When a Medicare Supplier Makes a Mistake

There is a nursery rhyme about going to St. Ives in which there are seven wives, seven sacks, seven cats, etc.

As I was going to St. Ives,

I met a man with seven wives

Each wife had seven sacks

Each sack had seven cats

Each cat had seven kits:

Kits, cats, sacks, and wives

How many were there going to St. Ives?

On Saturday I received a 90-day supply of Dexcom sensors from my Medicare supplier. My order should have been 1 box containing 3 boxes of Dexcom sensors with each Dexcom box containing 3 sensors. 9 sensors. Imagine my surprise when there were 3 boxes on my front porch. Each with 3 boxes of Dexcom sensors. And each box containing 3 sensors. So 27 sensors instead of the 9 sensors required for 90 days.

I called my supplier this morning and had several levels of customer service reps telling me that I should have received 3 boxes of sensors. No one seemed to understand what I was saying. I knew that I could have kept these sensors and no one would have been the wiser. But I am an honest person and even with hoarding, I don’t need 27 sensors! I would have happily shared the extra sensors with D-friends, but it would have been Medicare fraud.

Talking to my supplier I tried to reword the issue by distinguishing brown shipping cartons from boxes of sensors. The first agent still didn’t have a clue. But I finally convinced the next agent that I needed to return some of these sensors. No, I didn’t need 1 shipping label. I needed 2 return labels. That will require another level of customer service. But didn’t I need to keep 3 boxes of sensors for the next 3 months? Yes, I do. But I don’t need the extra 18 sensors contained in the other 2 cartons.

if I am lucky, tomorrow I will receive by email two return shipping labels.

As I received a shipment on my front porch,

There were three cartons

Each carton contained three Dexcom boxes

Each box contained three G6 sensors

Cartons, boxes, sensors:

How many sensors do I need?

I think that the answer is 9.

1 brown carton containing 3 Dexcom boxes of 3 sensors….

And yes, this is a #1stWorldProblem blogpost.

11 thoughts on “When a Medicare Supplier Makes a Mistake

  1. Laddie,

    Only you and your collection of literature and words could have put such a good post together.

    That is really funny, but sad at the same time.

    My supplier will only ship the G6 supplies out once/month. The X2 pump supplies, however, are on a 3-month cycle. And that reminds me … I should have filled out the online request “yesterday”. Will do it now.

    Cheers – Nolan K.

    • As I get ready for a 3-month endo visit next week which is totally not needed except to get authorization for my pump supplies, I look at all of the waste with Medicare. Supplier problems are another issue I guess. But once again waste and incompetence.

  2. I was told by one of the device manufacturers that once a shipment has been made, Medicare will not allow any returns.

    • I have experienced that with certain products but today it seemed that I will be able to return the extra supplies. When I was dealing with Dexcom directly, once or twice I got to keep supplies that were sent in error. I truly think that the experience would have been easier if everything had not been in multiples of three!

    • Thank you for doing the right thing, even if it meant you had to go through a lot of hoops. 🤗

      Wondering If you are on Medicare part B.

      I’m on Medicare part B
      With a supplement on plan G
      And a prescription with part D

      I go to Walgreens once a month to pick up one individual box of three sensors. It’s quite the pain as once every 2-3 months, something goes haywire. In addition, their lines are so long… 30 to 45 minutes no matter what time.

      • As far as I know, Walgreens continues to supply sensors one month at a time. Many of the DME suppliers are now shipping 3 months of supplies although they continue to bill Medicare monthly. Because the Dexcom contract is a monthly contract. It is really nice not to have to deal with sensor shipments monthly.

  3. I had a port installed for the infusion of my RA medicines. After installation, someone ordered my 90 days’ worth of heparin. That meant I received 180 vials of heparin. Now, to be clear, I use two of these per month, and I have to go to an infusion center to have it done. So in three months, I use 6 vials. But even more, I could not use these if I wanted. It takes a very qualified person to access and close the port.

    Each vial cost $140.00. So here I sat with about $25,000 of particular and potentially deadly medication if misused. So I called, what shall I do? Keep it; of course, we do not want it back. Well, we argued for some time, and in the end? Yeah, it was destroyed. Obviously, I canceled all future orders. Good grief.

    • So much waste in our medical system. At the same time, we all fight to get what we need. So a lot of the waste is not our problem….

  4. A while back you posted that you were switching to a new supplier. I was using that supplier at the time and things were going well. Then things changed. Several months ago they sent me infusion sets that were incompatible with my pump. After the first call I started keeping track of what was said and how long I spent on the phone…11 hours total. They said they could not be returned and I was not eligible for another shipment. I said I am not eligible for another shipment because you sent me the wrong thing and will not let me return it. When they finally replaced the infusion sets they sent the wrong thing, again. I did some research and found out that the company I was using had been sold to a company whose stock price rose dramatically after they acquired the company I had been dealing with. T1’s are valuable customers because they are lifers. If you look up suppliers of insulin pumps, CGMs, and the supplies that go with those items, they have pretty dismal customer ratings. I was getting ready to get a Tandem pump and saw that they provided supplies but, alas, not for those on Medicare.

    Tandem did hook me up with a new supplier who has been great so far.
    My standards: they answer the phone
    they ship the right items in the quantities at the right time
    they answer the phone

    The thing that saved me at the time was a lady with a blog who saves every diabetes item she’s ever had, except when sent to her in error. I sent an email to this lady and we traded t locks for luer locks. Whew!

    Thanks again, Laddie.

  5. Wow! What a surprise shipment, for sure. And what a fun read! Thank you for that! I agree with your course of action. I tend to think that these types of things always shake out in the long run, and eventually, some audit or something would have caught up with the extras if you would have kept them. The bummer is how much of your time and energy it took to get them to understand! That is frustrating.

Comments are closed.