If you're newly eligible for Medicare, you may be wondering: Does Medicare cover diabetic supplies?
Fortunately, Medicare generally covers the tests, supplies and medical visits required to manage diabetes. But different parts of your Medicare plan cover different aspects of your care. It's important to understand the specifics of your coverage and to anticipate which services or supplies may not be covered.
Coverage for Diabetes Supplies and Screenings
Medicare Part B — the medical insurance arm of Medicare — covers durable medical equipment and supplies such as blood sugar monitors, test strips and lancets. Part B also covers insulin pumps and therapeutic shoes or inserts.
Some supplies, like continuous glucose monitors, require additional approval from your doctor in order to receive coverage, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. There are also limits on the number of supplies covered by Medicare. For example, people who use insulin are eligible to receive more test strips and lancets than those who don't. Always check first with your doctor to make sure any supplies you need will be covered by your plan.
In addition to durable medical supplies, Part B also covers certain diabetes screenings, tests, self-management trainings and medical nutrition therapy.
Coverage for Diabetes Medications
Medications you rely on for managing your diabetes, including insulin and anti-diabetic drugs, are covered by Medicare Part D — the arm of Medicare that offers prescription drug coverage.
If you're not sure how a certain supply or medication will be covered, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has a chart that provides an at-a-glance view of common diabetes supplies and services and how they are covered by Medicare.
Managing your Diabetes Expenses with Medicare and Supplemental Plans
Before you select a Medicare plan, it's a good idea to compare plans to ensure the one you choose meets your specific needs, from covering all of your necessary equipment to offering the right number of supplies.
In addition to comparing plan premiums, take a close look at the copayments and co-insurance payments you will owe for services and visits. Before you order any equipment or start working with a new doctor or pharmacy, make sure the supplier or medical practice is enrolled in Medicare.
Ultimately, Medicare may not cover every single supply or service you rely on to manage your diabetes. To help close the gap, you may wish to purchase a supplemental Medigap insurance plan to cover expenses that don't qualify for Medicare coverage and keep your expenses in check.