Diabetes and Medicare: What’s covered by what

Patricia Hafermann Benefit Specialist

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30.2 million adults have diabetes. This represents 12.2 percent of all U.S. adults, and the percent increases with age. In fact, 25.2 percent of those 65 years or older have diabetes.

Diabetes causes too much sugar to stay in the blood.

If not properly treated, diabetes causes serious complications. These complications include heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, kidney disease, gum disease, hearing loss, and pain and burning or loss of feeling in your feet. This shows that diabetes can impact any part of your body. Besides these complications, new research estimates that diabetes and its complications cause 12 percent of all deaths, making diabetes the third leading cause of U.S. deaths.

The good news is that people with diabetes can prevent complications and death. Medicare covers sup-plies and services to treat or prevent diabetes-related problems.

What Medicare Part B may cover:

The fasting blood glucose test. This test screens for diabetes. Medicare covers two blood glucose tests each year for those at high risk for diabetes.

Supplies to control diabetes. These include blood sugar testing monitors, blood sugar test strips, lancet devices and lancets, and blood sugar control solutions.

An external insulin pump and the insulin used by the pump.

A foot exam every six months, provided you have not seen a foot care professional for another reason between visits.

Therapeutic shoes for diabetics who need special footwear.

Medical nutrition therapy for diabetes, if referred by a doctor.

Self-management training. Medicare covers up to 10 hours of initial diabetes selfmanagement training. You may also receive up to two hours of follow-up training each year. The follow-up training may not occur in a calendar year in which you got your initial training. The training includes tips for eating healthy, being active, monitoring blood sugar, taking drugs, and reducing risks. You must have a health-care professional’s written order for the diabetes training.

What Medicare Part D may cover:

Insulin not given through an insulin pump.

Certain medical supplies to administer the insulin. Supplies may include syringes, needles, alcohol swabs, gauzes, and inhaled insulin devices.

If you have any additional questions, you may call Pat Hafermann,

Elderly Benefits Specialist with the Aging and Disability Resource Center at (920) 467-4076.

Sources: Published with permission from the Legal Services Team at the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources Diabetes and Medicare: What’s covered by what

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