The simple answer is yes, Medicare covers some diabetic supplies.
Medicare Part B covers most outpatient medical costs. This includes diabetic testing supplies, such as:
- Glucose test strips
- Blood sugar testing monitors
- Glucose solution
- Blood sugar control solutions
- Therapeutic shoes or inserts
Part B also covers some diabetes services. These covered services include:
- Yearly eye exam
- Self-management training
- Foot exam
- Glaucoma tests
Avoid the Most Common Pitfalls When Buying Diabetic Supplies
While Part B helps these costs, you will still have to pay some costs out-of-pocket. First, the supplier must accept assignment, which means they accept the Medicare price as full payment. After your supplier accepts assignment, you will pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
Additionally, many people who are new to Medicare and/or diabetes care do not realize that in order for diabetic supplies to be covered by Medicare, a prescription is required from your doctor. If you buy diabetic supplies over-the-counter without a prescription, you have to pay full price.
Finally, you should purchase your diabetic supplies at the pharmacy counter (as opposed to the general retail counter) because the pharmacy has the ability to process the claim with Medicare. Keep in mind that Medicare will not pay for supplies if you go to a pharmacy that is not enrolled in Medicare.
Get Complete Insurance Coverage With a Medigap Plan
To ensure that your insurance covers the cost of diabetic supplies, such as diabetic meters, lancets, insulin, and test strips, we recommend enrolling in complete health insurance coverage, which includes:
- Medicare Parts A and B
- A good Medicare Part D plan
- A Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan
You can protect yourself from against high out-of-pocket costs by enrolling in a full coverage Medicare supplement plan, such as the Medigap Plan F policy, which covers 100% of Medicare Part B’s excess charges. It is the most comprehensive Medicare supplement plan because it covers all the gaps left by Medicare Parts A and B. You should not be required to pay any out-of-pocket costs if you have Medicare A & B, Medicare Part D, and Medigap Plan F.
There are many other Medigap plans that offer varying levels of coverage. One of these plans might be the right plan for you. Learn more about the ten different Medigap plans.
How to Minimize Out-of-Pocket Costs When Buying Diabetic Supplies
In order to ensure that you don’t pay more for your diabetic supplies than necessary, there are a few things you need to do. You need to:
- Have full coverage insurance (Medicare Parts A, B, D, and a Medigap plan)
- A prescription from the doctor
- Checkout at the pharmacy counter
- Make sure that your pharmacy accepts Medicare assignment
You can check to see if your pharmacy is enrolled in Medicare on Medicare’s website.
Other Helpful Tips
Some plans offer a mail-order service that sends your drugs and supplies directly to your home. Find a Medicare National Mail Order Supplier here.
You can also read Medicare’s guide: Medicare’s Coverage of Diabetes Supplies & Services.