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Competitive bidding program negatively affecting Medicare recipients

Posted On Wed, February 9, 2011

When the Medicare's competitive bidding program was passed into law, detractors said it would make homecare more difficult. Today, for seniors living in Texas and Missouri, that appears to be the case.

According to the American Association for Homecare, senior citizens in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Kansas City are having trouble accessing medical equipment they need to use as part of their homecare.

The bidding program, which went into effect January 1 and was passed to lower health insurance costs, primarily affects those covered by Medicare and who use equipment they need to breathe and travel, like respiratory assistive devices, wheelchairs and walkers.

"Medicare's competitive bidding program works against the best interests of the patient by eliminating the access to care that beneficiaries require," said the president of the Texas Alliance of Home Care Services, Barry Johnson.

Johnson went on to say that before the implementation of the program, 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries had 300 oxygen providers for home oxygen therapy. That number has dwindled to 52 since competitive bidding went into effect.

Nine other regions across the country will be affected by the program this year. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 45 million people nationwide are Medicare beneficiaries.


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