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Changing Medicare Supplier when Moving
I just got my first CPAP two weeks ago. It's rented by Medicare through a regional supplier. But I will be moving out of the region in a couple of months, so I thought I'd better switch to a provider that covers my new area. Medicare says it's no big deal - just return the unit to current supplier and get a form from them, then send prescription to new supplier and pick up a new machine. Even the days of qualifying use would not be lost.
So I had Px sent to Lincare. They called and said corporate policy was that they could not take over from any other supplier until the 13 month rental period is over. They said my return of unit to current supplier would be a non-compliance event that would disqualify me from Medicare paying. They said you're basically stuck for 13 months. Essentially, they're saying that it's too hard for them to be assured of getting paid, and a lot of work to do this. Lady at Apria says it should be possible to do.
Medicare person gave an example: Suppose I had the CPAP for 8 months and then moved. I would return the machine, get the form, send Px and get new machine. New supplier would get the remaining 5 months rent, after which the machine is mine. So I'm left wondering - what new supplier would be willing to sell a machine for 5 months rent? The "rent" that Medicare pays is essentially a financing lease.
Has anyone been able to change suppliers within the Medicare rent period? What is involved to accomplish this?
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You do not have to change suppliers for the machine. Stick with the unit that you got if you are happy with it. The SUPPLIES could be changed to the new provider if you wish, but it's not really necessary for that either. Keep in mind that both Apria and Lincare are national suppliers. Everything is shipped from warehouses. It's the personal care that changes. Ask Apria how they deal with machine repair within that 13 months if you have now moved out of the region. How would they handle giving you a backup machine? I'm pretty certain Apria and Lincare have offices in virtually every state.

The person you spoke with at Medicare may think it's no big deal, but they are not the billing department and the DME wants to be paid. They likely have prior experience on this.
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Hi jrh0,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Hang in there for more answers to your question and good luck to you with your CPAP therapy and with your move in a couple months.
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Thanks for the quick response! Currently, I have a small regional supplier. Apria is another possiblity I'm exploring. Lincare says no way can I get supplies from them (paid by Medicare) until 13 months is up. It'd be nice to have a local supplier for both the CPAP and supplies. I'd hate to have to send a machine back to NC for repair some day!
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Sometimes you get the idea that everybody is reading a different book.

I have Apria and looked into switching to Lincare when Apria lost their local competitive Medicare contract.

I spoke with a Medicare specialist and I was told that you keep the machine under the original contract as the original vendor is obliged to keep up the equipment until you own it after 13 months.

As for supplies, any other qualified Medicare Vendor can provide and bill them as long as you have a prescription. I was also told that Apria was grandfathered into the program and could keep providing supplies until I owned the machine.

The machine contract is separate and distinct from the provision of supplies.

Both companies have a separate department for conversions and transfers of equipment, so you need to make sure you are talking to the right people and not just the front line at the call center.

Best of luck.

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
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