$10.41?! Why not just give the stuff away?


Did I really say, in my last blog, that expected payment amounts for Round 2 for diabetes test strips would about $15? Boy, was I (and, apparently, pretty much everyone else) wrong. The strips came in at $10.41. How did the price get so low, especially since Medicare implemented its 50% marketshare rule for Round 2. Did some bidders offer to supply them for free?

My first reaction was one of shock, quickly followed by dismay, not for myself but for all the wonderful providers I talk to that will be impacted by this. In fact, I had talked to several of my "sugar peeps" in the days before the announcement. I wanted to know what they thought of the plan to reimburse all Medicare diabetes supplies at the new mail order rate. While none of them were happy, they also weren't wailing and hand-wringing.

I have a feeling that's changed (if you are reading this and supply diabetes products, save me a dime and call me). CMS likes to spin the benefit to the bennies, but I think we'll find, you get what you pay (or in this case, don't pay) for.

Speaking of diabetes, I picked up my new brand of meter and strips the other day. The pharmacy billed it through as a 90-day supply, even though it was supposed to be 30. I hope that was an honest error but really, 200 strips to last a Type 1 90 days? I don't think it will last me 30 days. To give credit where it's due, my new insurer called the pharmacy right away and straightened it out.

It will be interesting to see how quickly I master the meter. Confession: The lancing device looks tricky already.

Theresa Flaherty
Type 1


Well I am the Billing Manager of a small Mail Order Diabetic Supply Company that was extremely shocked at the reimburstment rates we to thought the pricing would come in at around $15.00 per bottle.

However I am even more upset that we have heard rumors that the bid winners already know who they are and that only 15 contract were awarded.

Something smells extremely fishy with this entire Competative Bidding Program and almost sounds as though fraud hof some sort has been commited.

We put our bid in, thought we had a pretty good shot since most of our audits are paid by Medicare once they receive our documentation.

There is not in my opinion one company 0n the mail order diabetic side that will be able to stay in business. And still supply their patients with quality and reliable testing supplies.



Dear Suppliers,

There is only one way to avoid this non sense. Everyone who got the contract needs to decline!

Nobody in their right mind would be okay with these rates.

It is absolutely amazing to me that Medicare can sit there and boast about the money they are saving. Will they boast about the people that die because their diabetic strips were so cheap they were faulty? Will they boast when someone cannot get equipment they needed?

Let's hope a family member of the high and mighty doesn't  need something that went out to bid.

Oh I forgot, will Medicare boast about more of the "little guys" they put out of business?

It will be interesting to see how thie plays out!  One side of me thinks that this could be a huge failure, but the the market seems to be following suit.  One of the Big 4 DM supply manufacturers has laid off half of its company, two of the others are pushing Meds and pumps now along with DM supplies. 

If and when this happens,  there will be alot of good people adding to the unemployment statistics.