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Competitive Bidding

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Understanding Competitive Bidding

Starting in 2011, an auction program called “Competitive Bidding” was implemented in the largest metropolitan areas of the country where companies submitted bids to win one of the few, exclusive contracts to provide home medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. The concept was that by offering the opportunity for increased market-share and decreased competition, the contracted companies would be able to adjust to the severe price reductions for providing medical equipment, supplies, and services.

The program drew widespread criticism by numerous patient advocacy groups, homecare stakeholders, economists, and auction experts for its design flaws that awarded contracts to those with the cheapest prices and little regard to quality, service, experience, financial health, or presence in the community. Many Medicare patients and family caregivers reported delays in getting needed equipment and services, difficulties in finding companies to perform repairs, and receiving inferior products that the program pricing can barely afford.

In January 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began a 6-month, 2-part phase in expansion of applying these extreme prices derived from densely populated metropolitan areas like Chicago and Miami into rural and non-urban America, even though these areas never participated in an auction process. Failing to factor the unique costs of accessing and caring for medically fragile Medicare patients across rural America, CMS slashed reimbursement rates for medical equipment.

Is competitive Bidding in My Area?

The Competitive Bidding Program’s impact on you varies based on where you live; however, all Medicare beneficiaries are now affected across the country. Enter your zip code on this website to see if you live in an area participating in the auction program or if you live in the areas impacted by the nationwide expansion. 

How Competitive Bidding Impacts Patients

  • Seniors and people with disabilities losing access to local home medical equipment providers
  • Medicare beneficiaries struggling to access equipment, supplies and services
  • Product offerings decreasing
  • Out-of-pocket expenses increasing for Medicare beneficiaries

Meet People Impacted By Competitive Bidding

It's not policy, it's personal.

Read about seniors, people with disabilities and caregivers negatively impacted by the program

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