CMS: Expanded competitive bidding to save $25.7B by 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is poised to expand a competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics and other supplies (DMEPOS), the agency announced last week.

Altogether, CMS has picked about 800 suppliers to participate in the program, which is being expanded from 70 markets to 91 starting in July.  And a new pilot program will bring competitive bidding into the realm of mail-order diabetic supplies. CMS selected 18 companies from around the country to participate, reported AHA News Now.

Expanded competitive bidding for DMEPOS in round two will lower prices by about 45 percent, while prices for mail-order diabetic testing supplies will drop by as much as 72 percent, according to CMS.

The initial round of competitive bidding has saved the Medicare program about $202 million, and is expected to reap another $25.7 billion in savings between now and 2022. Medicare enrollees are expected to save another $17.1 billion in reduced Part B premiums and co-payments, according to CMS.

"[O]ur extensive monitoring in Round One showed that competitive bidding reduced spending without jeopardizing access to medical equipment and supplies," Jonathan Blum, deputy CMS administrator, said in a statement.

DME's major trade group, the American Association for Homecare, objected to the expansion last spring, warning of more emergency room visits, longer hospitalizations and more nursing home admissions.

To learn more:
- here's the CMS announcement
- read the AHA News Now brief
Read the article