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Medicare turns to mail for home delivery of diabetic supplies

New policy starts July 1, saves Medicare, consumers up to 72 percent, cuts fraud 

ANCHORAGE —Medicare recipients who want home delivery of diabetes supplies will need to sign up for a new national mail-order program, which starts July 1, 2013.

This important change brings new lower prices.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services brought the price of supplies down significantly by negotiating a national home delivery contract with suppliers. Medicare’s approved amount for 100 test strips and lancets will drop to $22 from $78, and consumers’ co-pay will drop to under $5, from $15.

To sign up with one of 20 national mail-order contractors, visit medicare.gov/supplier or call 1-800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) or TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Alaskans can pick up their supplies from their regular provider instead of going through the mail-order program, if they prefer. As long as the provider accepts Medicare’s approved amount as payment in full, consumers will still benefit from the price cut.

Also starting July 1, a similar program in 91 cities requires Medicare clients to get durable equipment like wheelchairs from approved suppliers. This will only affect Alaskans if they travel to those cities and need certain items. Besides bringing costs down, the programs also limit fraud and abuse, said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Alaska travelers can check medicare.gov/supplier to see if their destination and item are included; if so, they can use the same website to find a supplier.

Alaskans with questions can contact Alaska’s Medicare Information Office at 907-269-3680 in Anchorage, 800-478-6065 toll-free statewide (TTY is 800-770-8973), or email hss.medicare@alaska.gov.

If anyone is concerned about the health or well-being of a vulnerable adult Alaskan, age 18 or older, for any reason, call Alaska’s Adult Protective Services office, 907-269-3666 in Anchorage, or 1-800-478-9996.

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