Medicare Part B covers part of the cost of glucose meters and supplies.
Medicare Part B covers part of the cost of some CGM systems.
If you use an insulin pump, the type you choose will determine which part of Medicare covers it.
Medicare covers part of the cost of insulin if an insulin pump is medically necessary for your care.
If you have diabetes, you may be wondering if Medicare covers the at-home testing supplies you need to manage your condition effectively.
Diabetes can be a challenging diagnosis that requires daily testing and regular insulin injections. If you are eligible for Medicare, it will cover many at-home diagnostic tools. In some instances, Medicare may also cover insulin.
Read on to learn what Medicare will pay for and what your cost-sharing responsibilities will be.
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Glucose meters are portable devices that measure blood sugar. They are also known as glucometers.
You must meet the following requirements for Medicare to cover your glucose meter:
- You have been diagnosed with diabetes
- Your doctor has stated that a professional can train you to use this device
- If you can’t operate the device, another person will be available to do it for you
- The monitor is for use in your home, rather than clinical use
Medicare Part B covers 80% of the Medicare-approved cost of glucose meters and the supplies needed to operate them after you meet the Part B deductible. These supplies include:
- lancet devices
- blood sugar testing strips
- glucose control solutions that check the accuracy of your at-home equipment
Medicare will cover these costs whether or not you use insulin. If you use insulin, you may be eligible for a larger quantity of test strips and other supplies than you would be if you don’t use insulin.
Typically, a person who uses insulin will have Medicare coverage for 300 test strips and 300 lancets every three months. If you don’t use insulin, you’ll have coverage for 100 test strips and 100 lancets every three months.
If your physician can prove that it’s medically necessary for you to receive more supplies than your eligibility indicates, you may be able to get them.
For coverage to take place, your physician and medical supplies provider must both accept Medicare assignment.
If you have a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, your plan will cover at least as much as Original Medicare does. In some instances, it may also provide richer coverage of your meter and supplies.
Diabetic sensors are also referred to as glucose sensors. They’re used to measure blood sugar as part of a CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) system. Medicare does not cover every CGM system. If your system is covered, your diabetic sensor will be, too.
Diabetic sensors are professionally inserted under the skin, usually on the abdomen or arm. They take continual glucose measurements, which you can monitor at a glance. You can share your readings with a mobile device, such as your smartphone.
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Medicare Part B covers Glucose monitors as durable medical equipment that your doctor has prescribed for your use at home.
You will need to get your monitor from a Medicare-approved supplier. Medicare will determine if your monitor must be rented or purchased. In some instances, you may be able to choose between those options.
As part of a CGM system, glucose monitors connect wirelessly with insulin pumps. They provide all-day readings of your blood sugar levels without the need for most finger pricks.
Not every glucose monitor is covered by Medicare. Several CGM systems that contain glucose monitors are available for beneficiaries. They include:
- Freestyle Libre
- Dexcom G6
If you have Medicare Part C, your plan may cover additional glucose monitors. Each plan varies, so make sure to check before you buy. In many instances, you will need preapproval from your plan or Original Medicare before purchase.
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Most blood glucose meters designed for at-home use are covered under Medicare Part B. These include multiple brands, such as:
Talk to your doctor about the glucose meter brands available and which one may be best for your specific needs.
Is the FreeStyle Libre covered by Medicare?
If a Medicare-approved physician prescribes the FreeStyle Libre CGM system, Medicare will cover the device if you qualify. You may purchase or rent a FreeStyle Libre from a Medicare-approved provider only.
There are requirements to qualify, including:
- You have a diagnosis of diabetes
- You require blood glucose testing at least four times daily
- You require insulin to keep blood sugar levels within the appropriate range
- You need at least three daily insulin injections
CGMs provide continuous monitoring of your blood sugar levels. They maintain information about prior readings as well as your current reading. They also enable you to see the impact of eating, exercising, and other behaviors on your glucose level.
Since CGMs utilize inserted sensors, they eliminate the need for most finger pricks. The sensors provide a sense of freedom for many people.
How much does FreeStyle Libre cost with Medicare?
If you have Medicare Part B, you can expect to pay 20% of the Medicare-approved cost of a FreeStyle Libre. You will also be responsible for meeting the Part B deductible, plus your monthly premium costs.
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, your costs for this system may vary.
Insulin pumps are small devices that help you manage diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes mostly use them.
Medicare covers the cost of insulin pump supplies if your doctor has determined that an insulin pump is medically necessary for your care. These supplies include:
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Medicare covers 80% of the Medicare-approved cost of insulin pumps. You are responsible for the other 20%, plus the Part B deductible and monthly premiums.
Your pump must be prescribed by a Medicare-approved physician and purchased or rented from a Medicare-approved medical supplier for Medicare to cover it.
Medicare coverage for insulin pumps is determined by the type of pump you have. Tubed pumps are durable medical equipment. They are covered by Medicare Part B.
Tubeless pumps are patches that contain insulin. They are covered by Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage).
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If you are eligible for Medicare and meet other requirements, Medicare Part B will cover the T Slim Insulin Pump. These requirements include being diagnosed with diabetes and requiring at least three insulin injections daily.