continue renting these items from your current supplier when the program takes effect, if the supplier decided to participate in the program as a “grandfathered” supplier. If you live in (or get these items while visiting) these areas and don’t use a Medicare contract or a grandfathered supplier, Medicare won’t pay for the item and you will likely pay full price. It’s important to know if you’re affected by this new program to make sure your item is covered and to avoid any disruption of service.