The competitive bidding demonstration does not affect all states and regions. If you are not affected by competitive bidding, you will pay the least for your durable medical equipment (DME) when you use Medicare-approved suppliers who take assignment. That means they accept Medicare’s approved amount for health care services as full payment.

You may not be affected by competitive bidding if:

  • You live in or travel to an area that is outside the demonstration
  • Or, you need DME that is not part of competitive bidding, even though you live in a competitive bidding area

Call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov/supplier to find DME suppliers who take assignment. Original Medicare normally pays 80% of the Medicare-approved amount after you meet your Part B deductible, and you are responsible for a 20% coinsurance. Your costs will also depend on whether or not you are required to rent or buy the equipment you need.

Be aware that many suppliers are Medicare-approved but do not take assignment. These suppliers may charge you more than Medicare’s approved amount for the cost of services. Medicare will still only pay 80% of its approved amount for services, so you will be responsible for any additional costs.

Note: If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, your plan will have its own cost and coverage rules for DME. Contact your plan for more information.

Suppliers who have not signed up with Medicare

Avoid suppliers who have not signed up to bill Medicare for DME, also known as opt-out providers. Medicare will not pay for services you receive from opt-out providers. This means you are responsible for the entire cost.

If you use an opt-out DME supplier, the supplier should ask you to sign a private contract confirming that you understand you are responsible for the full cost of your care. If you do not sign a private contract, you do now owe the supplier for the cost of your DME.