Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program Fails to Offer Diabetes Supplies as Promised

Medicare's diabetes supply bidding system offers few choices, says AADE.

| Dec 19, 2011

In some US markets, people with diabetes who are covered by Medicare cannot get the mail order diabetes testing supplies that Medicare promised.

According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), the competitive bidding program for diabetes testing supplies is not working as it should.  In August 2011, after learning that some suppliers were not offering products listed on the website, the AADE formally surveyed contract suppliers by telephone in nine markets in different parts of the US. The organization found that contract suppliers offered an average of only 38 percent of the products listed on and, in some cases, offered products not listed on the government website.

The AADE also found that patients who live in competitive bidding areas do not have access to most available brands or to the brands most commonly prescribed by physicians. In fact, of nine brands identified in a December 2010 report as the top mail order diabetes testing supply brands by percent of market share, contract suppliers offered an average of only 1.44 brands (16 percent).

Effective and consistent self-monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential to diabetes control, and testing systems are not interchangeable. Doctors often prescribe, and patients choose, particular products for important clinical reasons. When patients are forced to use an unfamiliar testing system that may be difficult to use or unreliable, they may not test as often as they should. This increases their risk of health complications, which can be costly both for Medicare and for Medicare beneficiaries.

"Under the Competitive Bidding Program, contract suppliers have powerful incentives to maximize profit margins by purchasing and offering a limited range of products and only the lowest cost products available," said Martha Rinker, chief advocacy officer of the AADE. "We believe this is a violation of the intent of the program."

Founded in 1973, the AADE is a multidisciplinary professional membership organization dedicated to improving diabetes care through education.  With more than 12,000 professional members, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists, the AADE has a vast network of practitioners involved in the daily treatment of diabetes patients.  To learn more, go to

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: AADE, American Association of Diabetes Educators, Blood Glucose Levels, Competitive Bidding Program , Diabetes, Diabetes, Diabetes Testing Supplies, Diabetes Testing Supply, Mail Order, Medicare, Self-Monitoring, Unfamiliar Testing System

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (1)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 19 December 2011

People for Quality Care is an organization working to have the competitive bidding program repealed. We tell the stories of those who have been impacted by competitive bidding, whether they use diabetic equipment, a wheelchair or any of the other equipment that is included in the bidding process. We have found many people who are disappointed with the quality of equipment that is available to them after the competitive bid. Currently 9 areas of the country are bidding areas. However, in 2012 91 more areas will be added, covering the entire country. You can contact Congress using our website and a pre-written email that you can edit to include your own feelings. Please take a moment to speak out for quality supplies!
-Beth Cox

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.