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does Medicare cover test strips for diabetes

Does Medicare Cover Test Strips For Diabetes?

Medicare provides coverage for many types of treatments, durable medical equipment (or DME), and supplies for diabetes as long as they are considered medically necessary. Well, what about test strips? Do they fall into the medically necessary category?

Well, a common question many people have is, “does Medicare cover test strips for diabetes?” And 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 Test Strips For Diabetes?

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 for Medicare to pay for your test strips for diabetes. 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 test strips for diabetes is provided by Medicare Part B. Medicare Part B’s coverage for diabetes test strips will differ depending on whether you are insulin-dependent or not.

Medicare Part B provides coverage for up to 100 diabetes test strips per month for people who are dependent on insulin. They also provide coverage for lancets and one lancing device every 6 months for people who are dependent on insulin. Lancets are needles you use to pierce the skin so that a small amount of blood will come out which you then place on the test strip.

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

Medicare Part B will only provide coverage for your diabetes test strips and lancets if it is considered medically necessary. Part B considers test strips for diabetes as DME. Medicare Part B covers 80 percent of the costs of your test strips for diabetes. You will pay for the remaining 20 percent.

Aside from blood sugar test strips, Medicare Part B also provides coverage for a lot of supplies, equipment, and treatment for diabetes. They cover equipment such as blood glucose monitors, diabetic shoes and footwear, insulin, insulin equipment, diabetes screenings, and more. 

Part C Coverage for Test Strips for Diabetes

Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) also provide coverage for test strips for diabetes. They cover everything Original Medicare covers, and usually will offer some additional benefits as well. However, exactly what they cover and what your out-of-pocket costs are will vary depending on the specifics of your plan. 

How Much Do Blood Glucose Test Strips Cost?

Blood sugar test strips can cost you around $100 a month. A single blood sugar test strip can range somewhere from $0.35 to $1. Blood sugar test strips are commonly bought together with lancets. 100 lancets may cost somewhere from $5 to over $20.

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 NP Thyroid?

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