The Department of Health and Human Services announced that in its first year, the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment has already saved taxpayers and beneficiaries in nine metropolitan areas $202 million.
According to the report, there has been a 42% reduction in costs, and as the program extends under the Affordable Care Act, it could save as much as $42.8 billion over the next 10 years.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we can expand this successful example of health care reform to include more areas and achieve savings on a national level over the next few years. People with Medicare across the country will get the medical equipment they need to live their lives, while saving them and other taxpayers money in the process,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of HHS, stated in a press release. “The law is already saving those with Medicare hundreds of dollars on their health care needs — from medical equipment to prescription drugs —and they will continue to save in the years to come.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, Round 2 of the DME competitive bidding program was expanded from 70 to 91 metropolitan statistical areas across the US. By 2016, HHS hopes that all areas of the country will benefit from either the competitive bidding program or lower rates based on competitively bid rates.
The report also said that after extensive monitoring by CMS, there have been no negative effects on the health of people on Medicare or their access to needed supplies and services.