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does Medicare cover diabetic test strips

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Test Strips?

Having diabetes means that you must regularly check your blood sugar levels to make sure it is maintained at a good level. One way to do this is through the use of a blood glucose meter, or a BGM. Though the device will last long, the test strips and the lancets are disposable and must be refilled.

This leads to a question for many who rely on them which is, “does Medicare cover diabetic test strips?” In this article, we answer that question in clear, plain English. You will also find the average costs of test strips for diabetes, as well as other helpful info.

Does Medicare Cover Diabetic Test Strips?

The short answer is yes; Medicare will cover the cost of diabetes test strips. But not 100% of the time. As is often the case with Medicare, certain conditions have to be met in order to have Medicare pay for your diabetic test strips. Below we look at what these are so you know what to expect.

Original Medicare

Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) provides coverage for test strips for diabetes. Coverage for diabetic test strips is provided by Medicare Part B. The process of coverage for diabetic test strips will differ depending on whether the beneficiary is insulin-dependent or not.

For people who are dependent on insulin, Medicare Part B will provide coverage for 100 BGM test strips along with lancets per month. To add to that, Medicare Part B also provides coverage for one lancing device every 6 months. 

On the other hand, if the beneficiary is not dependent on insulin, Medicare Part B will only provide 100 BGM test strips, as well as lancets, every 3 months. However, they will still provide coverage for one lancing device every 6 months. 

However, for Medicare Part B to provide coverage for your diabetic test strips, as well as lancets, it must be considered medically necessary.

BGM test strips are considered by Medicare Part B as Durable Medical Equipment, or DME. Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the costs of your test strips for diabetes. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.

Medicare Part B also provides coverage for other diabetic supplies, equipment, as well as treatment. Some of the things they cover include blood glucose monitors, diabetic shoes, continuous glucose monitors, insulin, insulin equipment, screenings for diabetes, and more. 

Part C Coverage for Diabetic Test Strips

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for diabetic test strips. They must cover all the services, treatments and supplies that Original Medicare covers. They also, however, offer some additional benefits. However, the exact coverage each plan offers and what the out-of-pocket costs of that coverage are will vary depending on the specifics of your plan. 

How Much Do Diabetic Test Strips Cost?

Diabetic test strips may cost you $100 a month. A single test strip ranges somewhere between $0.35 and $1.

Note: Medicare coverage changes all the time. And your specific coverage may vary from plan to plan for Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Always be sure to double check with your health care provider and/or Medicare insurance provider about what your plan covers and what it does not.

Additional Info on Medicare Coverage

This article is part of our series on “What does Medicare cover?”

Also, you can check out other articles in this series including: Does Medicare cover home health care?

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