Diabetes and Medicare Supplies – Part 1

Diabetes and Medicare Supplies – Part 1It can sometimes be confusing to know what exactly is covered under the U.S. Government’s Medicare program when it comes to diabetes. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides some details.

MEDICARE – PART B

Medicare covers certain supplies if a beneficiary has Medicare Part B and has diabetes. These supplies include:

  • Blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies;
  • Therapeutic shoes and inserts; and
  • Insulin pumps and the insulin used in the pumps

Blood Glucose Self-testing Equipment and Supplies



Blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies are covered for all people with Medicare Part B who have diabetes. This includes those who use insulin and those who do not use insulin. These supplies include:

  • Blood glucose monitors;
  • Blood glucose test strips;
  • Lancet devices and lancets; and
  • Glucose control solutions for checking the accuracy of testing equipment and test strips.

Medicare Part B covers the same type of blood glucose testing supplies for people with diabetes whether or not they use insulin. However, the amount of supplies that are covered varies.

If the beneficiary

  • Uses insulin, they may be able to get up to 100 test strips and lancets every month, and 1 lancet device every 6 months.
  • Does not use insulin, they may be able to get 100 test strips and lancets every 3 months, and 1 lancet device every 6 months.

If a beneficiary’s doctor documents why it is medically necessary, Medicare will cover additional test strips and lancets for the beneficiary.

Medicare will only cover a beneficiary’s blood glucose self-testing equipment and supplies if they get a prescription from their doctor.

Their prescription should include the following information:

  • That they have diabetes;
  • What kind of blood glucose monitor they need and why they need it (i.e., if they need a special monitor because of vision problems, their doctor must explain that.);
  • Whether they use insulin; and
  • How often they should test their blood glucose.

A beneficiary needing blood glucose testing equipment and/or supplies:

  • Can order and pick up their supplies at their pharmacy;
  • Can order their supplies from a medical equipment supplier, but they will need a prescription from their doctor to place their order; and
  • Must ask for refills for their supplies.

Note: Medicare will not pay for any supplies not asked for, or for any supplies that were sent to a beneficiary automatically from suppliers. This includes blood glucose monitors, test strips, and lancets. Also, if a beneficiary goes to a pharmacy or supplier that is not enrolled in Medicare, Medicare will not pay. The beneficiary will have to pay the entire bill for any supplies from non-enrolled pharmacies or non-enrolled suppliers.

All Medicare-enrolled pharmacies and suppliers must submit claims for blood glucose monitor test strips. A beneficiary cannot submit a claim for blood glucose monitor test strips themselves. The beneficiary should make sure that the pharmacy or supplier accepts assignment for Medicare-covered supplies. If the pharmacy or supplier accepts assignment, Medicare will pay the pharmacy or supplier directly. Beneficiaries should only pay their coinsurance amount when they get their supply from their pharmacy or supplier for assigned claims. If a beneficiary’s pharmacy or supplier does not accept assignment, charges may be higher, and the beneficiary may pay more. They may also have to pay the entire charge at the time of service and wait for Medicare to send them its share of the cost. (Source: cms.gov)