Medicare Part B: Coverage for blood glucose meters
Medicare Part B covers essential resources for the daily management of diabetes. Blood sugar self-testing equipment and supplies are an important part of this benefit.
Medicare Part B glucose meter coverage
To support this crucial daily regimen, Medicare Part B covers diabetes self-testing equipment and supplies. Eligible supplies include:
- Blood glucose meters
- Blood glucose test strips
- Lancet devices and lancets
- Glucose control solutions, which verify the accuracy of test strips and equipment
Medicare Part B covers blood glucose monitors under the Durable Medical Equipment provision, which covers medical equipment prescribed for use in your home. Only monitors specifically designed for home use are eligible; reflectance colorimeter devices, for example, fall outside the Medicare benefit because they require frequent professional recalibration and are not designated for home use.
Patients with visual or manual difficulties may qualify for a special blood glucose monitor equipped with voice synthesizers, automatic timers, integrated lancing and blood collection features and accessible arrangements of supplies.
Diabetes supplies covered by Medicare Part B
The amount of blood glucose monitoring supplies covered by Medicare Part B varies for insulin- and non-insulin-dependent patients. Insulin-dependent patients qualify for up to 100 test strips and lancets per month and one lancet device every six months. Non-insulin-dependent patients are eligible for 100 test strips and lancets every three months and a lancet device every six months. Patients who need more supplies can provide evidence of medical necessity, which may qualify them for additional test strips and lancets.
How to get blood glucose monitoring supplies
Diabetes patients can get coverage of blood glucose monitoring supplies by following these steps:
- Consult with a medical professional. The doctor will determine the type and severity of the patient's condition and recommend the appropriate frequency of blood glucose testing. In addition, the doctor determines whether the patient is capable of using a blood sugar monitor properly.
- Get a prescription. The doctor indicates the amount and frequency of testing supplies the patient needs, the start date, and whether or not the patient requires an adaptive equipment to overcome a manual or visual impairment.
- Order supplies and equipment. Patients can fill their prescription by submitting it to any pharmacy or medical equipment supplier. The patient also requests refills as necessary. It is important that patients choose a pharmacy or supplier enrolled in Medicare. Patients without access to local Medicare-enrolled suppliers can find suppliers by mail order or online.
- Arrange payment. For the most part, payment happens behind the scenes between Medicare and the supplier. As long as the provider accepts assignment, or standard rates, for Medicare-covered supplies, patients need only pay their coinsurance amount. However, if the supplier does not accept these predetermined rates, the patient pays the entire cost at the point of sale, and submits the bill to Medicare for reimbursement of the allowed cost.
Blood glucose monitoring is essential for the daily management of blood sugar levels and, for some patients, the proper dosage of insulin. Medicare Part B benefits provide access to and pay for the supplies and equipment needed to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes.